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Readings of the Vessantara Jト taka (Columbia Readings of Buddhist Literature)

Steven Collins

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ISBN 10: 0231160380 / ISBN 13: 9780231160384
Published by Columbia University Press, 2016
New Condition: New Hardcover
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Bibliographic Details

Title: Readings of the Vessantara Jト taka (Columbia...

Publisher: Columbia University Press

Publication Date: 2016

Binding: Hardcover

Book Condition: New

About this title

Synopsis:

The Vessantara Jataka tells the story of Prince Vessantara, who attained the Perfection of Generosity by giving away his fortune, his children, and his wife. Vessantara was the penultimate rebirth as a human of the future Gotama Buddha, and his extreme charity has been represented and reinterpreted in texts, sermons, rituals, and art throughout South and Southeast Asia and beyond. This anthology features well-respected anthropologists, textual scholars in religious and Buddhist studies, and art historians, who engage in sophisticated readings of the text and its ethics of giving, understanding of attachment and nonattachment, depiction of the trickster, and unique performative qualities. They reveal the story to be as brilliantly layered as a Homeric epic or Shakespearean play, with aspects of tragedy, comedy, melodrama, and utopian fantasy intertwined to problematize and scrutinize Theravada Buddhism's cherished virtues.

Book Description:

This anthology undertakes sophisticated literary, anthropological, and art historical analyses of the Vessantara Jataka and its ethics of giving, understanding of attachment and nonattachment, depiction of the trickster, and unique performative qualities. Contributors including anthropologists, textual scholars in religious and Buddhist studies, and art historians unravelthe story's moral and religious character. This collection helps recast Buddhism as a human tradition rich in ethical, political, and aesthetic complexity.

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