Jataka Tales: The Early Adventures of Buddha
A social Enterprise Project. The Jatakas, or birth-stories, form one of Buddhism's sacred books. They relate the adventures of the Buddha in his former existences. Carved railings around the relic shrines of Sanchi in Madhya Pradesh and Amaravati in Andhra Pradesh indicate that the birth-stories were widely known in the third century B.C.
These Jataka Tales contain deep truths, and are calculated to impress lessons of great moral beauty. Tales like The Merchant of Seri, who gave up all that he had in exchange for a golden dish, embodies much the same idea as the New Testament's parable of the priceless pearl. The Tale of the Measures of Rice illustrates the importance of a true estimate of values. The Tale of the Banyan Deer, which offered its life to save a roe and her young, illustrates self-sacrifice of the noblest sort. The Tale of the Sandy Road is one of the finest in the collection.
While some of the stories are based in Buddhist ideology, many are age-old fables, the flotsam and jetsam of folk-lore that have appeared under various guises throughout the centuries. At times they have been used merely as merry tales, and at other times they're used as literature, as by Chaucer, who unwittingly puts a Jataka story into the mouth of his Pardoner when he tells the tale of The Ryotoures Three.
Captivate yourself with the charm of these 18 Jataka Tales. Let their quaint humour and gentle earnestness teach you the wholesome lessons of the Buddhist ideology, among them the duty of kindness to animals.
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HOW THE TURTLE SAVED HIS OWN LIFE
THE MERCHANT OF SERI
THE TURTLE WHO COULDNT STOP TALKING
THE OX WHO WON THE FORFEIT
THE SANDY ROAD
THE QUARREL OF THE QUAILS
THE WISE AND THE FOOLISH MERCHANT
THE ELEPHANT GIRLYFACE
THE BANYAN DEER
THE PRINCES AND THE WATERSPRITE
THE KINGS WHITE ELEPHANT
THE OX WHO ENVIED THE PIG
THE CRAB AND THE CRANE
THE MEASURE OF RICE
THE FOOLISH TIMID RABBIT
WHY THE OWL IS NOT KING OF THE BIRDS