Jataka Tales of the Buddha: An Anthology, Volume IIIby Ken Kawasaki, Visakha Kawasaki, N.A.P.G. Dharmawardena
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Whereas Western intellectuals seek the essence of Buddhism in its doctrines and meditation practices, the traditional Buddhists of Asia absorb the ideas and values of their spiritual heritage through its rich narrative literature about the Buddha and his disciples. The most popular collection of Buddhist stories is, without doubt, the Jatakas. These are the stories of the Buddha's past births, relating his experiences as he passed from life to life on the way to becoming a Buddha. At times he takes the form of a bird, at times he is born as a hare, a monkey, a prince, a merchant, or an ascetic, but in each case he uses the challenges he meets to grow in generosity, virtue, patience, wisdom, and compassion. This anthology of Jatakas, ably told by Ken and Visakha Kawasaki, remains faithful to the original yet presents the stories in clear and simple language. It thereby makes the Jatakas accessible even to young readers and to those for whom English is not their first language.
I hope that this collection of
Jataka stories--entertaining, uplifting, absorbing, at times amusing, but always fascinating--will enable the modern reader to appreciate the impressive literary heritage of Buddhism and the simple beauty of its basic teachings.
Ven. Bhikkhu Bodhi
This volume, the last of three, contains 16 stories. The entire anthology contains 217 of the original 547 Jatakas. This is not a new translation from the Pali, but rather a retelling of the stories in modern English.
Many of the stories are simple fables, like that of a monkey king who outsmarts a ravenous yakkha, while others deal with merchants, farmers, officials, royalty, and devas.
Each story is accompanied by an elegantly simple line drawing that perfectly matches the Kawasakis' writing style.
rich and fascinating .... You might say that the suttas present morality in its purest and most ideal form while the Jatakas talk about the actual situation 'on the ground.' Just as importantly, they also illustrate many virtues and values not found in the suttas. And they often do all this with a sense of humor.
The Jataka Tales of the Buddha is an excellent resource
Meet the Author
Ken and Visakha Kawasaki are American Buddhists who have taught English for more tahn thirty years in many countries in Asia. Ever since they first discovered the Jatakas at Sanchi in India during a world tour, they have wanted to make these fascinating stories accessible to a wider audience.
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