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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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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.


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.


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


References in periodicals archive ?
This is most obvious in the Jataka tales where especially wise and compassionate animals sometimes improve their lot through virtuous actions and even instruct other animals on Buddhist principles (Chapple "Animals" 135-136).
9) Similarly, Christopher Chapple has discussed the opposition to animal sacrifice present in the Jataka tales (138-40).
Simplified laws of Kamma (San; Karma; the law of cause and effect) and stories from the Jataka Tales and sutta are an effective means to educate them.
and the Jataka Tales Series by Dharma Press in California.
An exciting discussion of the Jataka tales further enlightens the relevance of reverence for non-human beings and the natural world in Buddhist folklore.
The first was held at Arizona State University and focused on "Interpretations of Jataka Tales in Southeast Asia.
Concerning the visual liturgy of Kirti Sri's religious art, Holt identifies six chief elements: solosmasthana (sixteen sacred places), sat sati (seven weeks of meditation after enlightenment), suvisi vivarana (the twenty-four Buddhas), the thousand Buddha motif, Buddhacarita (the life of the Buddha), and the Jataka tales.
Ediriwira Sarachchandra's play The Golden Swan or Beyond the Curtain (1989) and Bandula Jayawardhana's drama The Tragedy of Musila (1984) are based on the Jataka tales, stories of the many births of the Buddha before Enlightenment.
In The Tale of Prince Samuttakote, Thomas John Hudak offers us a useful translation of a Thai poetic version of the tale of Buddha's previous incarnation as Prince Samutthakhoot, one of the fifty apocryphal jataka tales known as pannyatsachadok.
In the Jataka Tales, stories about the Buddha's life before he was Buddha, there is a story about a parrot and a fig tree that demonstrates the joy that comes from this deep acceptance of both sides of our lives.