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Bodhisattvas of the Forest and the Formation of the MahayanaA Study and Translation of the Rastrapalapariprccha-sutra$
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Daniel Boucher

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780824828813

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824828813.001.0001

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Former Life Narratives and the Bodhisattva Career

Former Life Narratives and the Bodhisattva Career

(p.20) Chapter Two Former Life Narratives and the Bodhisattva Career
Bodhisattvas of the Forest and the Formation of the Mahayana

Daniel Boucher

University of Hawai'i Press

This chapter examines the Buddha's long and often grueling bodhisattva career—his sequence of former lives in pursuit of enlightenment—focusing on his continuous practice of a series of moral and spiritual perfections. Because fifty of the Buddha's former lives are referred to explicitly in the Rāṣṭrapāla, this chapter notes their relationship with other, almost certainly earlier, genres of Buddhist literature that may have provided their inspiration. It shows how these jātaka references function within the narrative program of the Rāṣṭrapāla, specifically its attempt to detail a rigorous path for contemporary bodhisattvas, inspired by the heroic exploits of the Buddha's own career.

Keywords:   bodhisattva career, Buddha, former lives, jātaka, contemporary bodhisattvas

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