The fourth decade of the Avadānaśataka

I am pleased to announce the publication of my translation of stories 31-40 of the Avadānaśataka, in the journal Asian Literature and Translation. I published stories 11-20 last year in the same journal. This now means that all of the forty jātaka stories in the text are available in English translation for the first time. I hope that people will find them as interesting as I have.

This is not the end of my work on the Avadānaśataka. As well as developing plans, with other scholars, for a full translation of the text, I am working further on the two decades that I have translated. I am very interested in the ways in which these two decades shed light on our understanding of the jātaka and avadāna genres, containing, as they do, stories of the past lives of the Buddha (jātakas) in an avadāna collection. The two decades differ quite significantly in how they use jātakas and for what purpose. I began to put together some analyses on this subject in my paper at the recent IABS Congress in Vienna, and hope to work further on this material over the coming months.

Incidentally, also published recently in Asian Literature and Translation is an article by two storytellers with whom I collaborated on a Jātaka show here in Edinburgh last November, reflecting on the process of preparing for that show. It makes interesting reading, and reminds us that the process of translation has many forms, including the translation of a whole story for a completely new audience.


About naomiappleton

I work in the Divinity School at the University of Edinburgh, where I research and teach subjects related to South and Southeast Asian religions.
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