When my concentrated mind was purified; I directed it to the knowledge of the recollection of past lives’ —The Buddha on the night of his enlightenment Associated with the living traditions of folk tale; drama and epic; the Jatakas recount the development of the Bodhisatta—the being destined to become the present Buddha in his final life—not just through the events of one lifetime but of hundreds. Written in Pali; the language of the Theravada Buddhist canon; the Jatakas comprise one of the largest and oldest collections of stories in the world dating from the fifth century BCE to the third century CE. Generations in South and South-East Asia have grown up with these tales. This volume contains twenty-six stories drawn from various ancient sources; and each story reflects one of the ten perfections—giving; restraint; renunciation; wisdom; strength; acceptance; truthfulness; resolve; loving kindness and equanimity. A detailed introduction elaborates on the ten perfections; explains the forms of enlightenment as well as the structure; and the historical and geographical contexts of the stories. Sarah Shaw brings to life the teachings of Buddhism for the scholar and lay reader alike.
This is the extended and annotated edition including * an extensive annotation of more than 10.000 words about the history and basics of Buddhism, written by Thomas William Rhys Davids * an interactive table-of-contents * perfect formatting for electronic reading devices The Jātakas refer to a voluminous body of literature native to India concerning the previous births (jāti) of the Buddha. These are the stories that tell about the previous lives of the Buddha, in both human and animal form. The future Buddha may appear in them as a king, an outcast, a god, an elephant—but, in whatever form, he exhibits some virtue that the tale thereby inculcates. The Theravada Jatakas comprise 547 poems, arranged roughly by increasing number of verses. This book comprises poem 1 through 150. (courtesy of wikipedia.com)
Discusses the origins and cultural history of the Theravada Buddhist ideals behind the Thai institution of monarchy.
Since the 2006 coup d’état, Thailand has been riven by two opposing political visions: one which aspires to a modern democracy and the rule of law, and another which holds to the traditional conception of a kingdom ruled by an exemplary Buddhist monarch. Thailand has one of the world’s largest populations of observant Buddhists and one of its last politically active monarchies. This book examines the Theravada Buddhist foundations of Thailand’s longstanding institution of monarchy. Patrick Jory states that the storehouse of monarchical ideology is to be found in the popular literary genre known as the Jātakas, tales of the Buddha’s past lives. The best-known of these, the Vessantara Jātaka, disseminated an ideal of an infinitely compassionate prince as a bodhisatta or future Buddha—an ideal which remains influential in Thailand today. Using primary and secondary source materials largely unknown in Western scholarship, Jory traces the history of the Vessantara Jātaka and its political-cultural importance from the ancient to the modern period. Although pressures from European colonial powers and Buddhist reformers led eventually to a revised political conception of the monarchy, the older Buddhist ideal of kingship has yet endured.