Discover how ordinary beings—a deer, a robber, a monkey, a parrot, and more—make up the past lives of the Buddha before he was Buddha.
The jataka tales are ancient Buddhist stories found in both the Pali Canon and Sanskrit tradition, recounting the many past lives and ongoing spiritual work of Shakyamuni Buddha on his way to his final birth as Siddhartha Gautama. In them we find the Buddha facing difficulties, making tough choices, doing hard work, falling down and getting back up—the kind of continuing effort of spiritual practice that all beings face.
Before Buddha was Buddha focuses on a selection of particular jataka tales in which the Buddha in past lives faces temptations and struggles with self-doubt as well as his own shortcomings. In these tales he’s not beyond life’s messes—its challenges and disasters—but is down in the mix, trudging through the mud with the rest of us. Each story, presented in brief, is followed by a commentary pointing to its relevance to our lives and practice-realization today.
|Publisher:||Wisdom Publications MA|
|Product dimensions:||6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.50(d)|
About the Author
Rafe Martin is a lay Zen teacher in the Harada-Yasutani koan line. He is founding teacher of Endless Path Zendo, Rochester, NY, and is also an award-winning author and storyteller whose work has been cited in Time, Newsweek, NY Times, and USA Today.
He is the recipient of the prestigious Empire State Award for the body of his work, as well as multiple American Library Association Notable Book Awards and Parent’s Choice Gold Awards. He has been featured at such storytelling events as the Joseph Campbell Festival of Myth and Story, The Sierra Storytelling Festival, and the National Storytelling Festival. He is the father of two grown children and lives with his wife, Rose, in Rochester, NY.
Table of Contents
Preface: Just Like Us, the Buddha Had Difficulties ix
1 Prince Siddhartha: The Crisis of Leaving Home 1
2 The Banyan Deer: Hard Choices 11
3 The Naga King: The Treasure of Our Human Life 21
4 The Master Musician: A Bodhisattva's Anxiety and Self-Doubt 29
5 The Gardener Sage: Getting Free of Attachments 35
6 King of Kings: The Limit of Desire 43
7 Time Is Short: Letting Go, Heading Home 51
8 The Monkey Bodhisattva: The Horror of "Me and Mine" 59
9 Prince Temiya: Strength to Stand Firm 67
10 Two Cousins: Working with Karma 75
11 Great King Goodness: The Challenge of Nonviolence 85
12 The Monk Who Lied: Making Sense of Big Troubles 93
13 The Brave Parrot: Being Small in a Big, Troubled World 101
14 The Quarreling Quails: Arguments and Anger on the Path 111
15 The Bodhisattva Robber: What's Right, What's Wrong? 119
16 The Ogre Child: Finding the Way No Matter Who You Are 127
17 Hairy Kassapa: Even Great Sages Make Mistakes 135
18 Touching the Earth 141
Appendix: A Dream within a Dream-a Zen View 149
About the Author 167