Jatakas

JATAKAS

Image Source: Wikimedia

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

Chaddanta Jataka – The previous life of Buddha when he was born as a six tusked elephant… Read Now

Mahajanaka Jataka – In this life, Buddha was born as prince Mahajanaka who was born outside the luxuries of the royalty. When he finally became the king, he realized what actually matters… Read Now

Mahakapi Jataka – This story deals with a previous life of Buddha in which he was a king of monkeys and it also known as ‘The Great Monkey King’… Read Now

Romaka Jataka – The Bodhisattva was born as the king of pigeons. A man pretending to be an ascetic wants to eat the pigeons and it is the king’s responsibility to protect them… Read Now

Sibi Jataka – The Jataka deals with the life of king Sibi who was ready to give up his life to be able to save the life of a pigeon because it came asking for shelter… Read Now

Sihacamma-Jataka – What happens when a man makes his donkey wear the skin of a lion? … 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

Vessantara Jataka -The story of the charitable king Vessantara who gives up more than just his kingdom to keep his people happy… Read Now

Vidhura Pandita Jataka The story of Vidhura and how he ends up giving a happy ending to not one, but all characters in the story… Read Now

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