A Historical and Doctrinal Survey of the Pāli Jātakanidāna

Gaffney, Sean (in progress) A historical and doctrinal survey of the Pāli Jātakanidāna with a comparison of its narratives connected with the bodhisatta. Indica et Buddhica Jātakanidāna, v. 3. Oxford: Indica et Buddhica Publishers.

The study is concerned with two major lines of enquiry, the history of the text in the Pāli and Tibetan traditions and the specific doctrines laid out in the text relating to the bodhisatta. The study of the text consists of sections devoted to the historical, doctrinal and narrative aspects of the text as a whole and its position within the Buddhist literature dealing with the life of the bodhisatta. Firstly the status and history of the Pāli text and its place in the Pāli canon is explored, the position of the text within the Tibetan tradition is then set out together with reference to Tibetan historical sources referring to the text and its Tibetan translator. The study then examines how the text treats the topic of past buddhas and then how they are dealt with in other Pāli canonical texts. This is followed by an examination of the various doctrinal and philosophical concepts that are essential for the development of the bodhisatta doctrine in the Pāli tradition. These sections deal with, among other things, the concepts of former buddhas, the vyākaraṇa to the bodhisatta, the abhinīhāra and adhikāra, and the ten pāramī as primary factors in the bodhisatta attaining buddhahood. Finally, in order to gain an insight into the development and variations in the buddha and bodhisatta biographies, the important episodes or events in the bodhisatta’s life found in the text are compared with parallel versions in the Pāli sources and in the Sanskrit biographical works.

 

 

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