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Author Topic: [Q&A] Are the Jataka stories authentic or later additions? Are they missleading?  (Read 238 times)

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Online Johann

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In what timeframe was Jataka tales added to Kuddaka Nikaya?

Are the Jataka tales of the Pali Canon authentic words of the Buddha?

Are the 547 Jataka tales in Khuddaka Nikāya considered as authentic words of the Buddha? Were they compiled into the Canon in the first council itself (like most of the Sutta pitaka)? If not, in which council would have this been added?

When I look at the Jataka tales, there are some portions in verse form and the rest in prose. I was told that the prose is a commentary added later. However, much of the story evolves only through the prose portion. Is it documented anywhere in the Canon that those commentaries are based on an oral lineage of the stories passing down all the way from the Buddha?

I am trying to see whether the presence of certain characters and stories in the Jataka tales can be taken as a proof for them being known in that form in the time of the Buddha.

(Note that the original question on Bu-SE, on which the answer, found under the quotelink, already be changed by third person.)

Venerable members of the Sangha,
walking in front Fellows in leading the holly life.

 _/\_  _/\_  _/\_

In Respect of the Triple Gems, Buddha, Dhamma and Sangha, in Respect of the Elders of the community _/\_ , my person tries to answer this question. Please, may all knowledgeable Venerables and Dhammika, out of compassion, correct my person, if something is not correct and fill also graps, if something is missing.

Valued Upasaka, Upasika, Aramika(inis),
dear Readers and Visitors,


(This is a maybe modified and expanded answer of the "original" - which also could have been changed by third person - that can be found here . )

- Namo tassa bhagavato arahato sammā-sambuddhassa -

Homage to the Blessed One, the Worthy One, the Rightly Self-awakened One.

At one occation the "Bu-SE yogis" have assembled in the forum and talked about "Are the Jataka tales of the Pali Canon authentic words of the Buddha? In what timeframe was Jataka tales added to Kuddaka Nikaya?", histrory, bad and good guys a around it, and soon engaged in loud disputes. Then Johann entered and looked after what the matter was and thought "it would be better to talk on Dhamma or dwell in silence (2. Jhana), what would be good here to give or to avoid?" And then wrote:

 (Note, the stile here is to make it more alive and a teaching itself, no need to assume Johann as Buddha, Noble One or anything special at all. But you can use such idea to lift yourself and your awarness, if you like and find it useful)

Relating a little to the answer of Dhammadhuta here and it'spossible problems: both, to be and not to be, are no really useful question for the path. Why, because if pondering whether "is it?" or "is it not?" "was it?" "was it not?" "what will it be if it was?" "if it was not, where...?", all this questions that cause dukkha are not contuctive for getting beyound1 suffering and stress and one can continue them endless and each taking stand will cause another to fight it.

So maybe its better to ask:
  • 1. "How have the stories be used, for a good, such a long time?"
  • 2. "What do I not see for now, or overlook currently, that I see there conratictions? Which part did I not understand, so that it causes me doubt? Do I have proper attention?"

To regard the first: When reading the stories, and look also torward the situations they are told, the actors, their structure and the possible purpose (see also "Befriending the Suttas - Tips on Reading the Pali Discourses " in this manner, when starting with the stories situations when told by themselves, they mostly have been stories being told when the community of monks was assembled and allone with the Buddha, mostly the monks just involved in idle talk, or when issues in regard if Vinaya or special things happened.

When the minds awarness is currently in a very low stage, eager after papañca, its not possible to pull it into a sphere of Jhāna, and teach then things beyound the world. So the anchor here was always also very wordily, to use the situation, to give a lesson on moral, Vinaya, and mostly to increase faith, that the audiance will be urged on one hand: "if you do like them, you will face this" (saṃvega) and on the other hand faith (saddhā) or pasāda in this regard, that "even not really practising on the path now, my merits have been of that sort, that I am now able to teach you as a Buddha", aside of the many sacrifies done to gain such perfections. So they are mostly not really purposed - and in situations - when supramudane teaching would have been possible.

In regard of urging the monks, for certain purpose of stilling desire after wordily stories - like you mostly here have, TV, relatives... and certain interest in socializing, or in the way my person here presents an answer - similar to this, rendered not with to high teaching to keep the mind entertaint, and lift it to the most possible state, teaching there faith and precepts, the basics for the path.

Such teaching in stories, if either intended for idle purpose, to simply socialize for gains, or when meeting an audience that is only capable to use the food for entertaining the mind wrong, is of course fast and easy to use for currupt ways and for a bad.

Here again, the stories most have been told under the monks and in certain situations. Since a longer it was usual - especially because the targeted audience is/was, if after gain, naturally a greedy one and after low etertainment - to use them as simple medium for improper purposes, but that circumstances does not make themselves bad, useless, unreal or not conductive perse.

Every good teachers, focused exclusively on path and fruits to be gained by their disciples, past, now, later, will from time to time sit down with their disciples and tell "very human" stories.

My person, for example, likes to tell such a "Jataka" in relation of "when I was stil a Bodhisatta, not walking direct on the path", "Devas", and fatherday, within the next time maybe, to give a moral lesson and chances to increase faith (saddhā, sīla and certain amout of saṃvega) - somehow a combinatiom like in the cinema (action, horror and love) - for a good entertainment and purpose to increase the good qualities of mind, not to seek honor and look after audience for gains, but even "risking" that most will say "look at this crazy" and leave.

The secound question is this of encountering seemingly conflicts, more and lesser, which mostly is because we again have this "this is real, only this" desire, forgetting that the teaching is a step by step way and has not equanimity and or Nibbana at the beginn, in the middle and in the end as means, but that are they are results of seeing "now this is the front and that is the behind" and vici versa, and to know where our mind currently dwells, is attached with.

If we make all a matter of "not-self" not understanding that there are places where we need to multiplicate and places where we need to divide to get the task of de-velopement done, we/they are not only simply celebrate the Uposatha of the Jains , being just thieves, and by time cut us/them simply off the path, for long time.

On the other hand, if we use the Jatakas like those celerbrating the Uposatha of the cowherds, we/they might not shine radiant, but do at least not cut them off from the path entirely, even if simply after gain, and at least keep the cart, even without goods inside, alive.

If we use them like the elders and wise did, since they exist, for laypeople especilly and all those still need to increase moral and faith to gain path, than we simply use them for the Ariya-Uposatha purpose, take the moral, practice of the eight Silas minimum, while listening and rejoice in the dwelling, caused by the reflections, buddhānussati, ... devatānussati, turn our mind to where ever it is nice to dwell, or even use the teachings of a higher, when having reached this concentrations, and go beyound rebirth and their stories.

How ever, without the steps and their means, the higher can not be reached, and whether they have been true, the steps and means, you will know only for sure, if you could have reached the heavenly realms or even awakening. As for the last: it might be that you even again, do not really grasp after this question any more, but maybe just give them as means for others, to be able to clime up and beyound where you have already gone: beyond or in trust like the elders, did for now.

So having actually not been anywhere, it would be maybe not wise to cut away, and destroy by starving it, what you can not understand for notw, or not clear enough to understand the purpose before having done the task.

To give at the end a simily of Ajhan Chah:

Rubbing Fire Sticks

The practice is like a man rubbing fire sticks together. He's heard people say, "Take two pieces of bamboo and rub them together, and you'll get fire." So he takes two pieces of bamboo and rubs them together. But his heart is impatient. After rubbing them together a bit he wants there to be fire. His heart keeps pushing for the fire to come quickly, but the fire just won't come. He starts getting lazy, so he stops to rest. Then he tries rubbing the sticks together again for a little bit, and then stops to rest. Whatever warmth there was disappears, because the warmth isn't connected.

If he keeps acting like this, stopping whenever he gets tired — although just being tired isn't so bad: His laziness gets mixed in too, so the whole thing goes to pieces. He decides that there is no fire, he doesn't want fire after all, so he gives up. He stops. He won't rub the sticks anymore. Then he goes about announcing, "There is no fire. You can't get it this way. There is no fire. I've already tried."

With other words, even you might know how to make fire, being taught with stones, don't run around and say "Its not possible with stones" either because you have not tried or could not manage, or because you did not know that the master teached in other ways, to come to the path that consumes the fires and releases, as well.

Release is the aim, while how to make fire and the consume of it, are just needed and good means. Don't waste time with "it is real - it is not real", "be or not be" for phenomenas have causes, also the phenomena to see as it really is, and then the unbound remains.

And my person does not tell you - either because he does not know, or to provoke skillful speculations - who had been Gunavijaya, Hellyell, Dhamnadhatu and he at the Buddhas time. Tendencies and upanissāya are not easy to chance, since such reqires not only nissāyapaccaya but upanissāyapaccayena like for people, places, weather and prefered food. That being a teaching, that the Jatakas also transport, while the Suttas are for those who have more freedom to chance already accumulated.

And on that occation Johann said:

"Right decictions to chance ones foolish ways can be made every time, but the fool, attached to the food he is used since a child, does not taste what is not known to him but paised by the wise. Thinking having gone beyound already, they continue to take live, take what is not given, abuse and tell what isn't fact, oppose the wise and nourish on the poison of desire after gain. Again and again reappear in the world of pain. Those who tast gain release."

After that teaching 30 readers took refuge in the Buddha, in hiscommunity of monks and his Dhamma and became Faith-follower, 30 readers gained Streamentry and Gunavijaya rejoiced in the words and left.

(Note: This is a gift of Dhamma not meant for commercial purposes or other wordily gains.)
« Last Edit: June 16, 2017, 07:01:07 PM by Johann »
This post and Content has come to be by Dhamma-Dana and so is given as it       Dhamma-Dana: Johann

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Today at 12:03:14 AM
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March 17, 2018, 11:59:14 PM
Vandami, Bhante _/\_


March 17, 2018, 11:51:37 PM


March 16, 2018, 01:19:17 AM


March 15, 2018, 09:53:07 PM
 :-* ich wünschen allen einen verdienstvollen uposatha  :-*


March 14, 2018, 11:19:11 PM
Sounds like a good idea to rest. I will be taking a break from the internet for a while i feel detached a lot from the worldly feminisms and all. It is wonderful not to be lusting, walking the streets with lowered gaze, delighting in meditation... I fear it compromises me to even think about the pol


March 14, 2018, 11:10:27 PM


March 14, 2018, 10:58:38 PM
Marcel, Morits, Upasaka X, it's time to break up this auspicious coming in touch now also for my person. Observe, remember, how you have been yesterday an now and guess of what will be tomorrow probably... maybe just not sure.


March 14, 2018, 10:06:46 PM
Sadhu, _/\_

may Bhante have a peaceful day.

Chom reap sour.


March 14, 2018, 09:58:42 PM
 :-* :-* :-*


March 14, 2018, 09:55:00 PM
O yes... will be a long day, this yesterday, but possible a remorseless.


March 14, 2018, 09:46:45 PM
Vandami Bhante,
good evening (morning in Cambodia?).



March 14, 2018, 03:03:38 AM
Wie war es gestern? Wie geht es heute?

How was it yesterday? How are you today?


March 06, 2018, 02:24:03 PM
Nyom Jens.


March 05, 2018, 02:25:22 PM
 :-* erhwürdiger bhante johann  :-*


March 05, 2018, 02:17:57 PM
Nyom Marcel


March 01, 2018, 12:52:02 AM
Sadhu, eine des Magha-puja allen jenen die sie heute Begehen.


February 28, 2018, 09:48:58 PM
 :-* allen ein verdienstvollen uposatha tag :-*


February 24, 2018, 02:37:41 AM


February 24, 2018, 01:31:25 AM


February 24, 2018, 12:50:00 AM
Es ist sehr selten, ungewöhnlich und erfreulich, zur Mitfreude anregend, junge Menschen Kloster aufsuchend zu sehen.


February 23, 2018, 02:56:54 PM
Namasakara, Bhante _/\_


February 23, 2018, 04:04:45 AM


February 23, 2018, 02:16:16 AM
Nyom Danilo.
(Atma will leave for a while for his almsround.)


February 22, 2018, 10:08:41 PM
 :-* ehrwürdiger bhante johann, ja ich ahb die khmer tastatur installiert! ich werde in den nächsten tagen text teilen und berichten!  :-*


February 22, 2018, 12:34:06 PM
Hat Nyom Marcel schon eine Khmer Tastatur installiert?


February 22, 2018, 12:32:21 PM
So ist das. Wenn Nahrung aufgebraucht, dann ist da für eine Weile Ende, und Wiedergeboren, es wieder brennen wird. Zum endgültigen legen des Feuers sind wir hier, oder? Pfau ruft, Gecko balzt, alles in Ordnung, oder?


February 22, 2018, 12:16:35 PM
 :-* ehrwürdiger bhante johann, letzte nacht davon geträumt, dass es beim ashram brennt!!
ich hoffe, das feuer hat sich gelegt  :-*


February 22, 2018, 11:43:37 AM
Nyom Marcel.


February 22, 2018, 09:08:57 AM


February 22, 2018, 08:49:51 AM
Möge Regen kommen und alle beschützt werden


February 22, 2018, 01:59:08 AM


February 22, 2018, 01:04:19 AM
ich  wünsche einen verdienstvollen uposatha!! all jende für morgen auch einen hervorragenden uposatha!!!
 :-* :-* :-*


February 19, 2018, 06:00:04 PM
Much joy and releasing touches here, Nyom Chris, my person will leave for today, befor it becomes tomorrow, and rest a little.


February 14, 2018, 03:57:33 PM
Sadhu, auch jenen, die ihn morgen, auch Chinesisches Neujahrsfest, begehen, einhalten.


February 14, 2018, 01:37:51 PM
einen verdienstvollen uposatha allen!!!


February 10, 2018, 12:31:09 PM
Sadhu! Mag er fruchtvoll verlaufen sein. Gerade wieder Möglichkeit erhalten, in dieser Welt hier beizutragen.


February 08, 2018, 12:46:43 PM
 :-* :-* :-* ich wünsche allen einen verdienstvollen uposatha  :-* :-* :-*


February 05, 2018, 02:19:14 PM

 :-* :-* :-* sadhu,sadhu,sadhu

 :-* :-* :-*


February 02, 2018, 12:38:06 PM
Meinereiner ist so schnell ie noch nie genesen. Die Symptome des Befalls nur 2 Tage, und die üblichen 5 Tage um das Medikament zu überstehen. Atma ist gerade wohl auf und auch das ist wie für alle nicht sicher. Nutze den Tag heißt vorallem über Alter, Krankheit und Tod, wie Alternative z


January 31, 2018, 08:34:45 AM
 :-* :-* :-*
Möge sich Bhante wieder schnell vondem Malariaschub erholen!  :-* :-* :-*


January 24, 2018, 04:49:45 PM
Nyom Moritz


January 24, 2018, 04:48:30 PM
Namasakara, Bhante _/\_


January 24, 2018, 12:46:37 PM
 :-* ehrwürdiger bhante johann  :-*


January 24, 2018, 12:10:15 PM
Nyom Marcel.


January 24, 2018, 07:27:24 AM
Nyom Jens.


January 24, 2018, 05:39:37 AM
Nächste Woche ist ja schon Magha-puja, doch Ovāda-pāṭimokkha Gāthā ist ja etwas Zeitloses. Ajahn Lees Dhamma für Jedermann .


January 24, 2018, 12:41:03 AM
Namasakara Bhante _/\_

Einen verdienstvollen Uposatha allen.


January 23, 2018, 10:31:51 PM
 :-* natürlich auch ein verdienstvollen uposatha in allen anderren welten  :-*


January 23, 2018, 06:00:44 PM
 :-* einen verdienstvollen Uposatha wünsche ich allen in kambodscha  :-*

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