This collection of some anecdotes and fables depicts earlier incarnations of Siddhartha Gautama. Traditional birth and death dates of Gautama are BC. In all these Buddha Gotama practiced the Dhamma most sincerely; he overcame all difficulties, achieved victory over his adversary and finally attained the supreme status of the Fully-Enlightened One. The Vessantara-Jataka, is the last and longest birth story of the Bodhisatta before he was born Prince Siddhatha. In this life, he practiced Dana Parama, the perfection of generosity. Paramitas, perfections, the essential factors for attainment of the Buddha-hood, which he had been practicing for many lives, reach their fruition only in this Vessantara life.

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The king Senaka was friendly with a certain naga king. This naga king, they say, left the naga world and ranged the earth seeking food. The village boys seeing him said, "This is a snake," and struck him with clods and other things. Drive them away. So the naga king got his life, and when he went back to the naga world. He appointed one of his naga girls, insatiate in pleasures, to be near the king and protect him, and he gave the king a charm, saying, "If ever you do not see her, repeat this charm.

The naga girl seeing a water snake quitted her human shape and made love with him. The king not seeing the girl said, "Where is she gone? Then he saw her in her misconduct and struck her with a piece of bamboo. She went in anger to the naga world, and when she was asked, "Why are you come?

They entered the chamber at the royal bedtime. As they came in, the king was saying to the queen, "Lady, do you know where the naga girl has gone? And now I fear she may have gone to the naga world and told some lie to my friend, destroying his goodwill to me.

Then he said, "In this way I make amends," and gave the king a charm giving knowledge of all sounds. If you give anyone this spell you will at once enter the fire and die. From that time he understood the voice even of ants. One day he was sitting on the dais eating solid food with honey and molasses, and a drop of honey, a drop of molasses, and a morsel of cake fell on the ground.

Come and eat honey and molasses and cake. The queen being near him thought, "What has the king seen that he laughs? They will soon be bringing perfumes to the king. As he perfumes himself some powder will fall at his feet. The queen thought again, "What has he seen that he laughs?

The queen took a golden spoon and helping him reflected, "Is it at the sight of me that the king laughs? Then she said, "Give me your spell of knowledge. The king said, "If I give you this spell, I shall die. The king and the Sindh asses yoked in the chariot saw him, but none else saw him. For the sake of starting talk he was as if making love with the she-goat.

One of the Sindh asses yoked in the chariot seeing him said, "Friend goat, we have heard before, but not seen, that goats are stupid and shameless. But you are doing, with all of us looking on, this thing that should be done in secret and in a private place, and are not ashamed. What we have heard before agrees with this that we see. The king understood the talk of both animals, and hearing it he quickly sent away the chariot.

The goat explaining this spoke the fifth stanza: He who his own special treasure on his wife will throw away, Cannot keep her faithful ever and his life he must betray. The king hearing his words said, "King of goats, you will surely act for my advantage. Tell me now what is right for me to do. It is not good to destroy oneself and abandon the honor one has gained for the sake of anything that is dear.

Life is the chief thing. What can man seek higher? So the Bodhisatta exhorted the king. The king, delighted, asked, "King of goats, whence come you? What am I to do now? By this means she will not get it. The king went to the garden, had the queen summoned and then said, "Lady, will you have the charm? The king made his slaves take whips and beat her on both sides.

After that she could not bear to talk of it again. Cowell, vol. Translated from the Pali by H. Francis and R. A type folktale. Links to additional tales of this type: The Language of Animals. Sulasa and Sattuka Once upon a time when Brahmadatta was reigning in Benares, there was a beautiful woman of the town, called Sulasa, whose price was a thousand pieces a night. One day he was captured. Sulasa was standing at her window when the soldiers led Sattuka, his hands bound behind his back, down the street toward the place of execution.

She fell in love with him on sight, and said, "If I can free that stout fighting man, I will give up this bad life of mine and live respectably with him. They lived together in delight and harmony for some time, but after three or four months, the robber thought, "I shall never be able to stay in this one place. Her ornaments are worth a hundred thousand pieces. I will kill her and take them.

Let us make an offering. She should, he said, to honor the deity, wear all of her ornaments. When they arrived at the mountain top, he revealed his true purpose: "I have not come to present the offering. I have come with the intention of killing you and going away with all your ornaments. Take them all off and make a bundle of them in your outer garment. When you were being hauled along in chains, I paid a large sum and saved your life. Though I might get a thousand pieces a day, I never look at another man.

Such a benefactress I am to you. Do not kill me. I will give you much money and be your slave. Once behind him, she took hold of him, and with the strength of an elephant threw him over a cliff a hundred times as high as a man. He was crushed to pieces and died on the spot. Seeing this deed, the deity who lived on the mountain top spoke this stanza: Wisdom at times is not confined to men; A woman can show wisdom now and then. So Sulasa killed the robber. When she descended from the mountain and returned to her attendants, they asked where her husband was.

Slightly shortened. In a postscript to this tale, the tree deity is identified as the future Buddha. Links to addition tales of this type: The Robber Bridegroom. But there is this difference. I am constantly begging him not to do this and that, and he only gets angry! He will die of himself before many days are out.

Well, take him to a cemetery, and dig a pit, throw him in, and break his head with the spade; and when he is dead, shovel the earth upon him, and leave him there. How can I do it? Tell him very loud, that all may hear, that a debtor of his is in a certain village, that you went and he would not pay you, and that if he dies the man will never pay at all. And say that you will both drive there together in the morning. Then at the appointed time get up, and put the animals to the cart, and take him in it to the cemetery.

When you get there, bury him in a pit, make a noise as if you had been robbed, wound and wash your head, and return. He agreed to her proposal, and got the cart ready for the journey. Now the man had a son, a lad of seven years, but wise and clever. The lad overheard what his mother said. I will prevent my father from doing this murder. Vasitthaka, at the time suggested by the wife, prepared the cart.

But the boy got in first of all. Vasitthaka could not prevent him, so he took him to the cemetery with them. Then, placing his father and his son together in a place apart, with the cart, he got down, took spade and basket, and in a spot where he was hidden from them began to dig a square hole.

The boy got down and followed him, and as though ignorant what was afoot, opened a conversation by repeating the first stanza: No bulbs are here, no herbs for cooking meat, No cat-mint, nor no other plant to eat. This his father answered by repeating the second stanza: Thy grandsire, son, is very weak and old, Oppressed by pain from ailments manifold. Him will I bury in a pit today. In such a life I could not wish him stay. Hearing this, the boy answered by repeating a half stanza: Thou has done sinfully in wishing this, And for the deed, a cruel deed it is.

His father approaching asked why he dug that pit, to whom he made reply by finishing the third stanza: I too, when thou art aged, father mine, Will treat my father as thou treatest thine; Following the custom of the family Deep in a pit I too will bury thee. To this the father replied by repeating the fourth stanza: What a harsh saying for a boy to say, And to upbraid a father in this way! To think that my own son would rail at me, And to his truest friend unkind should be!


The Jataka Tales

The king Senaka was friendly with a certain naga king. This naga king, they say, left the naga world and ranged the earth seeking food. The village boys seeing him said, "This is a snake," and struck him with clods and other things. Drive them away. So the naga king got his life, and when he went back to the naga world. He appointed one of his naga girls, insatiate in pleasures, to be near the king and protect him, and he gave the king a charm, saying, "If ever you do not see her, repeat this charm.


Jataka tales

The commentary gives stories in prose that it claims provide the context for the verses, and it is these stories that are of interest to folklorists. Alternative versions of some of the stories can be found in another book of the Pali Canon, the Cariyapitaka , and a number of individual stories can be found scattered around other books of the Canon. The Mankiala stupa in northern Pakistan marks the spot where, according to the Jataka, an incarnation of Buddha sacrificed himself to feed tigers. A stupa in Pushkalavati , in northwestern Pakistan , marks where Syama fulfilled his filial duty to his blind parents. The Mankiala stupa near Gujar Khan commemorates the spot where Prince Sattva sacrificed himself to feed baby tigers.


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Publication: Jataka Tales (List of 100 Stories)


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