Before Buddha was Buddha: learning from Jataka tales
In the lifetimes before he was Siddhartha Gautama, Shakyamuni Buddha was many things: a gardener, a robber, a monkey—and even an ogre.
Yet even then, amid struggles and shortcomings, he was also just like us—as we see in this enchanting book from Buddhist teacher and master storyteller Rafe Martin. Martin starts with brisk retellings of jatakas—the ancient stories the Buddha’s past lives—then uses them to reveal what it means to be truly human.
“A great gift. Rafe Martin’s wise and down-to-earth commentary humanizes the Jataka tales, letting them speak directly to our daily experience. Numerous aha! moments arise as we recognize in the Buddha’s previous lives our own imperfect and stumbling selves."—Barbara Bonner, author of Inspiring Generosity and Inspiring Courage
"Before Buddha Was Buddha is an alarm clock for the soul. Its words wake you up and lead you out into bright daylight. Its clarity and maturity brings Buddhism down from the realm of the gods and makes the profundity of this Path an actual lived reality. Thank you so much!"—Richard Wehrman, poet, artist, author of Talking To The Wind and Light Was Everywhere