Anyone heard of the Jatakas?

Micheal Kush, modified 8 Years ago.

Anyone heard of the Jatakas?

Posts: 34 Join Date: 6/6/12 Recent Posts
Ive recently just discovered something called the jatakas which were post canonical(though they were extracted from the Pali canon) scriptures that are highly revered as fables and moral pathways. Reading a couple of them makes me wonder what signifigance do they have on buddhism. I understand that there illustrations of Buddha in his past lives but how do they relate to serious practice or formal training?

Little confused.

Best wishes, mike
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fivebells ., modified 8 Years ago.

RE: Anyone heard of the Jatakas?

Posts: 566 Join Date: 2/25/11 Recent Posts
I haven't studied them thoroughly, but there's often a connection drawn to a present day situation by claims of reincarnation ("in this story, I [the buddha] was the king, the present-day monk Y was the deer, and the courtesan who tricked Y into disrobing was the man who tricked the deer into entering my palace," or "this action in an earlier life is why I now have back pain."), which I take to imply that the story is an allegory meant to apply to that kind of situation. They are basically ethical teachings. I have never heard of any practice based on them, though, and not all of the ones I've read make sense to me as allegories (and I'm pretty sure this interpretation is highly heterodox to traditionalists, who seem to take them literally.)
Mike Hodder, modified 7 Years ago.

RE: Anyone heard of the Jatakas?

Post: 1 Join Date: 7/23/13 Recent Posts
They're pious tales of past lives of the Buddha. They're not "canonical" (insert your own understanding of what this means here). They're didactical if you like them to be, fairy tales, otherwise. Traditional Buddhists of most stripes believe the Buddha couldn't have come to his realizations without the preparation of thousands and thousands of previous lifetimes in which to work off his kharmic burdens. The jatakas are just stories about some of those.

Better a late reply than a never made one, I suppose.
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Daniel M. Ingram, modified 7 Years ago.

RE: Anyone heard of the Jatakas?

Posts: 3167 Join Date: 4/20/09 Recent Posts
I have read a bunch of them and found them a lot of fun, and some of them show up in modern Buddhist mythology.

Enjoyable reading, good for reading to children.

Daniel