Jataka


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Jataka:

see Pali canonPali canon
, sacred literature of Buddhism. The texts in the Pali canon are the earliest Buddhist sources, and for Theravada Buddhists, who claim to conserve the original teachings of the Buddha, they are still the most authoritative sacred texts.
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Jataka

 

a genre of ancient Indian literature. In form the jataka is prose alternating with poetry (gathas). The oldest works of this genre are found in the collection Jataka, included in the Sutrapitaka, a part of the second book of the Buddhist canon in the Pali language, the Tripitaka (fifth to second centuries B.C.). Many plots of this collection subsequently became widespread in world literature.

In India, of the subsequent literary treatments of the jataka, the best known are the Jataka Mala (no later than the sixth century) of Aryasura and the Avadana Mala (17th century) of Kshemendra. Mostjatakas consist of fables and fairy tales about animals, many of which contain elements of social and even antireligious satire. Others consist of magic tales about sirens, cannibals, and fantastic serpents and birds and about sea voyages. One also finds stories of everyday life and adventure stories (sometimes of considerable length) that depict the life of the various classes of ancient Indian society. The legends and sermons that directly propagate Buddhist philosophy are relatively few. The jatakas were very popular in Asia, especially in the Buddhist countries, and had a marked influence on the development of the narrative literature of many peoples.

EDITIONS

The Jataka, vols. 1-7. Edited by V. Fausboll; translated by T. W. Rhys Davids. London, 1877-97.
Jatakam, vols. 1-7. Translated by J. Dutoit. Leipzig, 1908-21.
In Russian translation:
Aryashura. Girlianda dzhatak, Hi Skazaniia opodvigakh Bodkhisattvy. Moscow, 1962.

REFERENCES

Serebriakov, I. D. Ocherki drevneindiiskoiliteratury. Moscow, 1971.
Winternitz, M. Geschichte der indischen Literatur, vol. 2, part 1. Leipzig, 1913.

I. D. SEREBRIAKOV

References in periodicals archive ?
At the furthermost end of the apse, and to the right of the stupa, the artists drew images from the Shyama Jataka which tells of Shyama, a virtuous forest-dweller fatally hit by the poisoned arrow of the King of Varanasi who is out hunting.
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Airtel's "Comics Portal" provides subscribers with WAP-enabled handsets to access more than 300 Indian and international comic characters including Doga, Nagraj, Akbar, Birbal, Tenaliraman, Jataka Tales, Love Is, BC, Animal Crackers and Dick Tracey as well as comics supplied by Amar Chitra Katha.
Speaking of the Jataka storytelling tradition amongst the Laotians of eastern Thailand, Wongthet explains that "understanding of the Jakata story-telling activity will help us understand the world-view, personality and cultural values of Laotians" (24).
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More than 50 tales from creation myths to animal tales, Buddhist Jataka, moral stories, trickster tales, ghost stories, riddles, legends, and more fill this wonderfully rich and exciting volume.
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This is reflected in the subject matter that predominates in the cave paintings: the Buddha teaching, Jataka tales, bodhisattvas, and flying musical devatas (Tucker, 154-5).