[Buddha-l] Looking for a source

Dan Lusthaus vasubandhu at earthlink.net
Wed Apr 30 12:43:57 MDT 2008


In addition to Piya's citations, it is also a common theme (with variations)
in the Jataka literature, not just under the Bodhi-tree, but in many
previous lives, and in the Jataka literature is one of the distinctive
features of a bodhisattva in his lives before the one in which he will
become a Buddha (I say "he," since he is almost never born a woman).
Probably the most famous example of sacrificing flesh and bone is the
bodhisattva (Buddha in a previous life) sacrificing to feed a malnourished
mother tigress. But actually there are dozens of such stories, each more
gruesome and macabre than the next. Rituals and liturgy based on this theme
of self-sacrifice were very popular in Central Asia, as the reports of
travelers like Faxian (Fa-hsien) illustrate. If you could read Chinese, I
could send many canonical citations.


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