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Narrative and Transformation: The Jataka Tales as Texts for a New Context
Dates: Mar 22, 2019 - Mar 24, 2019
Days: Fri - Sun (2 Nights)

Instructor(s): Margo McLoughlin

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In this weekend workshop, Margo McLoughlin will draw on one of the rich story traditions of Buddhism—the Jataka tales—to explore the transformative potential of narrative. The Jataka are the stories of the Buddha’s former lives. Here we see the unfolding of a particular quality of mind and heart: born as a great elephant, the Bodhisatta embodies generosity; born as a crow, he embodies wisdom. Yet these tales are far from simple fables. They point to the complexity of living in community and the opportunities to see beyond one’s own unique story. As Buddhist practitioners, how might we engage with these texts, either as listeners or as tellers? We will discover the power of these stories to shift perception and inspire new ways of thinking.

Learning Intentions:

To make connections between the Jataka tales and Buddhist thought; recognize how the Jataka tales can reflect one’s personal engagement with Buddhist teachings; and understand how storytelling can serve as a practice and teaching tool.

Experience Level:

Suitable for both beginning and experienced practitioners.


  • Margo McLoughlin has been practicing in the Insight tradition of Theravada Buddhism since 1986. She is a student of many wonderful teachers, including Joseph Goldstein, Thanissara, Larry Rosenberg, and Burmese teacher Sayadaw U Lakkhana. In 2012, she completed her training to be a Community Dharma Leader at Spirit Rock Meditation Center in Woodacre, California. She leads evening classes and non-residential retreats in Canada, the U.S. and Ireland. She is currently a writer, storyteller, and teacher based in Victoria, BC.

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