"Small, elegant books, beautifully printed, sparsely annotated, and bilingual...This arrangement naturally delights students of Sanskrit, who may dispense,at least temporarily, with their dictionaries and grammar books; but you do nothave to know Sanskrit to enjoy reading these volumes." The New Republic "There is so much to admire about John P. Clay, who made a fortune in international banking and then decided to plow a large part of it into one of the most exciting publishing projects in recent years, the Clay Sanskrit Library. His ambition to bring the Indian classics to a wider audience is not limited to producing compact, bilingual editions of books for a presumably tiny scholarly public; he reportedly dreams of seeing the volumes for sale in airport bookstores...[T]he appeal of these books, the reason they stuck around long enough to become classics in the first place, is often their simplicity, the apparently effortless way so many of them distill complex truths into parables that resonate for people and in places distant from the works' authors or origins...If the theological concepts can be complicated, the language and the stories that illustrate them are simple and direct, full of dramatic incident and studded with metaphors that make the world of old India as palpable and romantic as the Baghdad of the Arabian Nights..." Harper's Magazine, October 2009Vom Verlag:
"The Garland of Past Lives" is a collection of thirty four stories depicting the miraculous deeds performed by the Buddha in his previous rebirths. Composed in the fourth century C.E. by the Buddhist monk Aryashura, the text's accomplished artistry led Indian aesthetic theorists to praise its elegant mixture of verse and prose. The twenty stories in this first volume deal primarily with the virtues of giving and morality. Ascetics sacrifice their lives for hungry tigers, kings open their veins for demons to drink their blood, helmsmen steer their crew through perilous seas, and quail chicks quench forest fires by proclaiming words of truth. The experience is intended to arouse astonishment in the audience, inspiring devotion, through the future Buddha's transcendence of conventional norms in his quest to acquire enlightenment and save the world from suffering. The importance of such stories of past lives in traditional Buddhist culture, throughout Asia and up to today, cannot be overestimated.
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