I was an undergraduate student living somewhere in Baltimore in the mid-eighties when I first happened on the Dhammapada.
I lost that first copy about five years ago and have looked in vain on three continents to buy another one. Lucky enough there are complete copies online and I have downloaded several soft copies over the years.
Those early days of my first read (and there never is just one) impressed upon me the moral and ethical emphasis on living with purpose and balance.
What was even more striking is the fact that God is not mentioned anywhere yet Godliness is never far from each and every verse.
If you have not had a chance to read the Dhammapada I recommend that you should. Don't be fooled by its small size (just 26 chapters with 423 verses).
Trust me you will need decades to just grasp some of its nuance, balance, and depth.
It simply is a beautiful and very spiritual collection of lived wisdom that should be part of anyone's path toward righteousness.
Those who have been reading here for a while will know why I value the Dhammapada. The emphasis on the mind as the center for constructing everything is the basic supposition underlying my entire thinking. Where we have constructed bad things/evil it is necessary to deconstruct through confrontation and then (re)construct.
In the end the mind constructs the truth and, consequently, the way to heaven/nirvana or righteousness is implicit therein.
The opening twin verses in Chapter One are my most favorite and the fifth and sixth verses seal the overall message of the Dhammapada:
Onward!1. All that we are is the result of what we have thought: it is founded on our thoughts, it is made up of our thoughts. If a man speaks or acts with an evil thought, pain follows him, as the wheel follows the foot of the ox that draws the carriage.
2. All that we are is the result of what we have thought: it is founded on our thoughts, it is made up of our thoughts. If a man speaks or acts with a pure thought, happiness follows him, like a shadow that never leaves him.
5. For hatred does not cease by hatred at any time: hatred ceases by love, this is an old rule.
6. The world does not know that we must all come to an end here;--but those who know it, their quarrels cease at once.