Before Buddha Was Buddha

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A great gift.  Rafe Martin’s wise and down-to-earth commentary humanizes the Jataka tales, letting them speak directly to our daily experience. Numerous aha! moments arise as we recognize in the Buddha’s previous lives our own imperfect and stumbling selves."—Barbara Bonner, author of Inspiring Generosity and Inspiring Courage


"Before Buddha Was Buddha is an alarm clock for the soul. Its words wake you up and lead you out into bright daylight. Its clarity and maturity brings Buddhism down from the realm of the gods and makes the profundity of this Path an actual lived reality. Thank you so much!"—Richard Wehrman, poet, artist, author of Talking To The Wind and Light Was Everywhere


Learning from the Jataka Tales

Rafe Martin

In the lifetimes before he was Siddhartha Gautama, Shakyamuni Buddha was many things: a gardener, a robber, a monkey—and even an ogre.

Yet even then, amid struggles and shortcomings, he was also just like us—as we see in this enchanting book from Buddhist teacher and master storyteller Rafe Martin. Martin starts with brisk retellings of jatakas—the ancient stories of the Buddha’s past lives—then uses them to reveal what it means to be truly human.

book information
  • Paperback
  • 184 pages, 6.00 x 9.00 inches
  • $16.95
  • ISBN 9781614293545
  • ebook
  • 184 pages
  • $15.99
  • ISBN 9781614293729
about the author
Before Buddha Was Buddha

Rafe Martin is the author of over twenty award-winning books for adults, children, and young adults. He is also a lay Zen teacher in the Harada-Yasutani koan line and founding teacher of Endless Path Zendo, Rochester, NY. A personal disciple of Roshi Philip Kapleau (Three Pillars of Zen) and the editor of Roshi Kapleau’s final two books, he later trained with Robert Aitken Roshi, completing the Diamond Sangha koan curriculum and receiving inka (authorization to teach) from Danan Henry Roshi, a Kapleau lineage teacher and a Diamond Sangha (Aitken line) Dharma Master. Rafe’s books have been cited in TimeNewsweekThe New York Times, and USA Today. He is the recipient of the Empire State Award for his body of work, as well as multiple ALA Notable Book Awards and Storytelling World Awards. He has spoken at such events and places as the Joseph Campbell Foundation Festival of Myth and Story, The American Museum of Natural History, The Freer Gallery/Smithsonian, the National Storytelling Festival and International Storytelling Institute, the American Library Association Annual Conference, The American Booksellers Annual Conference, many Zen and Dharma Centers around the country, and numerous literary and storytelling festivals. His writings have appeared in Buddhadharma, Tricycle, Lion’s Roar, The Sun, Zen Bow, Inquiring Mind, Parabola, and other journals of note. and


Other books by Rafe Martin:
The Brave Little Parrot
The Banyan Deer

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