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The Jataka Tales

The Jataka TalesThe Jataka Tales or JatakasIt refer to a voluminous body of literature native to India concerning the previous births of Bodhisattva.Part of the canon of sacred Buddhist literature, this collection of some 550 anecdotes and fables depicts earlier incarnations -- sometimes as an animal, sometimes as a human -- of the being who would become Siddhartha Gautama, the future Buddha. The Jataka tales are dated between 300 BC and 400 AD.Many of the tales are set in or near Benares, now called Varanasi, a city in north central India on the Ganges River. The major purpose of these stories is to develop the moral and ethical values of the reader.The Theravada Jataka Tales

The largest collection of Jataka Tales that is in Pali Canon, they are found in Sutta-pitaka (basket of sutras). The Khuddaka Nikaya of the Sutta-pilaka contains 547 poems that were arranged in order, from shortest to longest.Some stories are adapted from Hindu text around 200 BCEAlternative versions of some of the stories can be found in another book of the Pali Canon, theCariyapitaka.The overall purpose of the Pali Jatakas is to show how the Buddha lived many lives with the goal of realizing enlightenment

The Mahayana Jataka TalesIt is also called as the apocryphal.These stories, usually in Sanskrit, were written over the centuries by list of many different authors.One of the best known collections are The Jatakamala, composed in the 3rd or 4th century. TheJatakamalacontains 34 Jatakas written by Arya Sura, the stories focus on theperfections, especially those of generosity,morality, and patience.

Reference:http://buddhism.about.com/od/sacredbuddhisttexts/a/The-Jataka-Tales.htm

History The Jatakas were originally amongst the earliest Buddhist literature, with metrical analysis methods dating their average contents to around the 4th century BCEAccording toA.K. Warder, the Jatakas are the precursors to the various legendary biographies of the Buddha, which were composed at later datesAlthough many Jatakas were written from an early period, which describe previous lives of the Buddha, very little biographical material about Gautama's own life has been recorded

Reference:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jataka_tales The Mouse MerchantFrom The Jataka TalesPicture Reference: http://www.kelvi.net/books/comics/index.php?album=Indian%20children%20stories/Jataka%20Tales-The%20Mouse%20Merchant

Some important people:Ananda: Ananda was a relative of the Buddha, and one of his earliest and most devoted disciplesCinca: Cinca was a woman who claimed to be having an affair with the Buddha and to be pregnant with his child; her deceit was exposed and the Buddha was vindicatedDevadatta: Like Ananda, Devadatta was a family relation of the Buddha and an early disciple, but when the Buddha did not name Devadatta as his successor, Devadatta was bitterly resently and plotted to kill the Buddha, but all of his plots failedKokalika: Kokalika was a monk who eventually became a follower of the renegade DevadattaMoggallana: Moggallana was one of the most favored and important disciples of the BuddhaRahula: Rahula was the only son of the Buddha; he became a monk and follower of the Buddha

Some important places:Ganga (Ganges): one of the great rivers of IndiaHimalaya: a great mountain range in IndiaJetavana: a park in Savatthi which was the Buddha's residence for many years during the rainy seasonSavatthi: the capital town of Kosala in India, where the Buddha's main residence (Jetavana) was located

Moral Lesson:With energy and ability, great wealth comes even from small beginnings.