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Related to Jatakas: Jataka Tales, Tripitaka, Panchatantra


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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.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 Jatakas in one poem mentions it as 'learnt from a people where there are a lot of rivers and a lot of land'.
However, Jory does not develop his arguments for why the Jatakas regained political importance in Thailand as well as he does his account of their role in the pre-modern period.
Of all the hundreds of jatakas, the Buddha's incarnation as Prince Vessantara is considered to be the most important and is highlighted as his penultimate birth.
Of Beggars and Buddhas: The Politics of Humor in the Vessantara Jataka in Thailand
The rarity--near impossibility--of animals advancing enough to have faith in the Dhamma is confirmed by Appleton whose analysis of the Buddhist Jatakas leads her to conclude that sometimes events arise such that animals achieve a state of "mental calm" conducive to peace.
Vikrant Rattan gave short introduction about Jatakas and Buddhas teaching.
Every European child raised in India with an ayah heard stories drawn, directly or indirectly, from the much-loved Jatakas, tales of birds and beasts and men, and their interactions, based on ancient Buddhist moral tales.
Likewise, the discourses of the Buddha found in the Jatakas use the fable as a social, philosophical and moral narrative.
EMBAJADOR MEHROTRA: Las jatakas, que dan una idea de la vida de Buddha, estan llenas de estos simbolos.
Furthermore, Behl provides a history of the murals' creation and discovery and an outline of the parables, called Jatakas, depicted in the artwork.
The walls of the museum depicted the major ten jatakas, the previous lives of the Buddha.
These pre-Buddhist concepts were widely used in Buddhist literature, in particular, in the Jatakas. Some figurative narratives in this collection highlighted and professed the life of extreme non-violence (ahimsa).