Not for the Achievement of a Savaka or Paccekabuddha

The Motive behind the Bodhisatta’s Self-sacrifice in the Paññasa-Jataka


  • Toshiya Unebe Nagoya University



bodhisatta, jātakas, Paññāsa-jātaka, sāvaka, paccekabudha, self-sacrifice, Palm leaf manuscript


In the Paññasa-jataka transmitted in central Thailand, there are as many as eight stories of self-sacrifice (ajjhatika-dana), where a bodhisatta declares that he carried out his self-sacrifice not to get the achievement of a savaka or paccekabuddha but to attain omniscience. Such declaration is rare in the Pali Nikayas and their commentaries. In the same way, parallel or similar kinds of stories in the avadanas or jatakas transmitted in Sanskrit and Chinese do not refer to the disengagement from the achievement of a savaka or paccekabuddha, with the exception of the story of Kañcanasara. Since the direct source of the bodhisatta’s declarations including the reference to the achievement does not seem to exist in the Pali Nikayas and their commentaries, there is a possibility that the bodhisatta’s declarations found in the Paññasa-jataka are derived from a very old origin which is shared with the story of Kañcanasara.


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How to Cite

Unebe, T. (2012). Not for the Achievement of a Savaka or Paccekabuddha: The Motive behind the Bodhisatta’s Self-sacrifice in the Paññasa-Jataka. Buddhist Studies Review, 29(1), 35–55.