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In this 10 part lecture series Sarah Shaw explores several stories from the Jatakas, stories of the previous lives of the Gautama Buddha both in human and animal form. The stories are entertaining and allegorical. Sarah connects these tales from fourth and fifth century B.C.E. with their relevance for our lives today.
- Session 1: Sarah discusses the Bodhisatta vow and the 10 perfections, The Dīpaṃkara Jātaka
- Session 2: Sarah explains the structure of Jataka tales and explores why birth stories are important. She shares the story: Lost in The Wilderness. Apaṇṇaka-jātaka: a True Story, Jātaka 1
- Session 3: Sarah explains how Jātakas were heard and how to cope with moral dilemmas, the people of Kuru and their code: Kurudhamma-Jātaka (Jātaka 276)
- Session 4: The historical background of the Jātakas. Why are birth stories important?
- Session 5: Protection and story of the golden peacock The Peacock Story, Mora Jātaka (Jātaka 159)
- Session 6: Sarah discusses Jātaka 541: Nemi Jātaka about king Nemi
- Session 7: Jataka 55: Pañcāvudha-jātaka, the five weapons story
- Session 8: Jataka 385. Nandiyamiga-jātaka. The story of the Buddha’s life as Nandiya, the deer
- Session 9: Mahosadha or Ummagga Jātaka , Jātaka 546
- Session 10: Sarah concludes the course with the final life of the Buddha
Sarah Shaw received her Phd in English from Manchester University. After studying Pali and Sanskrit at Oxford, she began teaching and writing on Buddhist subjects. She has written several books on meditation theory and practice, and jātaka literature. She is the author of several books including Introduction to Buddhist Meditation, The Jātakas: Birth Stories of the Bodhisatta, and her most recent book, The Spirit of Buddhist Meditation. She is a member of the Faculty of Oriental Studies, University of Oxford, and Wolfson College. She is a fellow of the Oxford Centre for Buddhist Studies.