I invite the reader to join me in a search for what could be found in the textual corpus of early Buddhist discourses

In the first chapter I investigate the bodhisattva conception as such, surveying relevant passages from the early discourses. With the second chapter I turn to the meeting between the previous Buddha Kāśyapa and the bodhisattva Gautama, examining the relation of this meeting to the notion of a vow the bodhisattva took to pursue the path to Buddhahood. The future Buddha Maitreya is the theme of the third chapter, in which I take up the notion of a prediction a bodhisattva receives in assurance of his future success.