Renegotiating a National Tradition: Moral Conflicts in the Vessantara Jataka Tale
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
Prof. Suwanna Satha-Anand
Professor, Department of Philosophy, Faculty of Arts, Chulalongkorn University