The discourses of the Buddha and his direct disciples have been collected together into a huge body of literature known as the
. Made up of both prose and verse, much of thisliterature is little known to the average Buddhist because of its great size and also because in bothstyle and content it is highly philosophical. One selection of this literature is, however, very wellknown. It is the
, a collection of four hundred and twenty-three verses on variousaspects of the Buddha’s teachings. The Dhammapada’s convenient size, pithy wisdom and, attimes, great beauty has made it by far the most popular book in the Sutta Pitaka.However, many other verses of equal relevance and appeal are to be found scattered throughoutthe Sutta Pitaka, which remain virtually unknown. I thought it useful, therefore, to collect some of these verses, arrange them according to subject, and present them in such a way that they mayenrich the faith and deepen the understanding of those who read them. Most of the verses are thewords of the Buddha himself; a lesser number is attributed to his enlightened disciples. But eventhese reflect the spirit of the Buddha’s
, for it is said: “That which is well spoken is theword of the Buddha.” (A IV 164).This small work is dedicated to my good friend, Miss Constance Sandham. May this
Gemstones of the Good Dhamma
illuminate the path so that all beings may attain Nibbāna!
About the Author
Venerable S. Dhammika was born in Australia and developed an interest in Buddhism in his earlyteens. At the age of twenty-two he went to India and was ordained as a Buddhist monk under theVen. M. Saṅgharatana Mahāthera. He later moved to Sri Lanka where he taught meditation forseveral years in the Kandy district. He now lives and teaches in Singapore.3