Renegotiating a National Tradition: Moral Conflicts in the Vessantara Jataka Tale

Prof. Suwanna Satha-Anand
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This article offers an analysis of various situations of moral conflict generated by the Bodhisattva ideal of extreme self-sacrifice, with special reference to the career of Vessantara. The analysis focuses on the conflicts resulted from his marvelous giving of gifts (dana), as a prince of a kingdom, as a royal son to his parents, as a husband and as a father. Emphasis will be directed to the various lines of reasoning, both supportive and oppositional to the gift giving, voiced by the people around him who are directly affected by his generosity. Finally, some possibilities for reconciliation will be explored.

Keywords: Moral Conflict, Jataka Tale, Birthstory of the Buddha
Stream: Philosophy, Ethics, Consciousness, Religion, Spirituality
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
Paper: Renegotiating a National Tradition

Prof. Suwanna Satha-Anand

Professor, Department of Philosophy, Faculty of Arts, Chulalongkorn University

Professor Satha-Anand Suwanna graduated with First Class Honors in Philosophy from Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok. She received her MA and Ph.D from the University of Hawaii. She has published about ten books on Buddhist Philosophy, Philosophy of Religion and Thai Cultural Heritage. Her numerous research articles cover the fields of women and religion, ethics in religion, and Buddhism and contemporary issues. In 1998, she was selected to join the Asia Leadership Fellow Program of the International House of Japan and Japan Foundation. She is currently a Research Coordinator for the Humanities Research Forum, Thailand Research Fund. In 2004, she was elected Vice President of the Association of Philosophy and Religion of Thailand.

Ref: H06P0109