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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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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



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.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
The Jataka Stories have been translated into a number of languages, and these come in the shape of poems and stories.
Indeed, rather than attempt to discover an "ur" text for the Vessantara Jataka, it may be better to think of it as a general outline, elaborated differently in different contexts.
The 547 Buddhist jatakas, verse parables, each recount a previous life of the Buddha and how he achieved a particular virtue, says Bowie, and the most popular of these is the Vessantara Jataka, about how, in his last incarnation before the historical Gautama, he learned about generosity.
In Buddhist literature, Bhuridatta Jataka, we get a story of how a widow of Naga origin wins the love of exiled prince of Benarasa.
In the Jataka, clever animals do good deeds and are thus reborn in better circumstances.
(13) Chandalika is derived from a Jataka story of the Buddhidt protest movement against Brahminic caste hierarchy, challenging the scriptutal sanction to subordinate low-caste women.
A great option for Zen beginners, the book playfully works with sutras (teachings), Bodhisattvas (enlightened beings) and jataka tales (parables).
Hussain's popular writings include Basti, Hindustan Se Aakhri Khat, Agay Samander hai, Shehr-e-Afsos, Jataka Tales, Janam Kahanian and Wo Jo Kho Gaye.
"Agay Samander hai", "Shehr-e-Afsos", "Jataka Tales", "Janam Kahanian" and "Wo Jo Kho Gaye".
The most dramatic and best preserved scenes, however, show two Jataka stories of the former lives of the Buddha.
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.