Book: Many Buddhas, One Buddha
Chapter: Fourth Decade (Stories 31-40)
The ten stories of the fourth chapter are “jātaka” stories, or tales of the past-lives of Śākyamuni Buddha in times of no Buddhism. Most are tales of the extraordinarily virtuous deeds carried out by the Buddha-to-be, including several bodily sacrifice stories. Two stories have more of an emphasis on demonstrating the results of bad karma. All of the stories are placed within frame narratives in which Śāyamuni Buddha explains what lesson should be taken by his followers. The final story interweaves Śākyamuni’s recruitment of his final personal disciple on his deathbed with both a story of his past-life saving of that same disciple and a separate story of the disciple’s own encounter with a past buddha.