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The Buddha in the 'Wild West': The Localization of Jatakas in Gandhara and the Ramayana

Deeg, Max ORCID: 2022. The Buddha in the 'Wild West': The Localization of Jatakas in Gandhara and the Ramayana. Religions of South Asia 16 (2-3) , pp. 220-248. 10.1558/rosa.24402

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The starting point of this article is the observation that three Jataka narratives, the Visvantara-jataka, the Syama-jataka, and the Ekasrnga-/Rsyasrnga-jataka, localized in the ancient northwest Indian region of Gandhara by the Chinese Buddhist travellers Faxian, Soong Yun and Xuanzang, have parallels in the epic Ramayana (and the latter two in the Mahabharata). The article analyses the different versions of the narratives in the Buddhist and Hindu sources and their possible relation, and reaches the cautious conclusion that the localization of the Buddhist Jatakas in the northwest may have been a reaction to the popularization of the Ramayana in a full and mature form which included the narratives corresponding to the Buddhist Syama-jataka and Rsyasrnga-jataka in the more central parts of India in the Gupta period.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: History, Archaeology and Religion
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BQ Buddhism
D History General and Old World > DS Asia
Publisher: Equinox Publishing
ISSN: 1751-2689
Date of Acceptance: 18 July 2022
Last Modified: 24 Mar 2023 10:00

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