Approach to the study of Women in Sanskrit Buddhist Narrative Literature

The earnest endeavour of the Buddhist story-tellers in portraying several women characters is clearly revealed through the Buddhist narrative works, like Jātakas and Avadānas. That the narrators were faithful enough in documenting the real facts could be assumed by dexterous characterization of women. As we go through the courageous character of Yaśodharā on one hand, on the other hand, we also meet the cruelest character like Tiṣyarakṣitā. The examples of women, who silently acquiesced the so-called commendable decision of their husbands being treated as the gift items are widely available; at the same time, references of the women, regularly betraying their husbands are also prevalent. Furthermore, the Buddhist narratives always aim at the emphasizing on the sublimation of the concerned characters. Therefore, the so-called condemned persons including women often are seen to be reformed under the compassionate support and grace of the then Buddhist teachers.

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About Author: Assistant Professor, Department of Sanskrit, Jadavpur University, Kolkata.

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