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Narratives: South Asia

(13,763 words)

Author(s): Martin Straube
Narratives form an important part of the Buddhist tradition for as long as the scriptural heritage can be traced back. They can be found in almost all genres of literature, except in purely technical texts, and in virtually all languages in which Buddhist literature has been handed down. The Indian tradition recognized two partly overlapping narrative genres, jātaka and avadāna, which pertain to the biography of the Buddha and his disciples and illustrate the doctrine of the moral causality of actions and that of rebirth in different ways. These two gen…