Garland of the Buddha's past lives: Volume one-two

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NYU Press, 2009 - Literary Collections - 548 pages
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The Garland of Past Lives is a collection of thirty four stories depicting the miraculous deeds performed by the Buddha in his previous rebirths. Composed in the fourth century C.E. by the Buddhist monk Aryashura, the text’s accomplished artistry led Indian aesthetic theorists to praise its elegant mixture of verse and prose. The twenty stories in this first volume deal primarily with the virtues of giving and morality. Ascetics sacrifice their lives for hungry tigers, kings open their veins for demons to drink their blood, helmsmen steer their crew through perilous seas, and quail chicks quench forest fires by proclaiming words of truth. The experience is intended to arouse astonishment in the audience, inspiring devotion, through the future Buddha’s transcendence of conventional norms in his quest to acquire enlightenment and save the world from suffering. The importance of such stories of past lives in traditional Buddhist culture, throughout Asia and up to today, cannot be overestimated.

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Contents

Birthstory on the Tigress
11
Birthstory of Shibi
31
Birthstory on the Lump of Gruel
63
Birthstory of the Merchant
79
Birthstory of the Merchant Avishāhya
93
Birthstory of the Hare
117
Birthstory of Agástya I33 Story 8 Birthstory of Maitribala
165
Birthstory of Vishvantara
205
Story Io Birthstory on the Sacrifice
261
Birthstory of Shakra
291
Birthstory of the Brahmin
299
Birthstory of Unmadayánti 3I 5
343
Birthstory of the Fish
369
Birthstory of the Quail Chick 3 81
381
Birthstory on the Jar 39 I
395

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