Activity: Participating in or organising an event types › Public Engagement – Public lecture/debate/seminar
Jātaka stories, or stories of the past lives of the Buddha, have long been associated with a list of qualities known as the “perfections” that are pursued by the Buddha-to-be over countless lifetimes as he readies himself for the attainment of buddhahood. In Theravāda Buddhism these traditionally number ten, and each is mapped onto one of the final ten stories of the great Pāli jātaka book. These ten stories, the longest and most complex of the 550 in the collection, are believed to represent the final ten lifetimes of the Buddha-to-be before his buddhahood, and thus are understood to represent the peak of his perfection. These particular stories are therefore often selected for illustration in temples and manuscripts, as demonstrated in this exhibition. This talk will explore how these tales celebrate the incomparable perfection of the Buddha while sometimes pushing audiences to the limits of Buddhist ethics.