Collection Patrimoines - Orient
240 pages - févr. 2010
The Buddhist tradition in Pali language has conserved a collection of 547 "Jatakas", narratives recounting previous incarnations of the Buddha of our time: as an animal, as a god, as a man. To become Enlightened, Buddha had to acquire ten perfections, and the last ten "Jatakas" tell the story of how this was accomplished. The longest one in the collection (more than a thousand stanzas, enriched with prose developments), tells how King Vessantara achieved perfection through giving: not only by offering to sacrifice his own body, as his ancestor Sibi had done, but also his kingdom, his wife and his children. After overcoming his own resistance and triumphing over changes in his life (from the throne, he went to being an ascetic living in the forest, first accompanied by his family then deprived of their company by the greed of a cowardly, mean Brahman) he emerged from his ordeal strengthened, and was triumphantly restored as king and permitted, in his subsequent existence, to reach sublime Enlightenment as Buddha. Poignant (a Mongol proverb says "you read the Vessantara to weep"); sparkling (a succession of ten scenes borrow from the visual arts, drama and puppet theatre); political (its challenge to royalty and the values in Hindu society); poetic (writing style): the "Vessantara-jataka" can be read as a Buddhist mini-epic to which the Indian Ramayana could be the response, indeed the rejoinder. Translated into French for the first time, this is the final book in a collection of ten, considered in South East Asia by clerics and even politicians (for example, the kings of Thailand) to be "classics of Buddhist politics and ethics".
- Dimensions : 145x235x15
- ISBN : 9782204089821
- Poids : 370 grammes
Avec la collaboration de : Jean-Pierre Osier