The Influence of the Jatakas on Art and Literature

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Item Code: UBF479
Author: D.C. Ahir
Publisher: Buddhist World Press
Language: English
Edition: 2023
ISBN: 9789391985295
Pages: 98
Other Details 9.00 X 6.00 inch
Weight 250 gm
Book Description
About the Book
The Jataka, one of the books of Khuddaka Nikaya of the Pali Canon (Tripitaka), has in all 547 stories of the past lives of Gautama the Buddha. The Jataka stories, being full of wit and humour, worldly wisdom, moral lessons, and pious legends of semi-historical nature, were very helpful in popularising the Dhamma amongst the masses. As such, they were not only handed down orally from generation to generation but were also carved or painted on the walls of the Buddhist monuments. As in India, so also in other Buddhist countries, the Jataka stories decorate the temples.

This book presents for the first time a comprehensive survey of the influence of the Jatakas on art and literature in India, in South-East Asia, and in Europe. The study begins with the description of all the Jatakas found in sculpture or paintings in India. In the next chapter, Bhadant Anand Kausalyayan, who translated all the Jatakas from Pali to Hindi, shows how the Jataka stories are a literature for, and of the masses. The other aspects covered in this study are: Hymns in the Jatakas, Performing Arts, The Jataka Influence on the Literature of Indo-China, and The Influence of the Jatakas on European Literature, and The Jatakas and the Modern Buddhist.

About the Author
D.C. Ahir (born in Punjab, 1928) is a renowned Buddhist scholar who has made a very significant contribution to Indian History by unraveling the glorious past of Buddhism. He has more than twenty other published works on Buddhism to his credit. He has also published a number of articles in various Buddhist journals, and presented papers in National and International Buddhist Conferences/Seminars.

He retired as Director to the Government of India, Ministry of Surface Transport, in February, 1986, and since then is fully engaged in enriching literature.

The Jataka, 10th book in a collection of 15 independent books of Khuddaka Nikaya, the fifth Nikaya of Sutta Pitaka of the Pali Canon, has in all 547 Stories of Buddha's Past Lives as Bodhisatta. The Jataka stories show how the Bodhisatta Gautama brought into perfection the ten Paramitas or Exalted Virtues, namely, Dana- Giving, Sila Moral Purification, Nekkhamma - Renunciation, - Wisdom, Viriya - Effort, Khanti - Enduring Patience, Panna Sacca-Truthfulness, Adhitthana - Resolve, Metta - Universal Love, Upekkha - Equanimity, through life after life by taking birth as human being, and even in the sub-human realms, animals etc. Each Jataka tale opens with a preface called 'story of the present', which relates the particular circumstances in the Buddha's life which led him to tell the birth-story and thus reveal some event in His previous lives as a Bodhisatta. At the end, the Buddha invariably identifies the different actors in the story in their present birth.

As stories, the Jatakas are full of wit and humour, worldly wisdom, moral lessons, and pious legends of semi-historical nature. As such, when narrated to vast audience these stories had a telling effect and were very helpful in propagating the Dhamma amongst the masses. No wonder, the Jatakas were not only handed down orally from generation to generation but were also carved on the stone-walls of the Buddhist monuments. According to Maurice Winternitz, "The Jatakas are among the oldest motifs which were pictorially represented in India and even to-day they yield models for sculptors and painters in all Buddhist countries."

**Contents and Sample Pages**

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