Translated and with commentaries by Thomas Cleary, this book consists of 423 aphorisms on the journey to peace attributed to Gautama Buddha 500 years before Christ. Dhammapada has been called the best primer to Buddhism available. Thomas Cleary's translations and commentaries frame these teachings which emphasize "the mastery and purification of the self, strength and sobriety of character, and the ultimate attainment of freedom and independence." In 26 chapters Cleary helps us understand the lineaments of Buddhism, especially its emphases on the dangers of obsession and compulsion and the values of nonviolence and compassion.