Lalitavistara is an important mahayana sutra, it must have originally been somewhat longer. Having read through it several times I get the impression that a larger part of it is missing. If we take for example the phase of His life that is called Enjoying the Kingdom, which lasted something like 13 years, if we accept that he left home at the age of 28, and assuming that he got married at the age of 15, ( can't remember the source for this). Lalitavistara sutra doesn't mention His age at the time of marriage, but in India they generally get married early. In the Lalitavistara He is married to Gopa however, no mention at all of a Yashodhara!
Tarthang Tulku & Gwendolyn Bay's Lalitavistara or Voice of Buddha never says that He actually had other wives or concubines, but it still speaks of women, in plural, in His palaces, never going into details about their function and role.
There is another tradition preserved in China and Japan, in which Shakyamuni leaves home at the age of 19.
Present day Lalitavistara is missing a vital part, that is a description of His romantic adventures, the period from the age of 15 to the age of 28 (or 19 alternatively). The theme of His love life is included in the name Lalitavistara Sutra, it could be translated as Playful Romantic Adventures Sutra.
Tarthang Tulku & Gwendolyn Bays have given it the name Voice of Buddha, Beauty of Compassion, which is stressing that it is an autobiography of Buddha Shakyamuni where He tells His life story in an ornamented fashion.
Discuss and learn about the traditional Mahayana scriptures, without assuming that any one school ‘owns’ the only correct interpretation.
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