“Sitting at the Buddha with the Tanna’im: Walking Through the Dhammapada and Pirke Avot,” By DeWitt Clinton

This paper examines the parallels between two ancient ethical texts, the Buddhist Dhammapada, and the Jewish, Pirke Avot. Both of these texts offer the reader insights into what is necessary for maintaining “balance” in the world of ethical requirements for treating each other with respect and dignity.  Buddhists and non-Buddhists can read the Dhammapada for an understanding of how to maintain balance on the Eightfold Path.  Jews and non-Jews can read Pirke Avot for a similar understanding of how to complete mitzvoth, often translated as “good deeds.”  Each text offers insights into the other religion, reminding readers that these ethical texts offer similar wisdom, despite extraordinary differences in religious beliefs.

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