“The Great Dream”

Read a Jataka (meaning “birth”) tale called “The Great Dream”. Jatakas are stories about the former lives of Siddhartha Gautama, the historical Buddha about which you have read in Chapter Two. These stories originated in ancient India, between roughly 300 BCE and 400 CE, and were collected together in Buddhist canons and writings. In these stories, the Buddha appears in various roles, such as an animal or king, and through his words and deeds offers a moral lesson. In this regard, the tales are not unlike Aesop’s Fables. Scholars have noted, however, that most of these tales were not necessarily Buddhist in origin, but rather adopted a Buddhist setting to convey a moral allegory and social commentary. Also, historians find that these tales offer insight into ancient India’s societies and popular culture.

For this discussion, in 2-3 substantial paragraphs, please explain the lesson or lessons the story is trying to convey. Furthermore, examine the author’s social commentary. For instance, what we can learn about the author’s (or authors’) opinion of Brahmins, gender roles, and the signs of society in decline? [Note: In the document, the Buddha is referred to as the “Chief Brahmin”.

Sample Solution