The Dhammapada is one of the best known and best loved Buddhist texts, a sequence of verses traditionally said to have been spoken by the Buddha himself to help people on the path to liberation. In her version for Penguin Classics, Valerie J Roebuck seeks to translate the Pali into modern English verse that will keep the beauty and clarity of the original.


A new review of the translation

Posted on: February 16th, 2013 by admin No Comments

Feb 16

Valerie recently learned of a review of her Dhammapada translation by Elizabeth Harris, an eminent scholar of Theravāda Buddhism, which was published in Religions of South Asia 6.1 (2012) 133-134:

Book Review

Valerie’s article, Dhammapada, Dharmapada and Udānavarga: The Many Lives of a Buddhist Text, was published in the following edition of the same journal, which is now available and can be ordered here.

A new journal article

Posted on: September 21st, 2012 by admin No Comments


Last week I sent off the corrected proofs of a new article on the Dhammapada and related texts, called Dhammapada, Dharmapada and Udānavarga: the Many Lives of a Buddhist Text. It is to be included in the December edition of the journal Religions of South Asia, which is published by the Equinox Press.

An Introduction to the Dhammapada

Posted on: August 26th, 2012 by admin No Comments


Poster for talk, 'Introduction to the Dhammapada'

Valerie Roebuck will be giving a talk entitled An Introduction to the Dhammapada as part of the Summer Programme at the Manchester Centre for Buddhist Meditation. It will be open to all, and no previous knowledge of the text or of Buddhism is required.


Loving Kindness, for Vesakh 2016/2599

Posted on: May 20th, 2016 by admin No Comments

For Vesakh 2016 CE/2599 BE, I have posted under ‘Verses’ a translation of the Karaṇīya Metta Sutta, which many of us chant regularly, but perhaps don’t always think about what it means. It describes the way to practise Mettā, or loving kindness to all beings. The translation, though fairly literal, is in modern, everyday language. It’s the one I included in the Order of Service for my husband’s funeral in 2012, because I wanted everyone present to be able to understand it, even if they were new to the Buddha’s teaching.

It will be seen that the love described in this sutta is not something soft or woolly, but a state of great strength and clarity that forms an intrinsic part of practice on the Buddha’s path.

May all beings be well. May all beings be happy.

In Memory of Lance Cousins

Posted on: March 21st, 2015 by admin No Comments


Awareness is the place of the deathless;
Unawareness is the place of death.
The aware do not die;
The unaware are as though dead already.

Knowing this especially
About awareness, the wise
Delight in awareness,
Taking pleasure in the realm of the Noble Ones.

Those who constantly practise meditation,
Ever firm in their endeavour,
Those wise ones touch nibbāna,
The unsurpassed peace of yoga.

(Dhammapada 21-23)

In loving memory of my friend, colleague and teacher, L. S. Cousins (1942-2015), who will live so long as people benefit by his scholarship and wisdom, or practise meditation through his teaching.

For more information and tributes, click here.

Like a beautiful flower…

Posted on: July 10th, 2013 by admin No Comments


Red Rose

Like a beautiful flower,
Colourful but scentless,
The well-taught word is fruitless
For one who does not practise.

Like a beautiful flower,
Colourful and fragrant,
The well-taught word is fruitful
For one who practises.

Dhammapada 51-52

Today, walking to the shops on a hot sunny morning, I saw a beautiful rose-bush in a garden. The owner of the garden saw me enjoying the scent, and we both agreed that we liked the old, sweet-scented varieties of roses the best. And those verses from the ‘Flowers’ chapter of the Dhammapada came to mind.