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Reading: The Fourth Decade of the Avadānaśataka


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The Fourth Decade of the Avadānaśataka


Naomi Appleton


I here present a translation of the fourth decade (stories 31-40) of the Avadānaśataka, using Speyer’s 1906-1909 edition1 – and Vaidya’s 1958 reprint thereof – as my base text. My approach to the text is explained in the introduction to my translation of the second decade (Asian Literature and Translation 1/7, 2013). As noted there, I am particularly interested in the jātaka stories (stories of the past lives of the Buddha) contained within the Avadānaśataka. While the jātakas of the second decade focus upon karmic backstories for positive events in the Buddha’s final life, in the fourth decade we find a stronger focus on the character of the Buddha-to-be as he practices the many virtues required for the attainment of Buddhahood. In that sense the stories are much closer to the jātakas of the Pāli tradition, and indeed several of the stories are also found in the Jātakatthavaṇṇanā as well as other early Buddhist narrative collections.

How to Cite: Appleton, N., 2014. The Fourth Decade of the Avadānaśataka. Asian Literature and Translation, 2(5), pp.1–35. DOI:
Published on 06 May 2014.
Peer Reviewed


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