Apadāna ) is the name given to a
Buddhist literature correlating past lives ' virtuous deeds to
subsequent lives' events. While including accounts from the Pali
Vinaya Pitaka ("Basket of Discipline"), this literature also
includes a large number of
Sanskrit collections, of which the chief
Mahāvastu ("Great Book"), and the
Sarvāstivāda 's Avadānaśataka (Century of Legends) and
Divyāvadāna (The Heavenly Legend). These latter collections include
accounts relating to
Buddha Gautama and the third-century BC
Amongst the most popular avadānas of Northern Hinayāna Buddhism
* the story of Sudhana, preserved in the
Mahāvastu under the title
Kinnarī jātaka, amongst others, who falls in love with a kinnarī
and saves her life.
Vessantara jātaka , the story of the compassionate prince who
gives away everything he owns, including his wife and children,
thereby displaying the virtue of perfect charity.
* the Suvannasankha jātaka
Though of later date than most of the canonical
avadānas are held in veneration by the orthodox, and occupy much the
same position with regard to
Buddhism that the
Puranas do towards
Hinduism . They act in a similar way to other texts describing past
deeds or past lives held in other traditions in the region, such as
the aforementioned Puranas, the
Dasam Granth and
Sikhism, and the
Kalpa Sutra of Jainism.
* ^ While avadāna (Sanskrit) and apadāna (Pali) are cognates, the
former refers to a broad literature, including both canonical and
non-canonical material from multiple
Buddhist schools, while the
latter refers explicitly to a late addition to
Pali Canon 's
Khuddaka Nikaya .
* ^ "Avadāna" (2008).
* ^ Padmanabh S. Jaini, "The Story of Sudhana and Manoharā: An
Analysis of the Texts and the Borobudur Reliefs", Bulletin of the
School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, Vol. 29,
No. 3 (1966), pp. 533-558.
* Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Avadāna". Encyclopædia Britannica .
3 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 51.
* "Avadāna." (2008). In Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved August
20, 2008, from Encyclopædia Britannica Online: