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Twenty-seven Jataka tales and Life-of-the-Buddha episodes are compared with depictions of these stories in Asian art.


This study will relate various stories and episodes of the Buddha’s many incarnations, including his final one, as they appear in the literature and art of Asia. On the one hand, they represent a vital interest in the Buddha as a teacher and example of righteous behavior, which is central to Hinayana, or Theravada [Doctrine of the elders], Buddhism. On the other hand, the miraculous content of so many of these stories reveals an aspect of the other main branch of Buddhism, Mahayana [The great vehicle] Buddhism. [2]Part One is devoted to Jatakas, or the stories of Buddha’s previous births. It draws from the Jatakas and a wide variety of other literary and artistic sources. Part Two of this book describes the major events of the life of the Buddha as they appear in Asian art and literature. Literary excerpts (in English) are accompanied by black-and-white illustrations from South, Southeast, and East Asia. Introduction and commentary by the author.

Mary Cummings is a literary agent specializing in children’s literature at Betsy Amster Literary Enterprises.