In the spirit of my last post, I’d like to share my research notes on the many jātaka stories found in the Mahāvastu. These fall into several categories, with some told as part of explanations of the career of a/the bodhisattva, and others told during the final life-story of the Buddha to explain repeated events in the past. Only the latter type tend to be called jātakas, and to further confuse matters some stories that are called jātakas don’t feature the Buddha at all! So these stories really challenge our definition of the jātaka genre and what it is all about.
My research on these stories is just beginning, but some preliminary thoughts will appear in a paper I am writing up for a collected volume on Buddhist paths, which Cristina Pecchia and Vincent Eltschinger are putting together following a symposium on that theme last December. It should be a really interesting volume.
Meanwhile enjoy the story summaries in pdf here: Mahavastu Jatakas