Stories of the Buddha's former births
translated for Pali into English by
THE JĀTAKAM or Stories of the Buddha's former births. Translated from Pali by various hands under the editorship of Prof. E.B. Cowell.
The Jataka is a massive collection of Buddhist folklore about previous incarnations of the Buddha, both in human and animal form. Originally written in Pali, and dating to at least 380 BCE, the Jataka includes many stories which have traveled afar. Many of these can be traced cross-culturally in the folklore of many countries.
General informations and details in regard of the translations you may find in:
Even though the Jatakas are those stories which are most commonly used for teaching the laity in South East Asia, and they are also very helpful in educating with regard to Vinaya, they have not yet found essential meaning in the Western hemisphere. This may surely be related to the circumstance that the available translations do not very much confom to the state of “science” and also contain parts we would translate different today. The antiquated language in the texts in not everyone's cup of tea either. Nevertheless these texts should not stay so excluded as they are until now and are mentined in the Suttas as importand parts to know and learn as well. We hope that this collection here may perhaps serve also as a help and support for new translations and studies as well.
The Sutta Pitaka of the Pali Canon contains “only” the verses, which are contained in the respective stories (see the pale “§” signs). Even though this may deviate somewhat from the usual structure of the website here I have nevertheless decided to include the stories as well here in the Sutta Pitaka section, and not separted them off into the commentary section. This just did not seem practical, also in view of the large extent of the material, but it should nevertheless be mentioned and made known here.
The single stories as well as the directories are equipped with numerous links to the Pali original sources: See the notes.
Important to mention is certainly as well that the complete Jataka section on Zugang zur Einsicht is under construction, and therefore there are still some “dead” links, missing cross references and missing explanations. The German translation by Dr. Julius Dutoit was generously made available for ZzE by the Beyerlen & Steinschulte publishing house. For the English translations has been generously shared to contribute here on ZzE as a Dhamma-Gift by the “Pali Text Sociaty. Also especially for this section of ZzE, you are heartily invited at anytime to participate in the works, the integration and necessary additions. For more info here see: Cowork
Here a short legend to all the various links included in the index and content pages (above the page heading).
A directory of all the Jataka sections and chapters that also contains all the links in a list you can download for your works here in Excel format: Index Jataka references in Pali resources and Translations (English, German) (1,16 MB), Remark: This list is continously updated. Should you spot a mistake I am happy about reports.