Rewriting the Buddha So I told myself the Dhammapada is one of the oldest books of Buddhist thought. I should read it. What I wanted was a nice simple readable version that I could dip into. The Dhammapada isn’t something you read straight through like a novel. It’s basically a collection of aphorisms, little short sayings, like a box of really, really good fortune cookies.
I quickly discovered that most translations are completely unreadable, some more than others. A few of the more modern ones attempt to clarify the language—I don’t think I’m the first person to notice the readability problem. However, I may be the first person that noticed the problem who was a writer and not a translator.