Bodhisatta, Women, Rebirth and Jātaka Stories in Theravāda

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Bodhisatta, Women, Rebirth and Jātaka Stories in Theravāda

Postby gavesako » Wed Sep 12, 2012 7:52 am

Here are some interesting research papers by a scholar in England:
http://edinburgh.academia.edu/NaomiAppleton

Narrating Karma & Rebirth (a lot of lists of sources from Buddhist texts)

Project Abstract: Buddhism and Jainism share the concepts of karma, rebirth, and the possibility (and desirability) of escape from rebirth, though each has a different interpretation of these. Within the literature of both traditions we find many stories about remembered past births, illustrating progress on the path to awakening, the workings of karma, or the jumbled nature of rebirth that makes renunciation the only way to avoid incest. These stories have much to reveal about Buddhist and Jain attitudes towards the mechanisms of rebirth and the pursuit of long-term (multi-life) religious goals. This project will compare birth stories from the different traditions in relation to: the role of karma in rebirth; the key religious paths and goals; and the role of birth stories in the teaching careers of awakened beings. The project will help to ascertain the distinctively Buddhist and Jain uses of this genre, thereby illuminating both the significance of the stories within each tradition, and the extent of interaction between Buddhist and Jain schools during their formative periods.

http://blogs.cf.ac.uk/birthstories/cate ... st+sources

Narrating Karma and Rebirth: Multi-life Stories in Buddhist and Jain Traditions

http://www.cf.ac.uk/share/research/cent ... birth.html


Jātaka Stories in Theravāda Buddhism: Narrating the Bodhisatta Path
By Naomi Appleton

Jataka stories (stories about the previous births of the Buddha) are very popular in Theravada Buddhist countries, where they are found in both canonical texts and later compositions and collections, and are commonly used in sermons, children's books, plays, poetry, temple illustrations, rituals and festivals. Whilst at first glance many of the stories look like common fables or folktales, Buddhist tradition tells us that the stories illustrate the gradual path to perfection exemplified by the Buddha in his previous births, when he was a bodhisatta (buddha-to-be). Jataka stories have had a long and colourful history, closely intertwined with the development of doctrines about the Buddha, the path to buddhahood, and how Buddhists should behave now the Buddha is no more. This book explores the shifting role of the stories in Buddhist doctrine, practice, and creative expression, finally placing this integral Buddhist genre back in the centre of scholarly understandings of the religion.

http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=86Ka ... &q&f=false

Review: http://www.indiana.edu/~jofr/review.php?id=1228


Temptress on the Path: Women as Objects and Subjects in Buddhist Jataka Stories. New Topics in Feminist Philosophy of Religion. 103-115. P. S. Anderson (ed.), Springer.
It is undisputed in early Buddhist texts that women as well as men are capable of becoming arahats (awakened beings). Both men and women can act morally, attain all the advanced meditative states, and follow the teachings that lead to nibbāna. Despite this soteriological inclusiveness, the presentation of women in Buddhist texts is often less than egalitarian, perhaps most especially in popular narrative literature. In Pāli jātaka stories, which are popular subjects for sermons, children’s books and temple illustrations throughout Sri Lanka and Southeast Asia, the influence of both androcentric and misogynistic tendencies is evident. Women are portrayed as obstacles to men’s progress on the spiritual path, and few female characters are given any voice of their own. In addition, the stories are presented as relating the previous births of Gotama Buddha, who in every case is identified with a male character, leaving few role models for Buddhist women, and altering the soteriological backdrop.

http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=FLoT ... &q&f=false


In the Footsteps of the Buddha?: Women and the Bodhisatta Path in Theravāda Buddhism

Abstract:
Although a woman can achieve the state of awakening known as arahatship, Theravāda Buddhist tradition states that a woman cannot achieve full and complete Buddhahood. More than this, a woman is unable to successfully aspire to Buddhahood, or progress on the path to it—in other words she cannot be a bodhisatta. In this article, Appleton explores the origins of the doctrine that excludes women from the bodhisatta path, as well as its effects on the outlook of women in Buddhist societies. She begins by outlining the bodhisattapath as it is presented in Theravāda texts, and tracing the role of jātaka stories—stories about previous lives of Gotama Buddha—in codifying this path and excluding women from it. She then examines the striking absence of stories about changing sex between births, and the possible influence of this upon the understanding that a bodhisatta is always male. She finishes with an assessment of the relationship between the exclusion of women from the bodhisatta path and other ideas about the social and spiritual incapacities of women.

http://muse.jhu.edu/journals/journal_of ... leton.html


A place for the Bodhisatta: the local and the universal in jātaka stories (PDF)
http://www.leidykla.eu/fileadmin/Acta_O ... 09-122.pdf

- this article shows how the jataka stories were adapted for local cultures and geographical locations in SE Asia to make them relevant to the Buddhist population there

:reading:
Bhikkhu Gavesako
Kiṃkusalagavesī anuttaraṃ santivarapadaṃ pariyesamāno... (MN 26)

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Re: Bodhisatta, Women, Rebirth and Jātaka Stories in Theravāda

Postby Micheal Kush » Wed Sep 19, 2012 9:28 pm

Thanks for the sources. I've actually looked forward to read more of the jataka stories and their integral relation to the core essence of the religion. Have you read it? Can you by any chance give me a quick summary of the analytical apporach to the Jatakas?

With netta, mike
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Re: Bodhisatta, Women, Rebirth and Jātaka Stories in Theravāda

Postby robertk » Thu Sep 20, 2012 6:31 am

Please ensure your posts on women or other topics in this thread align with the guidlines for Classical Theravada.
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Re: Bodhisatta, Women, Rebirth and Jātaka Stories in Theravāda

Postby gavesako » Tue Dec 04, 2012 5:17 pm

Recently they made the Temiya Jataka story into an opera:


Two years ago, Somtow Sucharitkul’s “Opera about the Buddha,” THE SILENT PRINCE, premiered in Houston to packed houses and world-wide critical acclaim. It was the first time an opera by a Thai had a world premiere in a major world operatic capital.
Thai audiences have had to wait some time to see this masterwork by Thailand’s most renowned living composer, but a new production will have a special preview on December 5 this year to honour the birthday of His Majesty the King.
THE SILENT PRINCE tells the story of Prince Temiya, a former incarnation of the Lord Buddha, who must choose between obedience to his father and taking a human life. Unable to make a decision, he retreats into silence broken only at the very end of the story, when he is compelled to reveal his identity as the Boddhisatva.
Set in Benares in legendary times, THE SILENT PRINCE weaves a rich, sensuous visual and aural tapestry of color and sound. There are scenes set in Heaven and Hell as well as on earth. Gods and goddess appear by magic, and angels bring the baby Boddhisatva down from the sky, spirits from hell haunt Temiya as he remembers his past lives.
One of the greatest challenges of THE SILENT PRINCE was creating an opera in which the main character does not sing until the last five minutes. “I had to make sure this was a major surprise and that the audience would jump out of their skins when the Lord Buddha finally speaks,” said Maestro Somtow, Thailand’s first Silpathorn Kittikhun Artist. “So I wrote the part for the rarest possible male voice - that of a male soprano.” Fortunately, Thailand has a male soprano - Jak Cholvijarn - who is also a scholar of Buddhism. There are only a few such voices in the world.
THE SILENT PRINCE presents its Buddhist message in a melodious and accessible way and is a powerful vehicle for opening up the culture of Thailand to the world.

http://www.thesilentprince.com/The_Sile ... ngkok.html


"I want to share this story. The amazing way to do it is to share it through music," said Nadlada. "I have known the story since I was a child because I am Buddhist. It is one of the 10 incarnations of Lord Buddha."

The opera tells the story of Prince Temiya, one of the former incarnations of Buddha. When the prince is young it is apparent that he is different and very observant. As he grows older his father, the king, takes him everywhere and Temiya sees his father rule with torture and cruelty.

Temiya does not want to be king if he must kill but also does not want to disappoint his father. Unable to make a decision he retreats into silence until the end when he reveals that he is the Boddhistava.

"The story tells me that if we are willing to try to do something it will be completed," explained Nadlada. "I found this story is great for any professional or any people who are willing to do something, especially something good. Sometimes they give up because the bad thing is more powerful or it is hard. If they really want to do it they should try anyway and then the good things will be accomplished."

"In this world there is suffering and this story can help people be peaceful, have a good heart, and try to do good things," she said. "It's important especially for the people that don't know this story. They may go to the opera and come away with questions or an idea of how to have a good life."

http://www.bangkokpost.com/feature/peop ... -long-time
Bhikkhu Gavesako
Kiṃkusalagavesī anuttaraṃ santivarapadaṃ pariyesamāno... (MN 26)

ajahnchah.org - Teachings of Ajahn Chah in many languages
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Re: Bodhisatta, Women, Rebirth and Jātaka Stories in Theravāda

Postby gavesako » Tue Dec 04, 2012 5:20 pm

OPERA: Sounds of silence

Somtow Sucharitkul addresses both Buddhism and autism in his new opera 'The Silent Prince'

Imagine a Bollywood opera that has as its hero a former incarnation of the Lord Buddha and you have in a nutshell, "The Silent Prince" by composer and maestro Somtow Sucharitkul.

"I had been dreaming of turning the Temiya Jataka into an opera some 10 years so when the invitation from Opera Vista in Houston arrived, I put my proposal forward," he explains.

"In adapting the Jataka's 'Silent Prince' story for the operatic stage a, great deal of streamlining was been required.

"Prince Temiya's silence is the main point of the story, so I have concentrated on that, rather than introduce other disabilities such as deafness and paralysis, which are also traditional elements of the tale. Rather than having being advised to be silent by a deity in disguise, I've made the trauma and ensuing decision a more personal thing, a struggle from within. Yet I haven't departed from the essentials of the Temiya."

Somtow ensures that this silent boy will speak clearly to 21st century audiences by painting a picture of something very contemporary: a dysfunctional family and an autistic child.

"The affluent and well-meaning parents talk at cross-purposes, the child retreats into a private universe and there are misguided bribes and punishments born from frustration - they are typically dysfunctional," he notes.

"In retelling the story for a modern audience, I try to satisfy both the mythic and the psychological truths the story contains. Obviously not every child who faces an insoluble dilemma and reacts by withdrawing into an inner world of angels and demons is going to become the Buddha in a future life. But in small ways, we have all experienced what Prince Temiya experiences, and we are all on the same journey that the Buddha embarked on, even though the destination is almost inconceivably far for most of us."

The trauma that sends Temiya into silence - the crux of the story - comes at the midpoint.

"Composing an opera about a silent person had to be answered in a way that, when the Boddhisatva finally speaks, the voice you here is so extraordinary that you understand why you have waited for 90 minutes to hear this voice. This is the reason I picked the rarest of voices, a male soprano," says Somtow.

In the brightly coloured sound-world of "The Silent Prince", the gods, who take on various guises to interfere in the world of men, are also given extreme voices: the Queen of Heaven a coloratura soprano, the King of Heaven a basso profundo. Highest and lowest become the boundaries for a human universe where voices are more centred, the King and Queen of Benares being a baritone/mezzo pair.

The orchestra consists entirely of soloists. "There are many textures I'm using for the first time: the combination of harmonium and tambura for the Indian flavouring, unusual instrumental effects, and the use of six solo violinists who must also all be able to play the viola.

The Buddha himself is symbolised by the ethereal sound of four intertwined violinists who always represent the ariyasatya, the four noble truths.

As befits the Benares setting of the opera, much of the thematic and colouristic material of the opera is derived from Indian ragas, though Somtow says they are treated in ways often far removed from India.

"I've designed 'The Silent Prince' to be an opera on a smaller scale, shorter, more compact, and using smaller forces than my other operas," he explains. "The idea that Buddhist philosophy can be relayed through this medium and made to speak with a contemporary voice is one of the most exciting challenges for me."

http://www.nationmultimedia.com/life/So ... 95568.html
Bhikkhu Gavesako
Kiṃkusalagavesī anuttaraṃ santivarapadaṃ pariyesamāno... (MN 26)

ajahnchah.org - Teachings of Ajahn Chah in many languages
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Re: Bodhisatta, Women, Rebirth and Jātaka Stories in Theravāda

Postby gavesako » Sun Jan 20, 2013 10:15 am

Luang Pu Jaam who just passed away aged 104, a forest monk in the Ajahn Mun tradition, was a "niyata bodhisatta" aspiring to become a future Buddha according to his biography.
หลวงปู่จาม มหาปุญโญ เป็น “พระนิยตโพธิสัตว์” ท่านปรารถนาพระโพธิญาณ และได้รับการพยากรณ์แล้ว
http://www.dhammajak.net/forums/viewtop ... 13&t=24254
http://www.dhammasavana.or.th/article.php?a=23
http://www.thairath.co.th/content/region/321270
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gksH2hJxsDA

For many years, a community of white-robed nuns lived next to his monastery in Mukdahan, north-east Thailand, headed by Mae Chee Kaew who was regarded as an arahant herself. They have built a nice stupa for her relics in the monastery.
Bhikkhu Gavesako
Kiṃkusalagavesī anuttaraṃ santivarapadaṃ pariyesamāno... (MN 26)

ajahnchah.org - Teachings of Ajahn Chah in many languages
Dhammatube - Videos on Buddhist practice
Ancient Buddhist Texts - Translations and history of Pali texts
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Re: Bodhisatta, Women, Rebirth and Jātaka Stories in Theravāda

Postby gavesako » Mon Jan 21, 2013 3:29 pm

Short summaries of all the commentarial stories containing examples of good and bad kamma:

Multi-life stories in the Dhammapada Atthakatha by Naomi Appleton

http://www.cf.ac.uk/share/resources/Dha ... akatha.pdf
Bhikkhu Gavesako
Kiṃkusalagavesī anuttaraṃ santivarapadaṃ pariyesamāno... (MN 26)

ajahnchah.org - Teachings of Ajahn Chah in many languages
Dhammatube - Videos on Buddhist practice
Ancient Buddhist Texts - Translations and history of Pali texts
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