The Jatakas are an important part of Buddhist art and literature. They describe the previous existences or births of the Buddha (the Enlightened One) when he appeared as Bodhisattvas (beings who are yet to attain enlightenment or moksha), in both human and non-human forms. These stories tell us how practicing different perfections or transcendental virtues (which are usually termed paramitas) are key to Buddhist approaches for attaining enlightenment (moksha) or the release from samsara, the endless cycle of rebirth.
It is widely believed by Buddhists that, in each of his previous incarnations, the karmic entity that was to become Siddhartha Gautama, the historical Buddha, gained more and more karmic merit. After his enlightenment, the Buddha is said to have recounted 547 stories in response to questions about his previous incarnations, and thus about the ways in which people could follow his example.
Many of the Jatakas have been painted and sculpted on the walls of various monuments including Ajanta and Bagh caves, various Stupas and so on.
Some Of The Jatakas
The story of the past is of two merchants who travel with caravans across a desert. One, beguiled by goblins, throws away his drinking water and is devoured with all his people and cattle. The other completes his journey safely, not putting faith in the goblins. The moral is that the followers of false teachers are led astray… Read Now
Apannaka Jataka – Two merchants from the same city travel with caravans across a desert. One, beguiled by yakshas, throws away his drinking water in the desert and is devoured with all his people and cattle; will the other complete his journey?… Read Now
Vannupatha Jataka – Travelling across a desert, a caravan through mistake throws away its water. In their despair the leader has a well dug, till far down water is found, and perseverance saves the caravan from death… Read Now