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JATAKA: The Stories of the Buddha's Former Births by E.B. Cowell
In India recollection of previous lives is a common feature in the histories of the saints and heroes of sacred tradition. The doctrine of transmigration, since the later Vedic period, has played such an important part in the history of the national character and religious ideas that even Buddhist literature has included the ages of the past as an authentic background to the founder's historical life as Gautama. Jataka stories or birth legends were widely known in the third century B.C.
The Pali work, entitled 'The Jataka" contains 537 Birth-stories of the Buddha's former births. Each story, narrated by the Buddha, opens with a preface relating the particular circumstances in the Buddha's life, revealing some events in the long series of his previous existences as a bodhisattva. At the end the Buddha identifies the different actors in the story in their present births. These stories magnify the glory of the Buddha and illustrate Buddhist doctrines and precepts by appropriate examples. The foremost interest of these legends lies in their relation to folklore giving a vivid picture of the social life and customs of ancient India.
BEFORE HE WAS BUDDHA: THE LIFE OF SIDDHARTHA by Hammalawa Saddhatissa
This personal portrayal of Buddha presents him first as a boy named Siddhartha, then as a man who leaves home in search of truth, and finally as an elderly teacher. Unlike reverential biographies that treat him as a distant, divine figure, Before He Was Buddha presents a person in search of the secrets of life.
AWAKENED ONE, LIFE OF THE BUDDHA by Sherab Chodzin Kohn
The Buddha's life story is a universal tale of the awakening of consciousness. The founder of Buddhism was a prince named Siddhartha Gautama, born in the sixth century BCE in what is now Nepal. He led a sheltered life of ease until the age of twenty-nine, when he abandoned his palace and set out on a journey of discovery.
Many know the Buddha only from seeing countless serene, iconic images. But what of the man himself and the world he lived in? What did he actually do in his roughly eighty years on earth that spawned one of the greatest religions in world history? Armstrong tackles these questions and more by examining the life and times of the Buddha in this engrossing philosophical biography.
GOTAMA BUDDHA: A BIOGRAPHY BASED ON THE MOST RELIABLE TEXTS by Hajime Nakamura
A detailed historical account of the life of the Buddha. Drawing upon years of experience and research on the oldest, most reliable texts, Nakamura creates a vivid, chronological account of the life of Sakyamuni. Beginning with the social context in India at the time of the Buddha's birth and taking the reader through all the stages of his life, Nakamura carefully considers myth and history, engaging in a thorough analysis of the relevant textual evidence.
BUDDHA: His Life and His Teaching by Walter Henry Nelson
The thrilling history of the prince who renounced worldly luxury to final -the way to selt-perfection and became the BuddhaMore than twenty-five hundred years ago, an Indian prince achieved enlightenment and became "the Awakened One" However extraordinary Prince Siddhartha Gautama was, he was no divinity, but a self-perfected human being who brought a sweeping message to mankind. Walter Henry Nelson, a renowned scholar and author, offers readers perhaps the most accessible and authoritative biography of the Buddha and his life teachings.
It is one of the nine Mahayana texts. The Lalitavistara is a biography of Buddha. It has twenty-seven chapters in which an account of the Buddha legend up to the Sermon of Varanasi. It originally contained the biography of Buddha according to the Sarvastivada school of Hinayana. From the view point of history of religion and literature, it is of immense value. The present book contains English translation of chapter 1 to 15.
GREAT DISCIPLES OF THE BUDDHA: "Their Lives, Their Works, Their Legacy" by Nyanaponika Thera
"Great Disciples of the Buddha" is a unique book- a collection of biographical profiles of some twenty-four extraordinary men and women whom the Buddha himself named his most outstanding disciples. The stories of their lives presented here, based on the Pali Canon and its commentaries, offer a comprehensive record of the most ancient traditions concerning the Buddha's own direct Dharma heirs.
In these engaging tales, told with an eye to the details of ordinary human concerns, you will meet a fascinating and diverse array of people- thinkers and seekers, princes and queens, merchants and housewives, even a serial killer- whose lives were transformed by their encounter with the Buddha.
In his editor's introduction, Bhikkhu Bodhi encourages you to approach this book "as an exercise in comtemplation rather than as an enterprise of objective scholarship. The Buddha says that contemplation of the noble disciples is an essential part of the meditative life.... To contemplate the noble ones, who broke the bonds of egotism and reached the heights of purity and wisdom, is a great encouragement for those who still find themselves far from deliverance. By their examples, these exalted persons inspire us with confidence in the emancipating power of the Dhamma... The stories of the great disciples are just as much a part of the Buddhist heritage as the formal doctrines and practices of Buddhsim: not mere fragments of ancient history, dead and vapid, but a living and luminous legacy that has come down to us at this critical juncture of human history, when our very survival hinges on the capacity for self transcendence these disciples so vividly demonstrate in their lives."
INDO-TIBETAN BUDDHISM: Indian Buddhist and Their Tibetan Successors by David Snellgrove
This volume provides a comprehensive survey of Indian Buddhism and its subsequent establishment in Tibet. It concentrates on the tantric period of Buddhist theory and practice, from the eighth to the thirteenth centuries, when the Tibetans were actively engaged in absorbing all they could find of Buddhist culture and religion into their own country. Snellgrove emphasizes the significant role played by the Central Asian kingdoms along the ancient Silk Route in the gradual process of Tibetan conversion. he draws convincingly upon documents of the time to illustrate the cultural changes that swept Tibet as a result of its rule over an extensive empire from the seventh to the ninth centuries -- a period of history largely forgotten by the Tibetans themselves when they later embarked upon the wholesale importation of Buddhism directly from Northern India.
Throughout, the author quotes extensively from numerous original sources, many of which have never before been translated into English. The illustrations include iconographic art as well as photographs of historical interest.
LIFE AND LIBERATION OF PADMASAMBHAVA, Part I and II by Yeshe Tsogyal
Padmasambhava founded Tibetan Buddhism, inspiring the most spiritually advanced culture the world has ever known. In The Life Liberation of Padmasambhava, a translation from Tibetan in two volumes and with fifty-eight color plates, we are given the complete biography of this renowned master as recorded by his consort, Yeshe Tsogyal. The poetic text of this powerful epic with its depictions of Padmasambhava, his various manifestations, and his twenty-five disciples, transports the reader into lands and times of majesty and wonder.