ABOUT THIS BOOK
In the Buddha's penultimate incarnation, he appears as the Prince Vessantara. Perfecting the virtue of generosity, he gives away all his possessions, and even hands over his two children to the beggar Jujaka. This story was once better known across Theravada Buddhist Southeast Asia than the life of the Buddha himself. In Thailand, regional retellings have included humor and sly antiroyalist themes, despite efforts by the Bangkok monarchy to suppress them. Focusing on Jujaka, Katherine A. Bowie traces variations of this famous story, noting changes from its historical emphasis on generosity in feudal society to new emphases on prosperity and tourism under capitalism.