Buddhist Studies jataka tales: vol. 1
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Volume I  - Prince Goodspeaker

Prince Goodspeaker and the Water Demon [Chapter 1. Rebirth of the Bodhisatta]

Once upon a time, there was a very righteous king. He had a lovely queen who gave birth to a beautiful baby. This made the king very happy. He decided to give his son a name that might help him in later life. So he called him Prince Goodspeaker.

It just so happened that the prince was no ordinary baby. This was not his first life or his first birth. Millions of years before, he had been a follower of a long-forgotten teaching 'Buddha' — a fully 'Enlightened One'. He had wished with all his heart to become a Buddha just like his beloved master.

He was reborn in many lives — sometimes as poor animals, sometimes as long-living gods and sometimes as human beings. He always tried to learn from his mistakes and develop the 'Ten Perfections'. This was so he could purify his mind and remove the three root causes of unwholesomeness — the poisons of craving, anger and the delusion of a separate self. By using the Perfections, he would someday be able to replace the poisons with the three purities — nonattachment, loving-kindness and wisdom.

This 'Great Being' had been a humble follower of the forgotten Buddha. His goal was to gain the same enlightenment of a Buddha — the experience of complete Truth. So people call him 'Bodhisatta', which means 'Enlightenment Being'. No one really knows about the millions of lives lived by this great hero. But many stories have been told — including this one about a prince called Goodspeaker. After many more rebirths, he became the Buddha who is remembered and loved in all the world today.

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