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Narrative Buddhology: Explorations of Indian Buddhist Literature

March 19 at 3:00 pm - 4:30 pm UTC+0

Narrative Buddhology: Explorations of Indian Buddhist Literature

by Dr. Naomi Appleton, University of Edinburgh

Indian Buddhist texts contain a complex fabric of narratives interweaving the Buddha’s past lives, his final life, his encounters with others and their past-life encounters with other buddhas. In this lecture I ask: What makes such stories so powerful as ways of exploring and communicating Buddhist ideas? I will touch upon narrative’s role in Buddhology in the wide sense of that term as referring to the field of Buddhist Studies, but my main focus will be the narrower sense of Buddhology. What can narrative sources tell us about the nature of the Buddha, buddhas as a category, and the path to the achievement of buddhahood? I will suggest that the narrative genres of jātaka and avadāna in particular might hold the key to understanding the emergence of different Buddhist ideas about paths and goals that were crucial to developments in both Mahāyāna and non-Mahāyāna thought.



Speaker bio:


Naomi Appleton is Senior Lecturer in Asian Religions at the University of Edinburgh. Her primary research interest is the role of stories in the construction, communication and challenge of religious ideas in early India. She has a particular passion for jātaka stories (stories of the Buddha’s past lives) but also enjoys exploring the ways in which the narrative traditions of Buddhist, Jain and Hindu traditions interact. She is the author of three monographs and a range of other articles and books on related themes, including translations of Pali and Sanskrit narrative texts.


Registration for "Narrative Buddhology: Explorations of Indian Buddhist Literature"

by Dr. Naomi Appleton, University of Edinburgh

The Goodman Lectures

A series of online lectures by leading Buddhist studies scholars

The Goodman Lectures are organized in honor of long-time Khyentse Foundation friend and advisor Professor Steven D. Goodman (1945–2020), whose enduring vision to make academic talks available to people beyond the classroom inspired KF and our friends in academia to share their knowledge and insight with a more general audience.


March 19
3:00 pm - 4:30 pm UTC+0