The Introduction to the Jātaka Stories
Buddhist Birth Stories
Jātaka Tales

The oldest collection of folk-lore extant
being the

T. W. Rhys Davids

A revised edition by
Ānandajoti Bhikkhu
November, 2021





This is a reproduction of Rhys Davids’ Introductory Essay to the Jātaka Stories, as printed in his Buddhist Birth Stories, which was first published in 1880.

The original transcript for this work was produced at I have fully proofread the text and made a number of unmarked corrections to that transcript. I have made some small changes to the text also, so this cannot be taken as a verbatim transcript, and should not be quoted as such.

A revised edition of Rhys Davids’ translation of the Nidānakathā is also available as part of the complete Jātaka commentary translation, elsewhere on this website (

Ānandajoti Bhikkhu,
November, 2021

Introduction to the Jātaka Stories

It [i] is well known that amongst the Buddhist Scriptures there is one book in which a large number of old stories, fables, and fairy tales, lie enshrined in an edifying commentary; and have thus been preserved for the study and amusement of later times. How this came about is not at present quite certain. The belief of orthodox Buddhists on the subject is this. The Buddha, as occasion arose, was accustomed throughout his long career to explain and comment on the events happening around him, by telling of similar events that had occurred in his own previous births. The experience, not of one lifetime only, but of many lives, was always present to his mind; and it was this experience he so often used to point a moral, or adorn a tale. The stories so told are said to have been reverently learnt and repeated by his disciples; and immediately after his death 550 of them were gathered together in one collection, called the Book of the 550 Jātakas or Births; the commentary to which gives for each Jātaka, or Birth Story, an account of the event in Gotama’s life which led to his [ii] first telling that particular story. Both text and commentary were then handed down intact, and in the Pāli language in which they were composed, to the time of the Council of Patna (held in or about the year 250 B.C.); and they were carried in the following year to Ceylon by the great missionary Mahinda. There the commentary was translated into Sinhalese, the Aryan dialect spoken in Ceylon; and was re-translated into its present form in the Pāli language in the fifth century of our era. But the text of the Jātaka stories themselves has been throughout preserved in its original Pāli form.

Unfortunately this orthodox Buddhist belief as to the history of the Book of Birth Stories rests on a foundation of quicksand. The Buddhist belief, that most of their sacred books were in existence immediately after the Buddha’s death, is not only not supported, but is contradicted by the evidence of those books themselves. It may be necessary to state what that belief is, in order to show the importance which the Buddhists attach to the book; but in order to estimate the value we ourselves should give it, it will be necessary by critical, and more roundabout methods, to endeavour to arrive at some more reliable conclusion. Such an investigation cannot, it is true, be completed until the whole series of the Buddhist Birth Stories shall have become accessible in the original Pāli text, and the history of those stories [iii] shall have been traced in other sources. With the present inadequate information at our command, it is only possible to arrive at probabilities. But it is therefore the more fortunate that the course of the inquiry will lead to some highly interesting and instructive results.

In the first place, the fairy tales, parables, fables, riddles, and comic and moral stories, of which the Buddhist Collection – known as the Jātaka Book – consists, have been found, in many instances, to bear a striking resemblance to similar ones current in the West. Now in many instances this resemblance is simply due to the fact that the Western stories were borrowed from the Buddhist ones.

To this resemblance much of the interest excited by the Buddhist Birth Stories is, very naturally, due. As, therefore, the stories translated in the body of this volume do not happen to contain among them any of those most generally known in England, I insert here one or two specimens which may at the same time afford some amusement, and also enable the reader to judge how far the alleged resemblances do actually exist.

It is absolutely essential for the correctness of such judgment that the stories should be presented exactly as they stand in the original. I am aware that a close and literal translation involves the disadvantage of presenting [iv] the stories in a style which will probably seem strange, and even wooden, to the modern reader. But it cannot be admitted that, for even purposes of comparison, it would be sufficient to reproduce the stories in a modern form which should aim at combining substantial accuracy with a pleasing dress.

And the Book of Birth Stories has a value quite independent of the fact that many of its tales have been transplanted to the West. It contains a record of the every-day life, and every-day thought, of the people among whom the tales were told: it is the oldest, most complete, and most important Collection of Folk-lore extant.

The whole value of its evidence in this respect would be lost, if a translator, by slight additions in some places, slight omissions in others, and slight modifications here and there, should run the risk of conveying erroneous impressions of early Buddhist beliefs, and habits, and modes of thought. It is important, therefore, that the reader should understand, before reading the stories I intend to give, that while translating sentence by sentence, rather than word by word, I have never lost sight of the importance of retaining in the English version, as far as possible, not only the phraseology, but the style and spirit of the Buddhist story-teller.

The first specimen I propose to give is a half-moral half-comic story, which runs as follows. [v]

The Ass in the Lion’s Skin
Sīhacamma Jātaka
(Fausböll, No. 189)

Once upon a time, while Brahmadatta was reigning in Benāres, the future Buddha was born one of a peasant family; and when he grew up, he gained his living by tilling the ground.

At that time a hawker used to go from place to place, trafficking in goods carried by an ass. Now at each place he came to, when he took the pack down from the ass’s back, he used to clothe him in a lion’s skin, and turn him loose in the rice and barley-fields. And when the watchmen in the fields saw the ass, they dared not go near him, taking him for a lion.

So one day the hawker stopped in a village; and whilst he was getting his own breakfast cooked, he dressed the ass in a lion’s skin, and turned him loose in a barley-field. The watchmen in the field dared not go up to him; but going home, they published the news. Then all the villagers came out with weapons in their hands; and blowing chanks, and beating drums, they went near the field and shouted. Terrified with the fear of death, the ass uttered a cry – the cry of an ass!

Ana when he knew him then to be an ass, the future Buddha pronounced the First Stanza:

“This is not a lion’s roaring,
Nor a tiger’s, nor a panther’s;
Dressed in a lion’s skin,
’Tis a wretched ass that roars!” [vi]

But when the villagers knew the creature to be an ass, they beat him till his bones broke; and, carrying off the lion’s skin, went away. Then the hawker came; and seeing the ass fallen into so bad a plight, pronounced the Second Stanza:

“Long might the ass,
Clad in a lion’s skin,
Have fed on the barley green.
But he brayed!
And that moment he came to ruin.”

And even whilst he was yet speaking the ass died on the spot!

This story will doubtless sound familiar enough to English ears; for a similar tale is found in our modern collections of so-called ‘Æsop’s Fables.’ James’s ‘Æsop’s Fables’ (London, Murray, 1852), p. 111; La Fontaine, Book v. No. 21; Æsop (in Greek text, ed. Furia, 141, 262; ed. Coriæ, 113); Babrius (Lewis, vol. ii. p. 43). Professor Benfey has further traced it in mediæval French, German, Turkish, and Indian literature. Benfey’s Pantscha Tantra, Book iv., No. 7, in the note on which, at vol. i. p. 462, he refers to Halm, p. 333; Robert, in the ‘Fables inédites du Moyen Age’, i. p. 360; and the Turkish Tūtī-nāmah (Rosen, vol. ii. p. 149). In India it is found also in the Northern Buddhist Collection called Kathā Sarit Sāgara, by Somadeva; and in Hitopadesa (iii. 2, Max Müller, p. 110). But it may have been much older than any of these books; for the fable possibly gave rise to a proverb of which we find traces among the Greeks as early as the time of Plato. Kratylos, 411 (ed. Tauchnitz, ii. 275). Lucian gives the fable in full, localizing it [vii] at Kumē, in South Italy, Lucian, Piscator, 32. and Julien has given us a Chinese version in his ‘Avadānas.’ Vol. ii. No. 91. Erasmus, in his work on proverbs, ‘Adagia,’ under ‘Asinus apud Cumanos.’ alludes to the fable; and so also does our own Shakespeare in ‘King John.’ Act ii. scene 1; and again, Act iii. scene 1. It is worthy of mention that in one of the later story-books – in a Persian translation, that is, of the Hitopadesa – there is a version of our fable in which it is the vanity of the ass in trying to sing which leads to his disguise being discovered, and thus brings him to grief. De Sacy, ‘Notes et Extraits,’ x. 1, 247. But Professor Benfey has shown Loc. cit. p. 463. that this version is simply the rolling into one of the present tale and of another, also widely prevalent, where an ass by trying to sing earns for himself, not thanks, but blows. Pañca Tantra, v. 7. Prof. Weber (Indische Studien, iii. 352) compares Phædrus (Dressler, App. vi. 2) and Erasmus’s ‘Adagia’ under ‘Asinus ad Lyrum.’ See also Tūtī-nāmah (Rosen ii. 218); and I would add Varro, in Aulus Gellius, iii. 16; and Jerome, Ep. 27, ‘Ad Marcellam.’ I shall hereafter attempt to draw some conclusions from the history of the story. But I would here point out that the fable could scarcely have originated in any country in which lions were not common; and that the Jātaka story gives a reasonable explanation of the ass being dressed in the skin, instead of saying that he dressed himself in it, as is said in our ‘Æsop’s Fables.’

The reader will notice that the ‘moral’ of the tale [viii] is contained in two stanzas, one of which is put into the mouth of the Bodhisatta or future Buddha. This will be found to be the case in all the Birth Stories, save that the number of the stanzas differs, and that they are usually all spoken by the Bodhisatta. It should also be noticed that the identification of the peasant’s son with the Bodhisatta, which is of so little importance to the story, is the only part of it which is essentially Buddhistic. Both these points will be of importance further on.

The introduction of the human element takes this story, perhaps, out of the class of fables in the most exact sense of that word. I therefore add a story containing a fable proper, where animals speak and act like men.

The Talkative Tortoise
Kacchapa Jātaka
(Fausböll, No. 215)

Once upon a time, when Brahmadatta was reigning in Benāres, the future Buddha was born in a minister’s family; and when he grew up, he became the king’s adviser in things temporal and spiritual.

Now this king was very talkative: while he was speaking, others had no opportunity for a word. And the future Buddha, wanting to cure this talkativeness of his, was constantly seeking for some means of doing so. [ix]

At that time there was living, in a pond in the Himālaya mountains, a tortoise. Two young haṁsas (i.e. wild ducks Pronounced hangsa, often rendered swan, a favourite bird in Indian tales, and constantly represented in Buddhist carvings. It is the original Golden Goose. See below, p. 294, and Jātaka No. 136.) who came to feed there, made friends with him. And one day, when they had become very intimate with him, they said to the tortoise –

“Friend tortoise! the place where we live, at the Golden Cave on Mount Beautiful in the Himālaya country, is a delightful spot. Will you come there with us?”

“But how can I get there?”

“We can take you, if you can only hold your tongue, and will say nothing to anybody.” There is an old story of a Fellow of Magdalen College, Oxford, who inherited a family living. He went in great trouble to Dr. Routh, the Head of his College, saying that he doubted whether he could hold, at the same time, the Living and the Fellowship. “You can hold anything,” was the reply, “if you can only hold your tongue.” And he held all three.

“O! that I can do. Take me with you.”

“That’s right,” said they. And making the tortoise bite hold of a stick, they themselves took the two ends in their teeth, and flew up into the air. In the Vinīla Jātaka (No. 160) they similarly carry a crow to the Himālaya mountains.

Seeing him thus carried by the haṁsas, some villagers called out, “Two wild ducks are carrying a tortoise along on a stick!” Whereupon the tortoise wanted to say, “If my friends choose to carry me, what is that to you, you wretched slaves!” So just as the swift flight of the wild ducks had brought him over the king’s palace in the city of Benāres, he let go of the stick he was biting, and falling in the open courtyard, split in two! And there arose a universal cry, “A tortoise has fallen in the open courtyard, and has split in two!” [x]

The king, taking the future Buddha, went to the place, surrounded by his courtiers; and looking at the tortoise, he asked the Bodhisatta, “Teacher! how comes he to be fallen here?”

The future Buddha thought to himself, “Long expecting, wishing to admonish the king, have I sought for some means of doing so. This tortoise must have made friends with the wild ducks; and they must have made him bite hold of the stick, and have flown up into the air to take him to the hills. But he, being unable to hold his tongue when he hears any one else talk, must have wanted to say something, and let go the stick; and so must have fallen down from the sky, and thus lost his life.” And saying, “Truly, O king! those who are called chatter-boxes – people whose words have no end – come to grief like this,” he uttered these Verses:

“Verily the tortoise killed himself
Whilst uttering his voice;
Though he was holding tight the stick,
By a word himself he slew.

“Behold him then, O excellent by strength!
And speak wise words, not out of season.
You see how, by his talking overmuch,
The tortoise fell into this wretched plight!”

The king saw that he was himself referred to, and said, “O Teacher! are you speaking of us?”

And the Bodhisatta spake openly, and said, “O great king! be it thou, or be it any other, whoever talks beyond measure meets with some mishap like this.”

And the king henceforth refrained himself, and became a man of few words. [xi]

This story too is found also in Greek, Latin, Arabic, Persian, and in most European languages, Pantscha Tantra, vol. i. p. 13, where Professor Benfey (i. 239-241) traces also the later versions in different languages. He mentions Wolff’s German translation of the Kalilah and Dimnah, vol. i. p. 91; Knatchbull’s English version, p. 146; Simeon Seth’s Greek version, p. 28; John of Capua’s Directorium Humanæ Vitæ, D. 5 b.; the German translation of this last (Ulm, 1483), F. viii. 6; the Spanish translation, xix a.; Firenzuola, 65; Doni, 93; Anvār i Suhaili, p. 159; Le Livre des Lumières (1664, 8vo.), 124; Le Cabinet des Fées, xvii. 309. See also Contes et Fables Indiennes de Bidpai et de Lokman, ii. 112; La Fontaine, x. 3, where the ducks fly to America (!); and Bickell’s ‘Kalilag und Dimnag,’ p. 24. In India it is found in Somadeva, and in the Hitopadesa, iv. 2 (Max Müller, p. 125). See also Julien, i. 71. though, strangely enough, it does not occur in our books of Æsop’s Fables. But in the ‘Æsop’s Fables’ is usually included a story of a tortoise who asked an eagle to teach him to fly; and being dropped, split into two! This version is found in Babrius (Lewis, i. 122); Phædrus, ii. 7 and vii. 14 (Orelli, 55, 128); and in the Æsopæan collections (Fur. 193; Coriæ, 61) and in Abstemius, 108. It is worthy of notice that in the Southern recension of the Pañca Tantra it is eagles, and not wild ducks or swans, who carry the tortoise; Dubois, p. 109. and there can, I think, be little doubt that the two fables are historically connected.

Another fable, very familiar to modern readers, is stated in the commentary to have been first related in ridicule of a kind of Mutual Admiration Society existing among the opponents of the Buddha. Hearing the monks talking about the foolish way in which Devadatta and Kokālika went about among the people ascribing each to the other virtues which neither possessed, he is said to have told this tale. [xii]

The Jackal and the Crow
Jambukhādaka Jātaka
(Fausböll, No. 294)

Long, long ago, when Brahmadatta was reigning in Benāres, the Bodhisatta had come to life as a tree-god, dwelling in a certain grove of Jambu-trees.

Now a crow was sitting there one day on the branch of a Jambu-tree, eating the Jambu-fruits, when a jackal coming by, looked up and saw him.

“Ha!” thought he. “I’ll flatter that fellow, and get some of those Jambus to eat.” And thereupon he uttered this verse in his praise:

“Who may this be, whose rich and pleasant notes
Proclaim him best of all the singing-birds?
Warbling so sweetly on the Jambu-branch,
Where like a peacock he sits firm and grand!”

Then the crow, to pay him back his compliments, replied in this second verse:

“ ’Tis a well-bred young gentleman, who understands
To speak of gentlemen in terms polite!
Good Sir! – whose shape and glossy coat reveal
The tiger’s offspring – eat of these, I pray!”

And so saying, he shook the branch of the Jambu-tree till he made the fruit to fall.

But when the god who dwelt in that tree saw the two of them, now they had done flattering one another, eating the Jambus together, he uttered a third verse: [xiii]

“Too long, forsooth, I’ve borne the sight
Of these poor chatterers of lies –
The refuse-eater and the offal-eater
Belauding each other!”

And making himself visible in awful shape, he frightened them away from the place!

It is easy to understand, that when this story had been carried out of those countries where the crow and the jackal are the common scavengers, it would lose its point; and it may very well, therefore, have been shortened into the fable of the Fox and the Crow and the piece of cheese. On the other hand, the latter is so complete and excellent a story, that it would scarcely have been expanded, if it had been the original, into the tale of the Jackal and the Crow. See La Fontaine, Book i. No. 2, and the current collections of Æsop’s Fables (e.g. James’s edition, p. 136). It should be added that the Jambu-khādaka-saṁyutta in the Saṁyutta Nikāya has nothing to do with our fable. The Jambu-eater of that story is an ascetic, who lives on Jambus, and is converted by a discussion on Nirvāna.

The next tale to be quoted is one showing how a wise man solves a difficulty. I am sorry that Mr. Fausböll has not yet reached this Jātaka in his edition of the Pāli text; but I give it from a Sinhalese version of the fourteenth century, which is nearer to the Pāli than any other as yet known. The Sinhalese text will be found in the ‘Sidat Saṅgarāwa,’ p. clxxvii. It is an episode in [xiv]

The Birth as ‘Great Physician’ Literally ‘the great medicine.’ The Bodhisatta of that time received this name because he was born with a powerful drug in his hand, – an omen of the cleverness in device by which, when he grew up, he delivered people from their misfortunes. Compare my ‘Buddhism,’ p. 187.
Mahosadha Jātaka

A woman, carrying her child, went to the future Buddha’s tank to wash. And having first bathed the child, she put on her upper garment and descended into the water to bathe herself.

Then a Yakkhinī, The Yakkhas, products of witchcraft and cannibalism, are beings of magical power, who feed on human flesh. The male Yakkha occupies in Buddhist stories a position similar to that of the wicked genius in the Arabian Nights; the female Yakkhinī, who occurs more frequently, usually plays the part of siren. seeing the child, had a craving to eat it. And taking the form of a woman, she drew near, and asked the mother –

“Friend, this is a very pretty child, is it one of yours?”

And when she was told it was, she asked if she might nurse it. And this being allowed, she nursed it a little, and then carried it off.

But when the mother saw this, she ran after her, and cried out, “Where are you taking my child to?” and caught hold of her.

The Yakkhinī boldly said, “Where did you get the child from? It is mine!” And so quarrelling, they passed the door of the future Buddha’s Judgment Hall.

He heard the noise, sent for them, inquired into the matter, and asked them whether they would abide by his [xv] decision. And they agreed. Then he had a line drawn on the ground; and told the Yakkhinī to take hold of the child’s arms, and the mother to take hold of its legs; and said, “The child shall be hers who drags him over the line.”

But as soon as they pulled at him, the mother, seeing how he suffered, grieved as if her heart would break. And letting him go, she stood there weeping.

Then the future Buddha asked the bystanders, “Whose hearts are tender to babes? those who have borne children, or those who have not?”

And they answered, “O Sire! the hearts of mothers are tender.”

Then he said, “Whom think you is the mother? she who has the child in her arms, or she who has let go?”

And they answered, “She who has let go is the mother.”

And he said, “Then do you all think that the other was the thief?”

And they answered, “Sire! we cannot tell.”

And he said, “Verily this is a Yakkhinī, who took the child to eat it.”

And they asked, “O Sire! how did you know it?”

And he replied, “Because her eyes winked not, and were red, and she knew no fear, and had no pity, I knew it.”

And so saying, he demanded of the thief, “Who are you?”

And she said, “Lord! I am a Yakkhinī.”

And he asked, “Why did you take away this child?”

And she said, “I thought to eat him, O my Lord!”

And he rebuked her, saying, “O foolish woman! For your former sins you have been born a Yakkhinī, and now [xvi] do you still sin” And he laid a vow upon her to keep the Five Commandments, and let her go.

But the mother of the child exalted the future Buddha, and said, “O my Lord! O Great Physician! may thy life be long!” And she went away, with her babe clasped to her bosom.

The Hebrew story, in which a similar judgment is ascribed to Solomon, occurs in the Book of Kings, which is more than a century older than the time of Gotama. We shall consider below what may be the connexion between the two.

The next specimen is a tale about lifeless things endowed with miraculous powers; perhaps the oldest tale in the world of that kind which has been yet published. It is an episode in

Sakka’s Presents
Dadhivāhana Jātaka
(Fausböll, No. 186)

Once upon a time, when Brahmadatta was reigning in Benāres, four brothers, Brāhmans, of that kingdom, devoted themselves to an ascetic life; and having built themselves huts at equal distances in the region of the Himālaya mountains, took up their residence there. [xvii]

The eldest of them died, and was reborn as the god Sakka. Not quite the same as Jupiter. Sakka is a very harmless and gentle kind of a god, not a jealous god, nor given to lasciviousness or spite. Neither is he immortal: he dies from time to time; and, if he has behaved well, is reborn under happy conditions. Meanwhile somebody else, usually one of the sons of men who has deserved it, succeeds, for a hundred thousand years or so, to his name and place and glory. Sakka can call to mind his experiences in his former birth, a gift in which he surpasses most other beings. He was also given to a kind of practical joking, by which he tempted people, and has become a mere beneficent fairy. When he became aware of this, he used to go and render help at intervals every seven or eight days to the others. And one day, having greeted the eldest hermit, and sat down beside him, he asked him, “Reverend Sir, what are you in need of?”

The hermit, who suffered from jaundice, answered, “I want fire!” So he gave him a double-edged hatchet.

But the hermit said, “Who is to take this, and bring me firewood?”

Then Sakka spake thus to him, “Whenever, reverend Sir, you want firewood, you should let go the hatchet from your hand, and say, ‘Please fetch me firewood: make me fire!’ And it will do so.”

So he gave him the hatchet; and went to the second hermit, and asked, “Reverend Sir, what are you in need of?”

Now the elephants had made a track for themselves close to his hut. And he was annoyed by those elephants, and said, “I am much troubled by elephants; drive them away.”

Sakka, handing him a drum, said, “Reverend Sir, if you strike on this side of it, your enemies will take to flight; but if you strike on this side, they will become friendly, and surround you on all sides with an army in fourfold array.” That is, infantry, cavalry, chariots of war, and elephants of war. Truly a useful kind of present to give to a pious hermit! [xviii]

So he gave him the drum; and went to the third hermit, and asked, “Reverend Sir, what are you in need of?”

He was also affected with jaundice, and said, therefore, “I want sour milk.”

Sakka gave him a milk-bowl, and said, “If you wish for anything, and turn this bowl over, it will become a great river, and pour out such a torrent, that it will be able to take a kingdom, and give it to you.”

And Sakka went away. But thenceforward the hatchet made fire for the eldest hermit; when the second struck one side of his drum, the elephants ran away; and the third enjoyed his curds.

Now at that time a wild boar, straying in a forsaken village, saw a gem of magical power. When he seized this in his mouth, he rose by its magic into the air, and went to an island in the midst of the ocean. And thinking, “Here now I ought to live,” he descended, and took up his abode in a convenient spot under an Udumbara-tree. And one day, placing the gem before him, he fell asleep at the foot of the tree.

Now a certain man of the Land of Kāsi had been expelled from home by his parents, who said, “This fellow is of no use to us.” So he went to a seaport, and embarked in a ship as a servant to the sailors. And the ship was wrecked; but by the help of a plank he reached that very island. And while he was looking about for fruits, he saw the boar asleep; and going softly up, he took hold of the gem.

Then by its magical power he straightway rose right up into the air! So, taking a seat on the Udumbara-tree, he said to himself, “Methinks this boar must have become [xix] a sky-walker through the magic power of this gem. That’s how he got to be living here! It’s plain enough what I ought to do; I’ll first of all kill and eat him, and then I can get away!”

So he broke a twig off the tree, and dropped it on his head. The boar woke up, and not seeing the gem, ran about, trembling, this way and that way. The man seated on the tree laughed. The boar, looking up, saw him, and dashing his head against the tree, died on the spot.

But the man descended, cooked his flesh, ate it, and rose into the air. And as he was passing along the summit of the Himālaya range, he saw a hermitage; and descending at the hut of the eldest hermit, he stayed there two or three days, and waited on the hermit; and thus became aware of the magic power of the hatchet.

“I must get that,” thought he. And he showed the hermit the magic power of his gem, and said, “Sir, do you take this, and give me your hatchet.” The ascetic, full of longing to be able to fly through the air, The power of going through the air is usually considered in Indian legends to be the result, and a proof, of great holiness and long-continued penance. So the hermit thought he would get a fine reputation cheaply. did so. But the man, taking the hatchet, went a little way off, and letting it go, said, “O hatchet! cut off that hermit’s head, and bring the gem to me!” And it went, and cut off the hermit’s head, and brought him the gem.

Then he put the hatchet in a secret place, and went to the second hermit, and stayed there a few days. And having thus become aware of the magic power of the drum, he exchanged the gem for the drum; and cut off his head too in the same way as before. [xx]

Then he went to the third hermit, and saw the magic power of the milk-bowl; and exchanging the gem for it, caused his head to be cut off in the same manner. And taking the Gem, and the Hatchet, and the Drum, and the Milk-bowl, he flew away up into the air.

Not far from the city of Benāres he stopped, and sent by the hand of a man a letter to the king of Benāres to this effect, “Either do battle, or give me up your kingdom!”

No sooner had he heard that message, than the king sallied forth, saying, “Let us catch the scoundrel!”

But the man beat one side of his drum, and a fourfold army stood around him! And directly he saw that the king’s army was drawn out in battle array, he poured out his milk-bowl; and a mighty river arose, and the multitude, sinking down in it, were not able to escape! Then letting go the hatchet, he said, “Bring me the king’s head!” And the hatchet went, and brought the king’s head, and threw it at his feet; and no one had time even to raise a weapon!

Then he entered the city in the midst of his great army, and caused himself to be anointed king, under the name of Dadhivāhana (The Lord of Milk), and governed the kingdom with righteousness. Compare Mahā-bhārata, xii. 1796.

The story goes on to relate how the king planted a wonderful mango, how the sweetness of its fruit turned to sourness through the too-close proximity of bitter [xxi] herbs, (!) and how the Bodhisatta, then the king’s minister, pointed out that evil communications corrupt good things. But it is the portion above translated which deserves notice as the most ancient example known of those tales in which inanimate objects are endowed with magical powers; and in which the Seven League Boots, or the Wishing Cup, or the Vanishing Hat, or the Wonderful Lamp, render their fortunate possessors happy and glorious. There is a very tragical story of a Wishing Cup in the Buddhist Collection, Fausböll, No. 291. where the Wishing Cup, however, is turned into ridicule. It is not unpleasant to find that beliefs akin to, and perhaps the result of, fetish-worship, had faded away, among Buddhist story-tellers, into sources of innocent amusement.

In this curious tale the Hatchet, the Drum, and the Milk-bowl are endowed with qualities much more fit for the use they were put to in the latter part of the story, than to satisfy the wants of the hermits. It is common ground with satirists how little, save sorrow, men would gain if they could have anything they chose to ask for. But, unlike the others we have quoted, the tale in its present shape has a flavour distinctively Buddhist in the irreverent way in which it treats the great god Sakka, the Jupiter of the pre-Buddhistic Hindus. It takes for granted, too, that the hero ruled in righteousness [xxii]; and this is as common in the Jātakas, as the ‘lived happily ever after’ of modern love stories.

This last idea recurs more strongly in the Birth Story called

A Lesson for Kings
Rājovāda Jātaka
(Fausböll, No. 151)

Once upon a time, when Brahmadatta was reigning in Benāres, the future Buddha returned to life in the womb of his chief queen; and after the conception ceremony had been performed, he was safely born. And when the day came for choosing a name, they called him Prince Brahmadatta. He grew up in due course; and when he was sixteen years old, went to Takkasilā, This is the well-known town in the Panjāb called by the Greeks Taxila, and famed in Buddhist legend as the great university of ancient India, as Nālanda was in later times. and became accomplished in all arts. And after his father died he ascended the throne, and ruled the kingdom with righteousness and equity. He gave judgments without partiality, hatred, ignorance, or fear. Literally “without partiality and the rest,” that is, the rest of the agatis, the actions forbidden to judges (and to kings as judges). Since he thus reigned with justice, with justice also his ministers administered the law. Lawsuits being thus decided with justice, there were none who brought false cases. And as these ceased, the noise and tumult of litigation ceased in the king’s court. Though the judges sat all day in [xxiii] the court, they had to leave without any one coming for justice. It came to this, that the Hall of Justice would have to be closed!

Then the future Buddha thought, “From my reigning with righteousness there are none who come for judgment; the bustle has ceased, and the Hall of Justice will have to be closed. It behoves me, therefore, now to examine into my own faults; and if I find that anything is wrong in me, to put that away, and practise only virtue.”

Thenceforth he sought for some one to tell him his faults; but among those around him he found no one who would tell him of any fault, but heard only his own praise.

Then he thought, “It is from fear of me that these men speak only good things, and not evil things,” and he sought among those people who lived outside the palace. And finding no fault-finder there, he sought among those who lived outside the city, in the suburbs, at the four gates. The gates opening towards the four “directions,” that is, the four cardinal points of the compass. And there too finding no one to find fault, and hearing only his own praise, he determined to search the country places.

So he made over the kingdom to his ministers, and mounted his chariot; and taking only his charioteer, left the city in disguise. And searching the country through, up to the very boundary, he found no fault-finder, and heard only of his own virtue; and so he turned back from the outermost boundary, and returned by the high road towards the city.

Now at that time the king of Kosala, Mallika by name, [xxiv] was also ruling his kingdom with righteousness; and when seeking for some fault in himself, he also found no fault-finder in the palace, but only heard of his own virtue! So seeking in country places, he too came to that very spot. And these two came face to face in a low cart-track with precipitous sides, where there was no space for a chariot to get out of the way!

Then the charioteer of Mallika the king said to the charioteer of the king of Benāres, “Take thy chariot out of the way!”

But he said, “Take thy chariot out of the way, O charioteer! In this chariot sitteth the lord over the kingdom of Benāres, the great king Brahmadatta.”

Yet the other replied, “In this chariot, O charioteer, sitteth the lord over the kingdom of Kosala, the great king Mallika. Take thy carriage out of the way, and make room for the chariot of our king!”

Then the charioteer of the king of Benāres thought, “They say then that he too is a king! What is now to be done?” After some consideration, he said to himself, “I know a way. I’ll find out how old he is, and then I’ll let the chariot of the younger be got out of the way, and so make room for the elder.”

And when he had arrived at that conclusion, he asked that charioteer what the age of the king of Kosala was. But on inquiry he found that the ages of both were equal. Then he inquired about the extent of his kingdom, and about his army, and his wealth, and his renown, and about the country he lived in, and his caste and tribe and family. And he found that both were lords of a kingdom three hundred leagues in extent; and that in respect of army and wealth and renown, and the countries in which [xxv] they lived, and their caste and their tribe and their family, they were just on a par!

Then he thought, “I will make way for the most righteous.” And he asked, “What kind of righteousness has this king of yours?”

And the other saying, “Such and such is our king’s righteousness,” and so proclaiming his king’s wickedness as goodness, uttered the First Stanza:

The strong he overthrows by strength,
The mild by mildness, does Mallika;
The good he conquers by goodness,
And the wicked by wickedness too.
Such is the nature of this king!
Move out of the way, O charioteer!

But the charioteer of the king of Benāres asked him, “Well, have you told all the virtues of your king?”

“Yes,” said the other.

“If these are his virtues, where are then his faults?” replied he.

The other said, “Well, for the nonce, they shall be faults, if you like! But pray, then, what is the kind of goodness your king has?”

And then the charioteer of the king of Benāres called unto him to hearken, and uttered the Second Stanza:

Anger he conquers by calmness,
And by goodness the wicked;
The stingy he conquers by gifts,
And by truth the speaker of lies.
Such is the nature of this king!
Move out of the way, O charioteer!”

And when he had thus spoken, both Mallika, the king [xxvi] and his charioteer alighted from their chariot. And they took out the horses, and removed their chariot, and made way for the king of Benāres!

But the king of Benāres exhorted Mallika the king, saying, “Thus and thus is it right to do.” And returning to Benāres, he practised charity, and did other good deeds, and so when his life was ended he passed away to heaven.

And Mallika the king took his exhortation to heart; and having in vain searched the country through for a fault-finder, he too returned to his own city, and practised charity and other good deeds; and so at the end of his life he went to heaven.

The mixture in this Jātaka of earnestness with dry humour is very instructive. The exaggeration in the earlier part of the story; the hint that law depends in reality on false cases; the suggestion that to decide cases justly would by itself put an end, not only to ‘the block in the law courts,’ but even to all lawsuits; the way in which it is brought about that two mighty kings should meet, unattended, in a narrow lane; the cleverness of the first charioteer in getting out of his difficulties; the brand-new method of settling the delicate question of precedence – a method which, logically carried out, would destroy the necessity of such questions being raised at all; – all this is the amusing side of the [xxvii] Jātaka. It throws, and is meant to throw, an air of unreality over the story; and it is none the less humour because it is left to be inferred, because it is only an aroma which might easily escape unnoticed, only the humour of naïve absurdity and of clever repartee.

But none the less also is the story-teller thoroughly in earnest; he really means that justice is noble, that to conquer evil by good is the right thing, and that goodness is the true measure of greatness. The object is edification also, and not amusement only. The lesson itself is quite Buddhistic. The first four lines of the Second Moral are indeed included, as verse 223, in the Dhammapada or ‘Scripture Verses,’ perhaps the most sacred and most widely-read book of the Buddhist Bible; and the distinction between the two ideals of virtue is in harmony with all Buddhist ethics. It is by no means, however, exclusively Buddhistic. It gives expression to an idea that would be consistent with most of the later religions; and is found also in the great Hindu Epic, the Mahā Bhārata, which has been called the Bible of the Hindus. Mahā Bhārata, v. 1518. Another passage at iii. 13253 is very similar. It is true that further on in the same poem is found the opposite sentiment, attributed in our story to the king of Mallika; Mahā Bhārata, xii. 4052. See Dr. Muir’s “Metrical Translations from Sanskrit Writers” (1879), pp. xxxi, 88, 275, 356. and that the higher teaching is in one of the latest portions of the Mahā Bhārata, and [xxviii] probably of Buddhist origin. But when we find that the Buddhist principle of overcoming evil by good was received, as well as its opposite, into the Hindu poem, it is clear that this lofty doctrine was by no means repugnant to the best among the Brāhmans. Similar passages will also be found in Lao Tse, Douglas’s Confucianism, etc., p. 197; Pañca Tantra, i. 247 (277) = iv. 72; in Stobæus, quoted by Muir, p. 356; and in St. Matthew, v. 44-46; whereas the Mallika doctrine is inculcated by Confucius (Legge, Chinese Classics, i. 152).

It is to be regretted that some writers on Buddhism have been led away by their just admiration for the noble teaching of Gotama into an unjust depreciation of the religious system of which his own was, after all, but the highest product and result. There were doubtless among the Brāhmans uncompromising advocates of the worst privileges of caste, of the most debasing belief in the efficacy of rites and ceremonies; but this verse is only one among many others which are incontestable evidence of the wide prevalence also of a spirit of justice, and of an earnest seeking after truth. It is, in fact, inaccurate to draw any hard-and-fast line between the Indian Buddhists and their countrymen of other faiths. After the first glow of the Buddhist reformation had passed away, there was probably as little difference between Buddhist and Hindu as there was between the two kings in the story which has just been told.

The Kalilag and Damnag Literature

[xxix] Among the other points of similarity between Buddhists and Hindus, there is one which deserves more especial mention here, – that of their liking for the kind of moral-comic tales which form the bulk of the Buddhist Birth Stories. That this partiality was by no means confined to the Buddhists is apparent from the fact that books of such tales have been amongst the most favourite literature of the Hindus. And this is the more interesting to us, as it is these Hindu collections that have most nearly preserved the form in which many of the Indian stories have been carried to the West.

The oldest of the collections now extant is the one already referred to, the PAÑCA TANTRA, that is, the ‘Five Books,’ a kind of Hindu ‘Pentateuch’ or ‘Pentamerone.’ In its earliest form this work is unfortunately no longer extant; but in the sixth century of our era a book very much like it formed part of a work translated into Pahlavi, or Ancient Persian; and thence, about 750 A.D., into Syriac, under the title of ‘KALILAG AND DAMNAG,’ and into Arabic under the title ‘KALILAH AND DIMNAH.’ The names are corruptions of the Indian names of the two jackals, Karatak and Damanak, who take a principal part in the first of the fables. [xxx]

These tales, though originally Buddhist, became great favourites among the Arabs; and as the Arabs were gradually brought into contact with Europeans, and penetrated into the South of Europe, they brought the stories with them; and we soon afterwards find them translated into Western tongues. It would be impossible within the limits of this preface to set out in full detail the intricate literary history involved in this statement; and while I must refer the student to the Tables appended to this Introduction for fuller information, I can only give here a short summary of the principal facts.

It is curious to notice that it was the Jews to whom we owe the earliest versions. Whilst their mercantile pursuits took them much amongst the followers of the Prophet, and the comparative nearness of their religious beliefs led to a freer intercourse than was usually possible between Christians and Moslems, they were naturally attracted by a kind of literature such as this – Oriental in morality, amusing in style, and perfectly free from Christian legend and from Christian dogma. It was also the kind of literature which travellers would most easily become acquainted with, and we need not therefore be surprised to hear that a Jew, named Symeon Seth, about 1080 A.D., made the first translation into a European language, viz. into modern Greek. Another [xxxi] Jew, about 1250, made a translation of a slightly different recension of the ‘Kalilah and Dimnah’ into Hebrew; and a third, John of Capua, turned this Hebrew version into Latin between 1263 and 1278. At about the same time as the Hebrew version, another was made direct from the Arabic into Spanish, and a fifth into Latin; and from these five versions translations were afterwards made into German, Italian, French, and English.

The title of the second Latin version just mentioned is very striking – it is “Æsop the Old.” To the translator, Baldo, it evidently seemed quite in order to ascribe these new stories to the traditional teller of similar stories in ancient times; just as witty sayings of more modern times have been collected into books ascribed to the once venerable Joe Miller. Baldo was neither sufficiently enlightened to consider a good story the worse for being an old one, nor sufficiently scrupulous to hesitate at giving his new book the advantage it would gain from its connexion with a well-known name.

Is it true, then, that the so-called Æsop’s Fables – so popular still, in spite of many rivals, among our Western children – are merely adaptations from tales invented long ago to please and to instruct the childlike people of the East? I think I can give an answer, though not a complete answer, to the question. [xxxii]

Æsop himself is several times mentioned in classical literature, and always as the teller of stories or fables. Thus Plato says that Socrates in his imprisonment occupied himself by turning the stories (literally myths) of Æsop into verse: Phædo, p. 61. Comp. Bentley, Dissertation on the Fables of Æsop, p. 136. Aristophanes four times refers to his tales: Vespæ, 566, 1259, 1401, and foll.; and Aves, 651 and foll. and Aristotle quotes in one form a fable of his, which Lucian quotes in another. Arist. de part. anim., iii. 2; Lucian Nigr., 32. In accordance with these references, classical historians fix the date of Æsop in the sixth century B.C.; Herodotus (ii. 134) makes him contemporary with King Amasis of Egypt, the beginning of whose reign is placed in 569 B.C.; Plutarch (Sept. Sap. Conv., 152) makes him contemporary with Solon, who is reputed to have been born in 638 B.C.; and Diogenes Laertius (i. 72) says that he flourished about the fifty-second Olympiad, i.e. 572-569 B.C. Compare Clinton, Fast. Hell. i. 237 (under the year B.C. 572) and i. 239 (under B.C. 534). but some modern critics, relying on the vagueness and inconsistency of the traditions, have denied his existence altogether. This is, perhaps, pushing scepticism too far; but it may be admitted that he left no written works, and it is quite certain that if he did, they have been irretrievably lost.

Notwithstanding this, a learned monk of Constantinople, named PLANUDES, and the author also of numerous other works, did not hesitate, in the first half of the fourteenth century, to write a work which he called a collection of Æsop’s Fables. This was first printed at Milan at the end of the fifteenth century; [xxxiii] and two other supplementary collections have subsequently appeared. One at Heidelberg in 1610, and the other at Paris in 1810. There is a complete edition of all these fables, 231 in number, by T. Gl. Schneider, Breslau, 1812. From these, and especially from the work of Planudes, all our so-called Æsop’s Fables are derived.

Whence then did Planudes and his fellow-labourers draw their tales? This cannot be completely answered till the source of each one of them shall have been clearly found, and this has not yet been completely done. But Oriental and classical scholars have already traced a goodly number of them; and the general results of their investigations may be shortly stated.

BABRIUS, a Greek poet, who probably lived in the first century before Christ, wrote in verse a number of fables, of which a few fragments were known in the Middle Ages. See the editions by De Furia, Florence, 1809; Schneider, in an appendix to his edition of Æsop’s Fables, Breslau, 1812; Berger, München, 1816; Knoch, Halle, 1835; and Lewis, Philolog. Museum, 1832, i. 280-304. The complete work was fortunately discovered by Mynas, in the year 1824, at Mount Athos; and both Bentley and Tyrwhitt from the fragments, and Sir George Cornewall Lewis in his well-known edition of the whole work, have shown that several of Planudes’ Fables are also to be found in Babrius. Bentley, loc. cit.; Tyrwhitt, De Babrio, etc., Lond., 1776. The editions of the newly-found MS. are by Lachmann, 1845; Orelli and Baiter, 1845; G. C. Lewis, 1846; and Schneidewin, 1853. [xxxiv]

It is possible, also, that the Æsopean fables of the Latin poet Phædrus, who in the title of his work calls himself a freedman of Augustus, were known to Planudes. But the work of Phædrus, which is based on that of Babrius, existed only in very rare MSS. till the end of the sixteenth century, It was first edited by Pithou, in 1596; also by Orelli, Zürich, 1831. Comp. Oesterley, ‘Phædrus und die Æsop. Fabel im Mittelalter.’ and may therefore have easily escaped the notice of Planudes.

On the other hand, we have seen that versions of Buddhist Birth Stories, and other Indian tales, had appeared in Europe before the time of Planudes in Greek, Latin, Hebrew, and Spanish; and many of his stories have been clearly traced back to this source. By Silvestre de Sacy, in his edition of Kalilah and Dimnah, Paris, 1816; Loiseleur Deslongchamps, in his ‘Essai sur les Fables Indiennes, et sur leur Introd. en Europe,’ Paris, 1838; Professor Benfey, in his edition of the Pañca Tantra, Leipzig, 1859; Professor Max Müller, ‘On the Migration of Fables,’ Contemporary Review, July, 1870; Professor Weber, ‘Ueber den Zusammenhang indischer Fabeln mit Griechischen,’ Indische Studien, iii. 337 and foll.; Adolf Wagener, ‘Essai sur les rapports entre les apologues de l’Inde et de la Grèce,’ 1853; Otto Keller, ‘Ueber die Geschichte der Griechischen Fabeln,’ 1862. Further, as I shall presently show, some of the fables of Babrius and Phædrus, found in Planudes, were possibly derived by those authors from Buddhist sources. And lastly, other versions of the Jātakas, besides those which have been mentioned as coming through the Arabs, had reached Europe long before the time of Planudes; and some more of his stories have been traced back to Buddhist sources through these channels also. [xxxv]

What is at present known, then, with respect to the so-called Æsop’s fables, amounts to this – that none of them are really Æsopean at all; that the collection was first formed in the Middle Ages; that a large number of them have been already traced back, in various ways, to our Buddhist Jātaka book; and that almost the whole of them are probably derived, in one way or another, from Indian sources.

It is perhaps worthy of mention, as a fitting close to the history of the so-called Æsop’s Fables, that those of his stories which Planudes borrowed indirectly from India have at length been restored to their original home, and bid fair to be popular even in this much-altered form. For not only has an Englishman translated a few of them into several of the many languages spoken in the great continent of India, J. Gilchrist, ‘The Oriental Fabulist, or Polyglot Translations of Æsop’s and other Ancient Fables from the English Language into Hindustani, Persian, Arabic, Bhakka, Bongla, Sanscrit, etc., in the Roman Character,’ Calcutta, 1803. but Narāyan Balkriṣṇa Godpole, B.A., one of the Masters of the Government High School at Ahmadnagar, has lately published a second edition of his translation into Sanskrit of the common English version of the successful spurious compilation of the old monk of Constantinople! [xxxvi]

The Barlaam and Josaphat Literature

A complete answer to the question with which the last digression started can only be given when each one of the two hundred and thirty-one fables of Planudes and his successors shall have been traced back to its original author. But – whatever that complete answer may be – the discoveries just pointed out are at least most strange and most instructive. And yet, if I mistake not, the history of the Jātaka Book contains hidden amongst its details a fact more unexpected and more striking still.

In the eighth century the Khalif of Bagdad was that Almansur at whose court was written the Arabic book Kalilah and Dimnah, afterwards translated by the learned Jews I have mentioned into Hebrew, Latin, and Greek. A Christian, high in office at his court, afterwards became a monk, and is well known, under the name of St. John of Damascus, as the author in Greek of many theological works in defence of the orthodox faith. Among these is a religious romance called ‘Barlaam and Jōasaph,’ giving the history of an Indian prince who was converted by Barlaam and became a hermit. This history, the reader will be surprised to learn, is taken from the life of the Buddha; and Joasaph is merely the Buddha under another name, the word Joasaph, or Josaphat, being [xxxvii] simply a corruption of the word Bodhisatta, that title of the future Buddha so constantly repeated in the Buddhist Birth Stories. Joasaph is in Arabic written also Yūdasatf; and this, through a confusion between the Arabic letters Y and B, is for Bodisat. See, for the history of these changes, Reinaud, ‘Memoire sur l’Inde,’ 1849, p. 91; quoted with approbation by Weber, ‘Indische Streifen,’ iii. 57. Now a life of the Buddha forms the introduction to our Jātaka Book, and St. John’s romance also contains a number of fables and stories, most of which have been traced back to the same source. The Buddhist origin was first pointed out by Laboulaye in the Debats, July, 1859; and more fully by Liebrecht, in the ‘Jahrbuch für romanische und englische Literatur,’ 1860. See also Littré, Journal des Savans, 1865, who fully discusses, and decides in favour of the romance being really the work of St. John of Damascus. I hope, in a future volume, to publish a complete analysis of St. John’s work; pointing out the resemblances between it and the Buddhist lives of Gotama, and giving parallel passages wherever the Greek adopts, not only the Buddhist ideas, but also Buddhist expressions.

This book, the first religious romance published in a Western language, became very popular indeed, and, like the Arabic Kalilah and Dimnah, was translated into many other European languages. It exists in Latin, French, Italian, Spanish, German, English, Swedish, and Dutch. This will show how widely it was read, and how much its moral tone pleased the taste of the Middle Ages. It was also translated as early as 1204 into Icelandic, and has even been published in the Spanish dialect used in the Philippine Islands!

Now it was a very ancient custom among Christians to recite at the most sacred part of their most sacred service (in the so-called Canon of the Mass, immediately [xxxviii] before the consecration of the Host) the names of deceased saints and martyrs. Religious men of local celebrity were inserted for this purpose in local lists, called Diptychs, and names universally honoured throughout Christendom appeared in all such catalogues. The confessors and martyrs so honoured are now said to be canonized, that is, they have become enrolled among the number of Christian saints mentioned in the ‘Canon,’ whom it is the duty of every Catholic to revere, whose intercession may be invoked, who may be chosen as patron saints, and in whose honour images and altars and chapels may be set up. Pope Benedict XIV. in ‘De servorum Dei beatificatione et beatorum canonisatione,’ lib. i. cap. 45; Regnier, ‘De ecclesiâ Christi,’ in Migne’s Theol. Curs. Compl. iv. 710.

For a long time it was permitted to the local ecclesiastics to continue the custom of inserting such names in their ‘Diptychs,’ but about 1170 a decretal of Pope Alexander III confined the power of canonization, as far as the Roman Catholics were concerned, Decret. Greg., Lib. iii. Tit. xlvi., confirmed and explained by decrees of Urban VIII. (13th March, 1625, and 5th July, 1634) and of Alexander VII. (1659). to the Pope himself. From the different Diptychs various martyrologies, or lists of persons so to be commemorated in the ‘Canon,’ were composed to supply the place of the merely local lists or Diptychs. For as time went on, it began to be considered more and more improper [xxxix] to insert new names in so sacred a part of the Church prayers; and the old names being well known, the Diptychs fell into disuse. The names in the Martyrologies were at last no longer inserted in the Canon, but are repeated in the service called the ‘Prime’; though the term ‘canonized’ was still used of the holy men mentioned in them. And when the increasing number of such Martyrologies threatened to lead to confusion, and to throw doubt on the exclusive power of the Popes to canonize, Pope Sixtus the Fifth (1585-1590) authorized a particular Martyrologium, drawn up by Cardinal Baronius, to be used throughout the Western Church. In that work are included not only the saints first canonized at Rome, but all those who, having been already canonized elsewhere, were then acknowledged by the Pope and the College of Rites to be saints of the Catholic Church of Christ. Among such, under the date of the 27th of November, are included “The holy Saints Barlaam and Josaphat, of India, on the borders of Persia, whose wonderful acts Saint John of Damascus has described.” p. 177 of the edition of 1873, bearing the official approval of Pope Pius IX., or p. 803 of the Cologne edition of 1610.

Where and when they were first canonized, I have been unable, in spite of much investigation, to ascertain. Petrus de Natalibus, who was Bishop of Equilium, [xl] the modern Jesolo near Venice, from 1370 to 1400, wrote a Martyrology called ‘Catalogus Sanctorum’; and in it, among the ‘saints,’ he inserts both Barlaam and Josaphat, giving also a short account of them derived from the old Latin translation of St. John of Damascus. Cat. Sanct., Leyden ed. 1542, p. cliii. It is from this work that Baronius, the compiler of the authorized Martyrology now in use, took over the names of these two saints, Barlaam and Josaphat. But, so far as I have been able to ascertain, they do not occur in any martyrologies or lists of saints of the Western Church older than that of Petrus de Natalibus.

In the corresponding manual of worship still used in the Greek Church, however, we find, under August 26, the name ‘of the holy Iosaph, son of Abenēr, king of India.’ p. 160 of the part for the month of August of the authorized Μηναῖον of the Greek Church, published at Constantinople, 1843: “Toῖ ὁsίou Ἰωάσαφ, υἱοῦ Ἀβενὴρ τοῦ βασιλέως τῆς Ἰνδίας.” Barlaam is not mentioned, and is not therefore recognized as a saint in the Greek Church. No history is added to the simple statement I have quoted; and I do not know on what authority it rests. But there is no doubt that it is in the East, and probably among the records of the ancient church of Syria, that a final solution of this question should be sought. For the information in the last three pages I am chiefly indebted to my father, the Rev. T. W. Davids, without whose generous aid I should not have attempted to touch this obscure and difficult question.

Some of the more learned of the numerous writers [xli] who translated or composed new works on the basis of the story of Josaphat, have pointed out in their notes that he had been canonized; See, for instance, Billius, and the Italian Editor of 1734. and the hero of the romance is usually called St. Josaphat in the titles of these works, as will be seen from the Table of the Josaphat literature below. But Professor Liebrecht, when identifying Josaphat with the Buddha, took no notice of this; and it was Professor Max Müller, who has done so much to infuse the glow of life into the dry bones of Oriental scholarship, who first pointed out the strange fact – almost incredible, were it not for the completeness of the proof – that Gotama the Buddha, under the name of St. Josaphat, is now officially recognized and honoured and worshipped throughout the whole of Catholic Christendom as a Christian saint!

I have now followed the Western history of the Buddhist Book of Birth Stories along two channels only. Space would fail me, and the reader’s patience perhaps too, if I attempted to do more. But I may mention that the inquiry is not by any means exhausted. A learned Italian has proved that a good many of the stories of the hero known throughout Europe as Sinbad the Sailor are derived from the same inexhaustible treasury of stories witty and wise; Comparetti, ‘Ricerche intorne al Libro di Sindibad,’ Milano 1869. Compare Landsberger, ‘Die Fabeln des Sophos,’ Posen, 1859. and a [xlii] similar remark applies also to other well-known Tales included in the Arabian Nights. See Benfey, Pantscha Tantra, vol i., Introduction, passim. La Fontaine, whose charming versions of the Fables are so deservedly admired, openly acknowledges his indebtedness to the French versions of Kalilah and Dimnah; and Professor Benfey and others have traced the same stories, or ideas drawn from them, to Poggio, Boccaccio, Gower, Chaucer, Spenser, and many other later writers. Thus, for instance, the three caskets and the pound of flesh in ‘The Merchant of Venice,’ and the precious jewel which in ‘As You Like It’ the venomous toad wears in his head, Act ii. scene 1. Professor Benfey, in his Pantscha Tantra, i. 213-220, has traced this idea far and wide. Dr. Dennys, in his ‘Folklore of China,’ gives the Chinese Buddhist version of it. are derived from the Buddhist tales. In a similar way it has been shown that tales current among the Hungarians and the numerous peoples of Slavonic race have been derived from Buddhist sources, through translations made by or for the Huns, who penetrated in the time of Genghis Khān into the East of Europe. See Benfey’s Introduction to Pantscha Tantra, §§ 36, 39, 71, 92, 166, 186. Mr. Ralston’s forthcoming translation of Tibetan stories will throw further light on this, at present, rather obscure subject. And finally yet other Indian tales, not included in the Kalilag and Damnag literature, have been brought into the opposite corner of Europe, by the Arabs of Spain. See, for example, the Fable translated below, pp. 275-278. [xliii]

There is only one other point on which a few words should be said. I have purposely chosen as specimens one Buddhist Birth Story similar to the Judgment of Solomon; two which are found also in Babrius; and one which is found also in Phædrus. How are these similarities, on which the later history of Indian Fables throws no light, to be explained?

As regards the cases of Babrius and Phædrus, it can only be said that the Greeks who travelled with Alexander to India may have taken the tales there, but they may equally well have brought them back. We only know that at the end of the fourth, and still more in the third century before Christ, there was constant travelling to and fro between the Greek dominions in the East and the adjoining parts of India, which were then Buddhist, and that the Birth Stories were already popular among the Buddhists in Afghanistan, where the Greeks remained for a long time. Indeed, the very region which became the seat of the Græco-Bactrian kings takes, in all the Northern versions of the Birth Stories, the place occupied by the country of Kāsi in the Pāli text, – so that the scene of the tales is laid in that district. And among the innumerable Buddhist remains still existing there, a large number are connected with the Birth Stories. The legend of Sumedha’s self-abnegation (see below, pp. 11-13) is laid near Jelāhabad; and Mr. William Simpson has discovered on the spot two bas-reliefs representing the principal incident in the legend. It is also in this very [xliv] district, and under the immediate successor of Alexander, that the original of the ‘Kalilah and Dimnah’ was said by its Arabian translators to have been written by Bidpai. It is possible that a smaller number of similar stories were also current among the Greeks; and that they not only heard the Buddhist ones, but told their own. But so far as the Greek and the Buddhist stories can at present be compared, it seems to me that the internal evidence is in favour of the Buddhist versions being the originals from which the Greek versions were adapted. Whether more than this can be at present said is very doubtful: when the Jātakas are all published, and the similarities between them and classical stories shall have been fully investigated, the contents of the stories may enable criticism to reach a more definite conclusion.

The case of Solomon’s judgment is somewhat different. If there were only one fable in Babrius or Phædrus identical with a Buddhist Birth Story, we should suppose merely that the same idea had occurred to two different minds; and there would thus be no necessity to postulate any historical connexion. Now the similarity of the two judgments stands, as far as I know, in complete isolation; and the story is not so curious but that two writers may have hit upon the same idea. At the same time, it is just possible that when the Jews were in Babylon they may have told, or heard, the story. [xlv]

Had we met with this story in a book unquestionably later than the Exile, we might suppose that they heard the story there; that some one repeating it had ascribed the judgment to King Solomon, whose great wisdom was a common tradition among them; and that it had thus been included in their history of that king. But we find it in the Book of Kings, which is usually assigned to the time of Jeremiah, who died during the Exile; and it should be remembered that the chronicle in question was based for the most part on traditions current much earlier among the Jewish people, and probably on earlier documents.

If, on the other hand, they told it there, we may expect to find some evidence of the fact in the details of the story as preserved in the Buddhist story-books current in the North of India, and more especially in the Buddhist countries bordering on Persia. Now Dr. Dennys, in his ‘Folklore of China,’ has given us a Chinese Buddhist version of a similar judgment, which is most probably derived from a Northern Buddhist Sanskrit original; and though this version is very late, and differs so much in its details from those of both the Pāli and Hebrew tales that it affords no basis itself for argument, it yet holds out the hope that we may discover further evidence of a decisive character. This hope is confirmed by the occurrence of a similar tale in [xlvi] the Gesta Romanorum, a mediæval work which quotes Barlaam and Josaphat, and is otherwise largely indebted in an indirect way to Buddhist sources. No. xlv. p. 80 of Swan and Hooper’s popular edition, 1877; No. xlii. p. 167 of the critical edition published for the Early English Text Society in 1879 by S. J. H. Herrtage, who has added a valuable historical note at p. 477. It is true that the basis of the judgment in that story is not the love of a mother to her son, but the love of a son to his father. But that very difference is encouraging. The orthodox compilers of the ‘Gests of the Romans’ This adaptation of the Latin title is worthy of notice. It of course means ‘Deeds’; but as most of the stories are more or less humorous, the word Gest, now spelt Jest, acquired its present meaning. dared not have so twisted the sacred record. They could not therefore have taken it from our Bible. Like all their other tales, however, this one was borrowed from somewhere; and its history, when discovered, may be expected to throw some light on this inquiry.

I should perhaps point out another way in which this tale may possibly be supposed to have wandered from the Jews to the Buddhists, or from India to the Jews. The land of Ophir was probably in India. The Hebrew names of the apes and peacocks said to have been brought thence by Solomon’s coasting-vessels are merely corruptions of Indian names; and Ophir must therefore have been either an Indian port (and if so, almost certainly at the mouth of the Indus, afterwards a Buddhist country), or an entrepot, further west, [xlvii] for Indian trade. But the very gist of the account of Solomon’s expedition by sea is its unprecedented and hazardous character; it would have been impossible even for him without the aid of Phœnician sailors; and it was not renewed by the Hebrews till after the time when the account of the judgment was recorded in the Book of Kings. Any intercourse between his servants and the people of Ophir must, from the difference of language, have been of the most meagre extent; and we may safely conclude that it was not the means of the migration of our tale. It is much more likely, if the Jews heard or told the Indian story at all, and before the time of the captivity, that the way of communication was overland. There is every reason to believe that there was a great and continual commercial intercourse between East and West from very early times by way of Palmyra and Mesopotamia. Though the intercourse by sea was not continued after Solomon’s time, gold of Ophir, Psalm xiv. 9; Isaiah xiii. 12; Job xxii. 24, xxviii. 16. ivory, jade, and Eastern gems still found their way to the West; and it would be an interesting task for an Assyrian or Hebrew scholar to trace the evidence of this ancient overland route in other ways.


[xlviii] To sum up what can at present be said on the connexion between the Indian tales, preserved to us in the Book of Buddhist Birth Stories, and their counterparts in the West: –

1. In a few isolated passages of Greek and other writers, earlier than the invasion of India by Alexander the Great, there are references to a legendary Æsop, and perhaps also allusions to stories like some of the Buddhist ones.

2. After Alexander’s time a number of tales also found in the Buddhist collection became current in Greece, and are preserved in the poetical versions of Babrius and Phædrus. They are probably of Buddhist origin.

3. From the time of Babrius to the time of the first Crusade no migration of Indian tales to Europe can be proved to have taken place. About the latter time a translation into Arabic of a Persian work containing tales found in the Buddhist book was translated by Jews into Greek, Hebrew, and Latin. Translations of these versions afterwards appeared in all the principal languages of Europe.

4. In the eleventh or twelfth century a translation was made into Latin of the legend of Barlaam and [xlix] Josaphat, a Greek romance written in the eighth century by St. John of Damascus on the basis of the Buddhist Jātaka book. Translations, poems, and plays founded on this work were rapidly produced throughout Western Europe.

5. Other Buddhist stories not included in either of the works mentioned in the two last paragraphs were introduced into Europe both during the Crusades and also during the dominion of the Arabs in Spain.

6. Versions of other Buddhist stories were introduced into Eastern Europe by the Huns under Genghis Khān.

7. The fables and stories introduced through these various channels became very popular during the Middle Ages, and were used as the subjects of numerous sermons, story-books, romances, poems, and edifying dramas. Thus extensively adopted and circulated, they had a considerable influence on the revival of literature, which, hand in hand with the revival of learning, did so much to render possible and to bring about the Great Reformation. The character of the hero of them – the Buddha, in his last or in one or other of his supposed previous births – appealed so strongly to the sympathies, and was so attractive to the minds of mediæval Christians, that he became, and has ever since remained, an object of Christian worship. And a collection of these and similar stories – wrongly, but very naturally, ascribed to [l] a famous story-teller of the ancient Greeks – has become the common property, the household literature, of all the nations of Europe; and, under the name of Æsop’s Fables, has handed down, as a first moral lesson-book and as a continual feast for our children in the West, tales first invented to please and to instruct our far-off cousins in the distant East.

Part II. On the History of the Birth Stories in India

[li] In the previous part of this Introduction I have attempted to point out the resemblances between certain Western tales and the Buddhist Birth Stories, to explain the reason of those resemblances, and to trace the history of the Birth Story literature in Europe. Much remains yet to be done to complete this interesting and instructive history; but the general results can already be stated with a considerable degree of certainty, and the literature in which further research will have to be made is accessible in print in the public libraries of Europe.

For the history in India of the Jātaka Book itself, and of the stories it contains, so little has been done, that one may say it has still to be written; and the authorities for further research are only to be found in [lii] manuscripts very rare in Europe, and written in languages for the most part but little known. Much of what follows is necessarily therefore very incomplete and provisional.

In some portions of the Brāhmanical literature, later than the Vedas, and probably older than Buddhism, there are found myths and legends of a character somewhat similar to a few of the Buddhist ones. But, so far as I know, no one of these has been traced either in Europe or in the Buddhist Collection.

On the other hand, there is every reason to hope that in the older portions of the Buddhist Scriptures a considerable number of the tales also included in the Jātaka Book will be found in identical or similar forms; for even in the few fragments of the Piṭakas as yet studied, several Birth Stories have already been discovered. Thus, for instance, the MAṆI KAṆṬHA JĀTAKA (Fausböll, No. 253) is taken from a story which is in both the Pāli and the Chinese versions of the Vinaya Piṭaka (Oldenberg, p. xlvi); the TITTIRA JĀTAKA (Fausböll, No. 37, translated below) occurs almost word for word in the Culla Vagga (vi. 6, 3-5); the KHANDHAVATTA JĀTAKA (Fausböll, No. 203) is a slightly enlarged version of Culla Vagga, v. 6; the SUKHAVIHĀRI JĀTAKA (Fausböll, No. 10, translated below) is founded on a story in the Culla Vagga (vii. 1, 4-6); the MAHĀ-SUDASSANA JĀTAKA (Fausböll, No. 95) is derived from the Sutta of the same name in the Dīgha Nikāya (translated by me in ‘Sacred Books of the East,’ vol. ix.); the MAKHA DEVA JĀTAKA (Fausböll, No. 9, translated below) from the Sutta of the same name in the Majjhima Nikāya (No. 83); and the SAKUṆAGGHI JĀTAKA (Fausböll, No. 168), from a parable in the Satipaṭṭhāna Vagga of the Saṁyutta Nikāya. These occur in isolated passages, and, except the story of King Mahā Sudassana, have not as yet become Jātakas, – that is, no character in the story is [liii] identified with the Buddha in one or other of his supposed previous births. But one book included in the Pāli Piṭakas consists entirely of real Jātaka stories, all of which are found in our Collection.

The title of this work is CARIYĀ-PIṬAKA; and it is constructed to show when, and in what births, Gotama had acquired the Ten Great Perfections (Generosity, Goodness, Renunciation, Wisdom, Firmness, Patience, Truth, Resolution, Kindness, and Equanimity), without which he could not have become a Buddha. In striking analogy with the modern view, that true growth in moral and intellectual power is the result of the labours, not of one only, but of many successive generations; so the qualifications necessary for the making of a Buddha, like the characters of all the lesser mortals, cannot be acquired during, and do not depend upon the actions of, one life only, but are the last result of many deeds performed through a long series of consecutive lives. See on this belief below, pp. 54-58, where the verses 259-269 are quotations from the Cariyā Piṭaka.

To each of the first two of these Ten Perfections a whole chapter of this work is devoted, giving in verse ten examples of the previous births in which the Bodhisatta or future Buddha had practised Generosity and Goodness respectively. The third chapter gives only fifteen [liv] examples of the lives in which he acquired the other eight of the Perfections. It looks very much as if the original plan of the unknown author had been to give ten Birth Stories for each of the Ten Perfections. And, curiously enough, the Northern Buddhists have a tradition that the celebrated teacher Aśvaghoṣa began to write a work giving ten Births for each of the Ten Perfections, but died when he had versified only thirty-four. Tāranātha’s ‘Geschichte des Buddhismus’ (a Tibetan work of the eighteenth century, translated into German by Schiefner), p. 92. Now there is a Sanskrit work called JĀTAKA MĀLĀ, as yet unpublished, but of which there are several MSS. in Paris and in London, consisting of thirty-five Birth Stories in mixed prose and verse, in illustration of the Ten Perfections. Fausböll’s ‘Five Jātakas,’ pp. 58-68, where the full text of one Jātaka is given, and Léon Feer, ‘Etude sur les Jātakas,’ p. 57. It would be premature to attempt to draw any conclusions from these coincidences, but the curious reader will find in a Table below a comparative view of the titles of the Jātakas comprised in the Cariyā Piṭaka and in the Jātaka Mālā. See Table, below.

There is yet another work in the Pāli Piṭakas which constantly refers to the Jātaka theory. The BUDDHAVAṀSA, which is a history of all the Buddhas, gives an account also of the life of the Bodhisatta in the character he [lv] filled during the lifetime of each of twenty-four of the previous Buddhas. It is on that work that a great part of the Pāli Introduction to our Jātaka Book is based, and most of the verses in the first fifty pages of the present translation are quotations from the Buddhavaṁsa. From this source we thus have authority for twenty-four Birth Stories, corresponding to the first twenty-four of the twenty-seven previous Buddhas, See the list of these Buddhas below, p. 52, where it will be seen that for the last three Buddhas we have no Birth Story. besides the thirty-four in illustration of the Perfections, and the other isolated ones I have mentioned.

Beyond this it is impossible yet to state what proportion of the stories in the Jātaka Book can thus be traced back to the earlier Pāli Buddhist literature; and it would be out of place to enter here upon any lengthy discussion of the difficult question as to the date of those earlier records. The provisional conclusions as to the age of the Sutta and Vinaya reached by Dr. Oldenberg in the very able introduction prefixed to his edition of the text of the Mahā Vagga, and summarized at p. xxxviii of that work, will be sufficient for our present purposes. It may be taken as so highly probable as to be almost certain, that all those Birth Stories, which are not only found in the so-called Jātaka Book itself, but are also referred to in these other parts of the [lvi] Pāli Piṭakas, are at least older than the Council of Vesāli. This will hold good though the Buddhavaṁsa and the Cariyā Piṭaka should turn out to be later than most of the other books contained in the Three Pāli Piṭakas. That the stories they contain have already become Jātakas, whereas in most of the other cases above quoted the stories are still only parables, would seem to lead to this conclusion; and the fact that they have preserved some very ancient forms (such as locatives in i) may merely be due to the fact that they are older, not in matter and ideas, but only in form. Compare what is said below as to the verses in the Birth Stories.

The Council of Vesāli was held about a hundred years after Gotama’s death, to settle certain disputes as to points of discipline and practice which had arisen among the members of the Order. The exact date of Gotama’s death is uncertain; The question is discussed at length in my ‘Ancient Coins and Measures of Ceylon’ in ‘Numismata Orientalia,’ vol. i. and in the tradition regarding the length of the interval between that event and the Council, the ‘hundred years’ is of course a round number. But we can allow for all possibilities, and still keep within the bounds of certainty, if we fix the date of the Council of Vesāli at within thirty years of 350 B.C.

The members of the Buddhist Order of Mendicants were divided at that Council – as important for the history of Buddhism as the Council of Nice is for the history of Christianity – into two parties. One side advocated the relaxation of the rules of the Order in ten particular matters, the others adopted the stricter view. In the accounts of the matter, which we at present only possess from the successors of the stricter party (or, [lvii] as they call themselves, the orthodox party), it is acknowledged that the other, the laxer side, were in the majority; and that when the older and more influential members of the Order decided in favour of the orthodox view, the others held a council of their own, called, from the numbers of those who attended it, the Great Council.

Now the oldest Ceylon Chronicle, the Dīpavaṁsa, which contains the only account as yet published of what occurred at the Great Council, says as follows: Dīpavaṁsa, V. 32 and foll.

“The monks of the Great Council turned the religion upside down;
They broke up the original Scriptures, and made a new recension;
A discourse put in one place they put in another;
They distorted the sense and the teaching of the Five Nikāyas.

Those monks – knowing not what had been spoken at length, and what concisely,
What was the obvious, and what was the higher meaning –
Attached new meaning to new words, as if spoken by the Buddha,
And destroyed much of the spirit by holding to the shadow of the letter.

In part they cast aside the Sutta and the Vinaya so deep,
And made an imitation Sutta and Vinaya, changing this to that. [lviii]

The Parivāra abstract, and the Six Books of Abhidhamma;
The Paṭisambhidā, the Niddesa, and a portion of the Jātaka
So much they put aside, and made others in their place!”

The animus of this description is sufficiently evident; and the Dīpavaṁsa, which cannot have been written earlier than the fourth century after the commencement of our era, is but poor evidence of the events of seven centuries before. But it is the best we have; it is acknowledged to have been based on earlier sources, and it is at least reliable evidence that, according to Ceylon tradition, a book called the Jātaka existed at the time of the Councils of Vesāli.

As the Northern Buddhists are the successors of those who held the Great Council, we may hope before long to have the account of it from the other side, either from the Sanskrit or from the Chinese. There are several works enumerated by Mr. Beal in his Catalogue of Chinese Buddhistic Works in the India Office Library (see especially pp. 93-97, and pp. 107-109), from which we might expect to derive this information. Meanwhile it is important to notice that the fact of a Book of Birth Stories having existed at a very early date is confirmed, not only by such stories being found in other parts of the Pāli Piṭakas, but also by ancient monuments.

Among the most interesting and important discoveries [lix] which we owe to recent archæological researches in India must undoubtedly be reckoned those of the Buddhist carvings on the railings round the dome-shaped relic shrines of Sānchi, Amaravatī, and Bharhut. There have been there found, very boldly and clearly sculptured in deep bas-relief, figures which were at first thought to represent merely scenes in Indian life. Even so their value as records of ancient civilization would have been of incalculable value; but they have acquired further importance since it has been proved that most of them are illustrations of the sacred Birth Stories in the Buddhist Jātaka book, – are scenes, that is, from the life of Gotama in his last or previous births. This would be incontestable in many cases from the carvings themselves, but it is rendered doubly sure by the titles of Jātakas having been found inscribed over a number of those of the bas-reliefs which have been last discovered – the carvings, namely, on the railing at Bharhut.

It is not necessary to turn aside here to examine into the details of these discoveries. It is sufficient for our present inquiry into the age of the Jātaka stories that these ancient bas-reliefs afford indisputable evidence that the Birth Stories were already, at the end of the third century B.C., considered so sacred that they were chosen as the subjects to be represented round the most [lx] sacred Buddhist buildings, and that they were already popularly known under the technical name of ‘Jātakas.’ A detailed statement of all the Jātakas hitherto discovered on these Buddhist railings, and other places, will be found in one of the Tables appended to this Introduction; and it will be noticed that several of those tales translated below in this volume had thus been chosen, more than two thousand years ago, to fill places of honour round the relic shrines of the Great Teacher.

One remarkable fact apparent from that Table will be that the Birth Stories are sometimes called in the inscriptions over the bas-reliefs by names different from those given to them in the Jātaka Book in the Pāli Piṭakas. This would seem, at first sight, to show that, although the very stories as we have them must have been known at the time when the bas-reliefs were carved, yet that the present collection, in which different names are clearly given at the end of each story, did not then exist. But, on the other hand, we not only find in the Jātaka Book itself very great uncertainty as to the names, – the same stories being called in different parts of the Book by different titles, Thus, No. 41 is called both LOSAKA JĀTAKA and MITTA-VINDAKA JĀTAKA (Feer, ‘Etude sur les Jātakas,’ p. 121); No. 439 is called CATUDVĀRA JĀTAKA and also MITTA-VINDAKA JĀTAKA (Ibid. p. 120); No. 57 is called VĀNARINDA JĀTAKA and also KUMBHĪLA JĀTAKA (Fausböll, vol. i. p. 278, and vol. ii. p. 206); No. 96 is called TELAPATTA JĀTAKA and also TAKKASĪLA JĀTAKA (Ibid. vol. i. p. 393, and vol. i. pp. 469, 470); No. 102, there called PAṆṆIKA JĀTAKA, the same story as No. 217, there called SEGGU JĀTAKA; No. 30, there called MUṆIKA JĀTAKA, is the same story as No. 286, there called SĀLŪKA JĀTAKA; No. 215, the KACCHAPA JĀTAKA, is called BAHU-BHĀṆI JĀTAKA; in the Dhammapada (p. 419); and No. 157 is called GUṆA JĀTAKA, SĪHA JĀTAKA, and SIGĀLA JĀTAKA – but one of these very [lxi] bas-reliefs has actually inscribed over it two distinct names in full! Cunningham, ‘The Stūpa of Bharhut,’ pl. xlvii. The carving illustrates a fable of a cat and a cock, and is labelled both Biḍala Jātaka and Kukkuṭa Jātaka (Cat Jātaka and Cock Jātaka).

The reason for this is very plain. When a fable about a lion and a jackal was told (as in No. 157) to show the advantage of a good character, and it was necessary to choose a short title for it, it was called ‘The Lion Jātaka,’ or ‘The Jackal Jātaka,’ or even ‘The Good Character Jātaka’; and when a fable was told about a tortoise, to show the evil results which follow on talkativeness (as in No. 215), the fable might as well be called ‘The Chatterbox Jātaka’ as ‘The Tortoise Jātaka,’ and the fable is referred to accordingly under both those names. It must always have been difficult, if not impossible, to fix upon a short title which should at once characterize the lesson to be taught, and the personages through whose acts it was taught; and different names would thus arise, and become interchangeable. It would be wrong therefore to attach too much importance to the difference of the names on the bas-reliefs and in the Jātaka Book. And in translating [lxii] the titles we need not be afraid to allow ourselves a latitude similar to that which was indulged in by the early Buddhists themselves.

There is yet further evidence confirmatory of the Dīpavaṁsa tradition. The Buddhist Scriptures are sometimes spoken of as consisting of nine different divisions, or sorts of texts (Aṅgāni), of which the seventh is ‘Jātakas,’ or ‘The Jātaka Collection’ (Jātakaṁ). This division of the Sacred Books is mentioned, not only in the Dīpavaṁsa itself, and in the Sumaṅgala Vilāsinī, but also in the Aṅguttara Nikāya (one of the later works included in the Pāli Piṭakas), and in the Saddharma Puṇḍarīka (a late, but standard Sanskrit work of the Northern Buddhists). See the authorities quoted in my manual, ‘Buddhism,’ pp. 214, 215; and Dr. Morris, in the Academy for May, 1880. It is common, therefore, to both of the two sections of the Buddhist Church; and it follows that it was probably in use before the great schism took place between them, possibly before the Council of Vesāli itself. In any case it is conclusive as to the existence of a collection of Jātakas at a very early date.

The text of the Jātaka Book, as now received among the Southern Buddhists, consists, as will be seen from the [lxiii] translation, not only of the stories, but of an elaborate commentary, containing a detailed Explanation of the verse or verses which occur in each of the stories; an Introduction to each of them, giving the occasion on which it is said to have been told; a Conclusion, explaining the connexion between the personages in the Introductory Story and the characters in the Birth Story; and finally, a long general Introduction to the whole work. It is, in fact, an edition by a later hand of the earlier stories; and though I have called it concisely the Jātaka Book, its full title is ‘The Commentary on the Jātakas.’

We do not know either the name of the author of this work, or the date when it was composed. The meagre account given at the commencement of the work itself (below, pp. 1, 2) contains all our present information on these points. Mr. Childers, who is the translator of this passage, has elsewhere ascribed the work to Buddhaghosa; In his Dictionary, Preface, p. ix, note. but I venture to think that this is, to say the least, very uncertain.

We have, in the thirty-seventh chapter of the Mahāvaṁsa, Turnour, pp. 250-253. a perhaps almost contemporaneous account of Buddhaghosa’s literary work; and it is there distinctly stated, that after writing in India the Atthasālinī (a commentary on the Dhammasaṅginī, the first of the Six [lxiv] Books of the Abhidhamma Piṭaka), he went to Ceylon (about 430 A.D.) with the express intention of translating the Sinhalese commentaries into Pāli. There he studied under the Thera Saṅghapāli, and having proved his efficiency by his great work ‘The Path of Purity’ (Visuddhi-Magga, a compendium of all Buddhism), he was allowed by the monks in Ceylon to carry out his wish, and translate the commentaries. The Chronicle then goes on to say that he did render ‘the whole Sinhalese Commentary’ into Pāli. But it by no means follows, as has been too generally supposed, that he was the author of all the Pāli Commentaries we now possess. He translated, it may be granted, the Commentaries on the Vinaya Piṭaka and on the four great divisions (Nikāyas) of the Sutta Piṭaka; but these works, together with those mentioned above, would amply justify the very general expression of the chronicler. The ‘Sinhalese Commentary’ being now lost, it is impossible to say what books were and what were not included under that expression as used in the Mahāvaṁsa; and to assign any Pāli commentary, other than those just mentioned, to Buddhaghosa, some further evidence more clear than the ambiguous words of the Ceylon Chronicle should be required.

What little evidence we have as regards the particular work now in question seems to me to tend very strongly [lxv] in the other direction. Buddhaghosa could scarcely have commenced his labours on the Jātaka Commentary, leaving the works I have mentioned – so much more important from his point of view – undone. Now I would ask the reader to imagine himself in Buddhaghosa’s position, and then to read carefully the opening words of our Jātaka Commentary as translated below, and to judge for himself whether they could possibly be such words as Buddhaghosa would probably, under the circumstances, have written. It is a matter of feeling; but I confess I cannot think it possible that he was the author of them. Three Elders of the Buddhist Order are there mentioned with respect, but neither the name of Revata, Buddhaghosa’s teacher in India, nor the name of Saṅghapāli, his teacher in Ceylon, is even referred to; and there is not the slightest allusion either to Buddhaghosa’s conversion, his journey from India, the high hopes he had entertained, or the work he had already accomplished! This silence seems to me almost as convincing as such negative evidence can possibly be.

If not however by Buddhaghosa, the work must have been composed after his time; but probably not long after. It is quite clear from the account in the Mahāvaṁsa, that before he came to Ceylon the Sinhalese commentaries had not been turned into Pāli; and on the other hand, the example he had set so well will almost [lxvi] certainly have been quickly followed. We know one instance at least, that of the Mahāvaṁsa itself, which would confirm this supposition; and had the present work been much later than his time, it would not have been ascribed to Buddhaghosa at all.

It is worthy of notice, perhaps, in this connexion, that the Pāli work is not a translation of the Sinhalese Commentary. The author three times refers to a previous Jātaka Commentary, which possibly formed part of the Sinhalese work, as a separate book; Fausböll, vol. i. p. 62 and p. 488; vol. ii. p. 224. and in one case mentions what it says only to overrule it. See the translation below, p. 82. Our Pāli work may have been based upon it, but cannot be said to be a mere version of it. And the present Commentary agrees almost word for word, from p. 58 to p. 124 of my translation, with the MADHURA-ATTHA-VILĀSINĪ, the Commentary on the ‘Buddhavaṁsa’ mentioned above, which is not usually ascribed to Buddhaghosa. I judge from Turnour’s analysis of that work in the Journal of the Bengal Asiatic Society, 1839, where some long extracts have been translated, and the contents of other passages given in abstract.

The Jātaka Book is not the only Pāli Commentary which has made use of the ancient Birth Stories. They occur in numerous passages of the different exegetical works composed in Ceylon, and the only commentary of which anything is known in print, that on the [lxvii] Dhammapadaṁ or ‘Collection of Scripture Verses,’ contains a considerable number of them. Mr. Fausböll has published copious extracts from this Commentary, which may be by Buddhaghosa, as an appendix to his edition of the text; and the work by Captain Rogers, entitled ‘Buddhaghosa’s Parables’ – a translation from a Burmese book called ‘Dhammapada-vatthu’ (that is ‘Stories connected with the Dhammapadaṁ’) – consists almost entirely of Jātaka tales.

In Siam there is even a rival collection of Birth Stories, which is called PAṆṆĀSA-JĀTAKAṀ (‘The Fifty Jātakas’), and of which an account has been given us by M. Léon Feer; ‘Etude sur les Jātakas,’ pp. 62-65. and the same scholar has pointed out that isolated stories, not contained in our collection, are also to be found in the Pāli literature of that country. Ibid. pp. 66-71. The first hundred and fifty tales in our collection are divided into three Paṇṇāsas, or fifties; This is clear from vol. i. p. 410 of Mr. Fausböll’s text, where, at the end of the 100th tale, we find the words Majjhima-paṇṇāsako niṭṭhito, that is, ‘End of the Middle Fifty.’ At the end of the 50th tale (p. 261) there is a corresponding entry, Paṭhamo paṇṇāso, ‘First Fifty’; and though there is no such entry at the end of the 150th tale, the expression ‘Middle Fifty’ shows that there must have been, at one time, such a division as is above stated. but the Siamese collection cannot be either of these, as M. Feer has ascertained that it contains no tales beginning in the same way as any of those in either of these three ‘Fifties.’ [lxviii]

In India itself the Birth Stories survived the fall, as some of them had probably preceded the rise, of Buddhism. Not a few of them were preserved by being included in the Mahā Bhārata, the great Hindu epic which became the storehouse of Indian mythology, philosophy, and folk-lore. See, for instance, above, p. xxvii; and below, p. 185. Unfortunately, the date of the final arrangement of the Mahā Bhārata, is extremely uncertain, and there is no further evidence of the continued existence of the Jātaka tales till we come to the time of the work already frequently referred to – the Pañca Tantra.

It is to the history of this book that Professor Benfey has devoted that elaborate and learned Introduction which is the most important contribution to the study of this class of literature as yet published; and I cannot do better than give in his own words his final conclusions as to the origin of this popular storybook: ‘Pantscha Tantra,’ von Theodor Benfey, Leipzig, 1859, p. xi.

“Although we are unable at present to give any certain information either as to the author or as to the date of the work, we receive, as it seems to me, no unimportant compensation in the fact, that it turned out, That is, in the course of Prof. Benfey’s researches. with a certainty beyond doubt, to have been originally a Buddhist book. This followed especially from the chapter discussed in §225. But it was already indicated by the considerable number of the fables and [lxix] tales contained in the work, which could also be traced in Buddhist writings. Their number, and also the relation between the form in which they are told in our work, and that in which they appear in the Buddhist writings, incline us – nay, drive us – to the conclusion that the latter were the source from which our work, within the circle of Buddhist literature, proceeded....

The proof that our work is of Buddhist origin is of importance in two ways: firstly – on which we will not here further insist – for the history of the work itself; and secondly, for the determination of what Buddhism is. We can find in it one more proof of that literary activity of Buddhism, to which, in my articles on ‘India,’ which appeared in 1840, In ‘Ersch und Grüber’s Encyklopædie,’ especially at pp. 255 and 277. I had already felt myself compelled to assign the most important place in the enlightenment and general intellectual development of India. This view has since received, from year to year, fresh confirmations, which I hope to bring together in another place; and whereby I hope to prove that the very bloom of the intellectual life of India (whether it found expression in Brahmanical or Buddhist works) proceeded substantially from Buddhism, and is contemporaneous with the epoch in which Buddhism flourished; – that is to say, from the third century before Christ to the sixth or seventh century after Christ. With that principle, said to have been proclaimed by Buddhism in its earliest years, ‘that only that teaching of the Buddha’s is true which contraveneth not sound reason,’ Wassiliew, ‘Der Buddhismus,’ etc., p. 68. the autonomy of man’s Intellect was, we may fairly say, effectively acknowledged; the whole relation between the realms of the knowable and of the unknowable was subjected to its control; and notwithstanding that the actual reasoning powers, to which the ultimate appeal was thus given, were in fact then not altogether [lxx] sound, yet the way was pointed out by which Reason could, under more favourable circumstances, begin to liberate itself from its failings. We are already learning to value, in the philosophical endeavours of Buddhism, the labours, sometimes indeed quaint, but aiming at thoroughness and worthy of the highest respect, of its severe earnestness in inquiry. And that, side by side with this, the merry jests of light, and even frivolous poetry and conversation, preserved the cheerfulness of life, is clear from the prevailing tone of our work, and still more so from the probable Buddhist origin of those other Indian story-books which have hitherto become known to us.”

Professor Benfey then proceeds to show that the Pañca Tantra consisted originally, not of five, but of certainly eleven, perhaps of twelve, and just possibly of thirteen books; and that its original design was to teach princes right government and conduct. Compare the title of the Birth Story above, p. xxii, ‘A Lesson for Kings.’ The whole collection had then a different title descriptive of this design; and it was only after a part became detached from the rest that that part was called, for distinction’s sake, the Pañca Tantra, or Five Books. When this occurred it is impossible to say. But it was certainly the older and larger collection, not the present Pañca Tantra, which travelled into Persia, and became the source of the whole of the extensive ‘Kalilag and Damnag’ literature. See above, p. xxix. [lxxi]

The Arabian authors of the work translated (through the ancient Persian) from this older collection assign it to a certain Bidpai; who is said to have composed it in order to instruct Dabschelim, the successor of Alexander in his Indian possessions, in worldly wisdom. Knatchbull, p. 29. There may well be some truth in this tradition. And when we consider that the ‘Barlaam and Josaphat’ literature took its origin at the same time, and in the same place, as the ‘Kalilag and Damnag’ literature; that both of them are based upon Buddhist originals taken to Bagdad in the sixth century of our era; and that it is precisely such a book as the Book of Birth Stories from which they could have derived all that they borrowed; it is difficult to avoid connecting these facts together by the supposition that the work ascribed to Bidpai may, in fact, have been a selection of those Jātaka stories bearing more especially on the conduct of life, and preceded, like our own collection, by a sketch of the life of the Buddha in his last birth. Such a supposition would afford a reasonable explanation of some curious facts which have been quite inexplicable on the existing theory. If the Arabic ‘Kalilah and Dimnah’ was an exact translation, in our modern sense of the word translation, of an exact translation of a Buddhist work, how [lxxii] comes it that the various copies of the ‘Kalilah and Dimnah’ differ so greatly, not only among themselves, but from the lately discovered Syriac ‘Kalilag and Damnag,’ which was also, according to the current hypothesis, a translation of the same original? – how comes it that in these translations from a Buddhist book there are no references to the Buddha, and no expressions on the face of them Buddhistic? If, on the other hand, the later writers had merely derived their subject-matter from a Buddhist work or works, and had composed what were in effect fresh works on the basis of such an original as has been suggested, we can understand how the different writers might have used different portions of the material before them, and might have discarded any expressions too directly in contradiction with their own religious beliefs.

The first three of those five chapters of the work ascribed to Bidpai which make up the Pañca Tantra, are also found in a form slightly different, but, on the whole, essentially the same, in two other Indian Story-books, – the KATHĀ-SARIT-SĀGARA (Ocean of the Rivers of Stories), composed in Sanskrit by a Northern Buddhist named Somadeva in the twelfth century, and in the well-known Hitopadesa, which is a much later work. If Somadeva had had the Pañca Tantra in its present form before him, he would probably have included the [lxxiii] whole five books in his encyclopædic collection; and the absence from the Kathā-Sarit-Sāgara of the last two books would tend to show that when he wrote his great work the Pañca Tantra had not been composed, or at least had not reached the North of India.

Somadeva derived his knowledge of the three books he does give from the VṚIHAT-KATHĀ, a work ascribed to Guṇādhya, written in the Paiṣāchī dialect, and probably at least as early as the sixth century. Dr. Fitz-Edward Hall’s Vāsavadatta, pp. 22-24. This work, on which Somadeva’s whole poem is based, is lost. But Dr. Bühler has lately discovered another Sanskrit poem, based on that earlier work, written in Kashmīr by Kṣemendra at the end of the eleventh century, and called, like its original, Vṛihat-Kathā; and as Somadeva wrote quite independently of this earlier poem, we may hope that a comparison of the two Sanskrit works will afford reliable evidence of the contents of the Old Vṛihat-Kathā. Dr. Bühler in the Indian Antiquary, i. 302, v. 29, vi. 269.

I should also mention here that another well-known work, the VETĀLA-PAÑCA-VIṀSATĪ (the Twenty-five Tales of a Demon), is contained in both the Sanskrit poems, and was therefore probably also in Guṇādhya’s collection; but as no Jātaka stories have been as yet traced in it, I have simply included it for purposes of [lxxiv] reference in Table I., together with the most important of those of the later Indian story-books of which anything certain is at present known.

There remains only to add a few words on the mode in which the stories, whose history in Europe and in India I have above attempted to trace, are presented to us in the Jātaka Book.

Each story is introduced by another explaining where and why it was told by the Buddha; the Birth Story itself being called the Atīta-vatthu or Story of the Past, and the Introductory Story the Paccuppanna-vatthu or Story of the Present. There is another book in the Pāli Piṭakas called APADĀNAṀ, which consists of tales about the lives of the early Buddhists; and many of the Introductory Stories in the Jātaka Book (such, for instance, as the tale about Little Roadling, No. 4, or the tale about Kumāra Kassapa, No. 12) differ very little from these Apadānas. Other of the Introductory Stories (such, for instance, as No. 17 below) seem to be mere repetitions of the principal idea of the story they introduce, and are probably derived from it. That the Introductory Stories are entirely devoid of credit is clear from the fact that different Birth Stories are introduced as having been told at the same time and place, [lxxv] and in answer to the same question. Thus no less than ten stories are each said to have been told to a certain love-sick monk as a warning to him against his folly; Nos. 61, 62, 63, 147, 159, 193, 196, 198, 199, 263. the closely-allied story given below as the Introduction to Birth Story No. 30 appears also as the Introduction to at least four others; Nos. 106, 145, 191, 286. and there are many other instances of a similar kind. Nos. 58, 73, 142, 194, 220, and 277, have the same Introductory Story. And so Nos. 60, 104, 116, 161. And Nos. 127, 128, 138, 173, 175.

After the two stories have been told, there comes a Conclusion, in which the Buddha identifies the personages in the Birth Story with those in the Introductory Story; but it should be noticed that in one or two cases characters mentioned in the Atīta-vatthu are supposed not to have been reborn on earth at the time of the Paccuppanna-vatthu. See the Pāli note at the end of Jātaka No. 91. And the reader must of course avoid the mistake of importing Christian ideas into this Conclusion by supposing that the identity of the persons in the two stories is owing to the passage of a ‘soul’ from the one to the other. Buddhism does not teach the Transmigration of Souls. Its doctrine (which is somewhat intricate, and for a fuller statement of which I must refer to my Manual of Buddhism pp. 99-106.) would be better summarized as the Transmigration of Character; [lxxvi] for it is entirely independent of the early and widely-prevalent notion of the existence within each human body of a distinct soul, or ghost, or spirit. The Bodhisatta, for instance, is not supposed to have a Soul, which, on the death of one body, is transferred to another; but to be the inheritor of the Character acquired by the previous Bodhisattas. The insight and goodness, the moral and intellectual perfection which constitute Buddhahood, could not, according to the Buddhist theory, be acquired in one lifetime: they were the accumulated result of the continual effort of many generations of successive Bodhisattas. The only thing which continues to exist when a man dies is his Karma, the result of his words and thoughts and deeds (literally his ‘doing’); and the curious theory that this result is concentrated in some new individual is due to the older theory of soul.

In the case of one Jātaka (Fausböll, No. 276), the Conclusion is wholly in verse; and in several cases the Conclusion contains a verse or verses added by way of moral. Such verses, when they occur, are called Abhisambuddha-gāthā, or Verses spoken by the Buddha, not when he was still only a Bodhisatta, but when he had become a Buddha. They are so called to distinguish them from the similar verses inserted in the Birth Story, and spoken there by the Bodhisatta. Each story has its [lxxvii] verse or verses, either in the Atīta-vatthu or in the Conclusion, and sometimes in both. The number of cases in which all the verses are Abhisambuddha-gāthā is relatively small (being only one in ten of the Jātakas published); Nos. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 28, 29, 37, 55, 56, 68, 85, 87, 88, 97, 100, 114, 136 (total, eighteen in the Eka-Nipāta); 156 (=55, 56), 196, 202, 237 (=68), 241 (total, five in the Duka-Nipāta); 255, 256, 258, 264, 284, 291, 300 (total, seven in the Tika-Nipāta, and thirty altogether). and the number of cases in which they occur together with verses in the Atīta-vatthu is very small indeed (being only five out of the three hundred Jātakas published); Nos. 152, 168, 179, 233, 286. in the remaining two hundred and sixty-five the verse or verses occur in the course of the Birth Story, and are most generally spoken by the Bodhisatta himself.

There are several reasons for supposing that these verses are older than the prose which now forms their setting. The Ceylon tradition goes so far as to say that the original Jātaka Book, now no longer extant, consisted of the verses alone; that the Birth Stories are Commentary upon them; and the Introductory Stories, the Conclusions and the ‘Pada-gata-sannaya,’ or word-for-word explanation of the verses, are Commentary on this Commentary. This belief underlies the curious note forming the last words of the Mahā-supina Jātaka, i. 345: “Those who held the Council after the death of the Blessed One placed the lines beginning usabhā rukkhā in the Commentary, and then, making the other lines beginning lābūni into one verse, they put (the Jātaka) into the Eka-Nipāta (the chapter including all those Jātakas which have only one verse).” And archaic forms and forced [lxxviii] constructions in the verses (in striking contrast with the regularity and simplicity of the prose parts of the book), and the corrupt state in which some of the verses are found, seem to point to the conclusion that the verses are older.

But I venture to think that, though the present form of the verses may be older than the present form of the Birth Stories, the latter, or most of the latter, were in existence first; that the verses, at least in many cases, were added to the stories, after they had become current; and that the Birth Stories without verses in them at all – those enumerated in the list in note 1 on the last page, where the verses are found only in the Conclusion – are, in fact, among the oldest, if not the oldest, in the whole collection. For any one who takes the trouble to go through that list seriatim will find that it contains a considerable number of those stories which, from their being found also in the Pāli Piṭakas or in the oldest European collections, can already be proved to belong to a very early date. The only hypothesis which will reconcile these facts seems to me to be that the Birth Stories, though probably originally older than the verses they contain, were handed down in Ceylon till the time of the compilation of our present Jātaka Book, in the Sinhalese language; whilst the verses on the other hand were not translated, but were preserved as they were received, in Pāli. [lxxix]

There is another group of stories which seems to be older than most of the others; those, namely, in which the Bodhisatta appears as a sort of chorus, a moralizer only, and not an actor in the play, whose part may have been an addition made when the story in which it occurs was adopted by the Buddhists. Such is the fable above translated of the Ass in the Lion’s Skin, and most of the stories where the Bodhisatta is a rukkha-devatā – the fairy or genius of a tree. See, for instance, below, pp. 212, 228, 230, 317; above, p. xii; and Jātaka No. 113. But the materials are insufficient at present to put this forward as otherwise than a mere conjecture.

The arrangement of the stories in our present collection is a most unpractical one. They are classified, not according to their contents, but according to the number of verses they contain. Thus, the First division (Nipāta) includes those one hundred and fifty of the stories which have only one verse; the Second, one hundred stories, each having two verses; the Third and Fourth, each of them fifty stories, containing respectively three and four verses each; and so on, the number of stories in each division decreasing rapidly after the number of verses exceeds four; and the whole of the five hundred and fifty Jātakas being contained in twenty-two Nipātas. Even this division, depending on so unimportant a factor [lxxx] as the number of the verses, is not logically carried out; and the round numbers of the stories in the first four divisions are made up by including in them stories which, according to the principle adopted, should not properly be placed within them. Thus several Jātakas are only mentioned in the first two Nipātas to say that they will be found in the later ones; Nos. 110, 111, 112, 170, 199 in the Ummagga Jātaka, and No. 264 in the Suruci Jātaka. and several Jātakas given with one verse only in the First Nipāta, are given again with more verses in those that follow; No. 30 = No. 286. No. 34 = No. 216. No. 46 = No. 268. No. 57 = No. 224. No. 68 = No. 237. No. 86 = No. 290. No. 102 = No. 217. No. 145 = No. 198. and occasionally a story is even repeated, with but little variation, in the same Nipāta. So No. 82 = No. 104. So No. 99 = No. 101. So No. 134 = No. 135. So No. 195 = No. 225. So No. 294 = No. 295. Compare the two stories Nos. 23 and 24 translated below.

On the other hand, several Jātakas, which count only as one story in the present enumeration, really contain several different tales or fables. Thus, for instance, the Kulāvaka Jātaka (On Mercy to Animals) Translated below, pp. 278-290 [omitted here]. consists of seven stories woven, not very closely, into one. The most striking instance of this is perhaps the Ummagga Jātaka, not yet published in the Pāli, but of which the Sinhalese translation by the learned Baṭuwan Tudāwa [lxxxi] occupies two hundred and fifty pages octavo, and consists of a very large number (I have not counted them, and there is no index, but I should think they amount to more than one hundred and fifty) of most entertaining anecdotes. Although therefore the Birth Stories are spoken of as ‘The five hundred and fifty Jātakas,’ this is merely a round number reached by an entirely artificial arrangement, and gives no clue to the actual number of stories. It is probable that our present collection contains altogether (including the Introductory Stories where they are not mere repetitions) between two and three thousand independent tales, fables, anecdotes, and riddles.

Nor is the number 550 any more exact (though the discrepancy in this case is not so great) if it be supposed to record, not the number of stories, but the number of distinct births of the Bodhisatta. In the Kulāvaka Jātaka, just referred to (the tale On Mercy to Animals), there are two consecutive births of the future Buddha; and on the other hand, none of the six Jātakas mentioned in note 1, p. lxxx, represents a distinct birth at all – the Bodhisatta is in them the same person as he is in the later Jātakas in which those six are contained.

From the facts as they stand it seems at present to [lxxxii] be the most probable explanation of the rise of our Jātaka Book to suppose that it was due to the religious faith of the Indian Buddhists of the third or fourth century B.C., who not only repeated a number of fables, parables, and stories ascribed to the Buddha, but gave them a peculiar sacredness and a special religious significance by identifying the best character in each with the Buddha himself in some previous birth. From the time when this step was taken, what had been merely parables or fables became ‘Jātakas,’ a word invented to distinguish, and used only of, those stories which have been thus sanctified. The earliest use of that word at present known is in the inscriptions on the Buddhist Tope at Bhārhut; and from the way in which it is there used it is clear that the word must have then been already in use for some considerable time. But when stories thus made sacred were popularly accepted among people so accustomed to literary activity as the early Buddhists, the natural consequence would be that the Jātakas should have been brought together into a collection of some kind; and the probability of this having been done at a very early date is confirmed, firstly, by the tradition of the difference of opinion concerning a Jātaka Book at the Councils of Vesāli; and secondly by the mention of a Jātaka Book in the ninefold division of the Scriptures found in the Aṅguttara Nikāya [lxxxiii] and in the Saddharma Puṇḍarīka. To the compiler of this, or of some early collection, are probably to be ascribed the Verses, which in some cases at least are later than the Stories.

With regard to some of the Jātakas, among which may certainly be included those found in the Pāli Piṭakas, there may well have been a tradition, more or less reliable, as to the time and the occasion at which they were supposed to have been uttered by the Buddha. These traditions will have given rise to the earliest Introductory Stories, in imitation of which the rest were afterwards invented; and these will then have been handed down as commentary on the Birth Stories, till they were finally made part of our present collection by its compiler in Ceylon. That (either through their later origin, or their having been much more modified in transmission) they represent a more modern point of view than the Birth Stories themselves, will be patent to every reader. There is a freshness and simplicity about the ‘Stories of the Past’ that is sadly wanting in the ‘Stories of the Present’; so much so, that the latter (and this is also true of the whole long Introduction containing the life of the Buddha) may be compared more accurately with mediæval Legends of the Saints than with such simple stories as Æsop’s Fables, which still bear a likeness to their forefathers, the ‘Stories of the Past.’ [lxxxiv]

The Jātakas so constituted were carried to Ceylon in the Pāli language, when Buddhism was first introduced into that island (a date that is not quite certain, but may be taken provisionally as about 200 B.C.); and the whole was there translated into and preserved in the Sinhalese language (except the verses, which were left untranslated) until the compilation in the fifth century A.D., and by an unknown author, of the Pāli Jātaka Book, the translation of which into English is commenced in this volume.

When we consider the number of elaborate similes by which the arguments in the Pāli Suttas are enforced, there can be no reasonable doubt that the Buddha was really accustomed to teach much by the aid of parables, and it is not improbable that the compiler was quite correct in attributing to him that subtle sense of good-natured humour which led to his inventing, as occasion arose, some fable or some tale of a previous birth, to explain away existing failures in conduct among the monks, or to draw a moral from contemporaneous events. It is even already possible to point to some of the Jātakas as being probably the oldest in the collection; but it must be left to future research to carry out in ampler detail the investigation into the comparative date of each of the stories, both those which are called ‘Stories of the Past’ and those which are called ‘Stories of the Present.’ [lxxxv]

Besides the points which the teaching of the Jātakas has in common with that of European moralists and satirists, it inculcates two lessons peculiar to itself – firstly, the powerful influence of inherited character; and secondly, the essential likeness between man and other animals. The former of these two ideas underlies both the central Buddhist doctrine of Karma and the theory of the Buddhas, views certainly common among all the early Buddhists, and therefore probably held by Gotama himself. And the latter of the two underlies and explains the sympathy with animals so conspicuous in these tales, and the frequency with which they lay stress upon the duty of kindness, and even of courtesy, to the brute creation. It is curious to find in these records of a strange and ancient faith such blind feeling after, such vague foreshadowing of beliefs only now beginning to be put forward here in the West; but it is scarcely necessary to point out that the paramount value to us now of the Jātaka stories is historical.

In this respect their value does not consist only in the evidence they afford of the intercommunion between East and West, but also, and perhaps chiefly, in the assistance which they will render to the study of folk-lore; – that is, of the beliefs and habits of men in the earlier stages of their development. The researches of Tylor and Waitz and Peschel and Lubbock and Spencer [lxxxvi] have shown us that it is by this means that it is most easily possible rightly to understand and estimate many of the habits and beliefs still current among ourselves. But the chief obstacle to a consensus of opinion in such studies is the insufficiency and inaccuracy of the authorities on which the facts depend. While the ancient literature of peoples more advanced usually ignores or passes lightly over the very details most important from this point of view, the accounts of modern travellers among the so-called savage tribes are often at best very secondary evidence. It constantly happens that such a traveller can only tell us the impression conveyed to his mind of that which his informant holds to be the belief or custom of the tribe. Such native information may be inaccurate, incomplete, or misleading; and it reaches us only after filtration through a European mind more or less able to comprehend it rightly. But in the Jātakas we have a nearly complete picture, and quite uncorrupted and unadulterated by European intercourse, of the social life and customs and popular beliefs of the common people of Aryan tribes closely related to ourselves, just as they were passing through the first stages of civilization.

The popularity of the Jātakas as amusing stories may pass away. How can it stand against the rival claims of the fairy tales of science, and the entrancing, many [lxxxvii] sided story of man’s gradual rise and progress? But though these less fabulous and more attractive stories shall increasingly engage the attention of ourselves and of our children, we may still turn with appreciation to the ancient Book of the Buddhist Jātaka Tales as a priceless record of the childhood of our race.

I avail myself of this opportunity of acknowledging my indebtedness to several friends whose assistance has been too continuous to be specified on any particular page. Professor Childers, whose premature death was so great a blow to Pāli studies, and whose name I never think of without a feeling of reverent and grateful regret, had undertaken the translation of the Jātakas, and the first thirty-three pages are from his pen. They are the last memento of his earnest work: they stand exactly as he left them. Professor Estlin Carpenter, who takes a deep interest in this and cognate subjects, has been kind enough to read through all the proofs, and I owe to his varied scholarship many useful hints. And my especial thanks, and the thanks of any readers this work may meet with, are above all due to Professor Fausböll, without whose editio princeps of the Pāli text, the result of self-denying labours spread over many years, this translation would not have been undertaken.

T. W. Rhys Davids

Tables Illustrative of the History and Migrations of the Buddhist Birth Stories [Ed: the below were not tables at all, but lists, sometimes compressed into tables to save space. As no such requirements are necessary in digital format, here they are presented simply as lists].

Table I. Indian Works

[lxxxix] 1. The JĀTAKA AṬṬHAVAṆṆANĀ. A collection, probably first made in the third or fourth century B.C., of stories previously existing, and ascribed to the Buddha, and put into its present form in Ceylon, in the fifth century A.D. The Pāli text is being edited by Professor Fausböll, of Copenhagen; vol. i. 1877, vol. ii. 1878, iii. in the press. English translation in the present work.

1a. Sinhalese translation of No. 1, called PAN SIYA PANAS JĀTAKA POTA. Written in Ceylon in or about 1320 A.D.

1b. GUTTILA KĀWYAYA. A poetical version in Elu, or old Sinhalese, of one of the stories in 1a, by Badawœttœ̄wa Unnānse, about 1415. Edited in Colombo, 1870, with introduction and commentary, by Baṭuwan Tuḍāwa.

1c. KUSA JĀTAKAYA. A poetical version in Elu, or old Sinhalese, of one of the stories in 1a, by Alagiawanna Mohoṭṭāle, 1610. Edited in Colombo, with commentary, 1868.

1d. An Eastern Love Story. Translation in verse of 1c, by Thomas Steele, C.C.S., London, 1871.

1e. ASADISA JĀTAKAYA. An Elu poem, by Rājādhirāja Siṅha, king of Ceylon in 1780.

2. The CARIYĀ PIṬAKA. A book of the Buddhist Scriptures of the fourth century B.C., containing thirty-five of the oldest above stories. See Table IV.

3. The JĀTAKA MĀLĀ. A Sanskrit work of unknown date, also containing thirty-five of the oldest stories in No. 1. See Table IV.

4. The PAṆṆĀSA-JĀTAKAṀ or ‘50 Jātakas.’ A Pāli work written in Siam, of unknown date and contents, but apparently distinct from No. 1. See above, p. lxvii. [xc]

5. PAÑCA TANTRA. ? Mediæval. See above, pp. lxviii-lxxii. Text edited by Kosegarten, Bonn, 1848. Kielhorn and Bühler, Bombay, 1868.

6. Translations: – German, by Benfey, Leipzig, 1859.

7. French by Dubois, Paris, 1826.

8. French by Lancerau, Paris, 1871.

9. Greek by Galanos and Typaldos, Athens, 1851.

10. HITOPADESA. Mediæval. Compiled principally from No. 2, with additions from another unknown work. Text edited by Carey and Colebrooke, Serampur, 1804. Hamilton, London, 1810. Bernstein, Breslau, 1823. Schlegel and Lassen, Bonn, 1829-1831. Nyālankar, Calcutta, 1830 and 1844. Johnson, Hertford, 1847 and 1864, with English version. Yates, Calcutta, 1841. E. Arnold, Bombay, 1859. Max Müller, London, 1864-1868.

11. Translations: – English, by Wilkins, Bath, 1787; reprinted by Nyālankar in his edition of the text.

12. English, by Sir W. Jones, Calcutta, 1816.

12a. English, by E. Arnold, London, 1861.

13. German, by Max Müller, Leipzig, 1844.

13a. German, by Dursch, Tübingen, 1853.

14. German, by L. Fritze, Breslau, 1874.

15. French, by Langlés, Paris, 1790.

16. French, by Lancerau, Paris, 1855.

17. Greek, by Galanos and Typaldos, Athens, 1851.

18. VETĀLA PAÑCA VIṀŚATI. Twenty-five stories told by a Vetāla, or demon. Sanskrit text in No. 32, vol. ii. pp. 288-293.

18a. Greek version of No. 18 added to No. 17.

19. VETHĀLA KATHEI. Tamil Version of No. 18. Edited by Robertson in ‘A Compilation of Papers in the Tamil Language,’ Madras, 1839.

20. No. 19, translated into English by Babington, in ‘Miscellaneous Translations from Oriental Languages,’ London, 1831.

21. No. 18, translated into Brajbakha, by Surāt, 1740.

22. BYTAL PACHISI. Translated from No. 21 into English by Rāja Kāli Kriṣṇa Bahadur, Calcutta, 1834. See No. 41a.

22a. BAITAL PACHISI. Hindustani version of No. 21, Calcutta, 1805. Edited by Barker, Hertford, 1855. [xci]

22b. English versions of 22a, by J. T. Platts, Hollings, and Barker.

22c. VIKRAM AND THE VAMPIRE, or Tales of Hindu Devilry. Adopted from 22b by Richard F. Burton, London, 1870.

22d. German version of 22a, by H. Oesterley, in the ‘Bibliothek Orientalischer Märchen und Erzählungen,’ 1873, with valuable introduction and notes.

23. SSIDDI KÜR. Mongolian version of No. 18.
24. German versions of No. 23, by Benjamin Bergmann in Nomadische Streifereien im Lande der Kalmücken, i. 247 and foll., 1804; and by Juelg, 1866 and 1868.

25. German version of No. 18, by Dr. Luber, Görz, 1875.

26. ŚUKA SAPTATI. The seventy stories of a parrot.

27. Greek version of No. 26, by Demetrios Galanos and G. K. Typaldos, Psittakou Mythologiai Nukterinai, included in their version of Nos. 10 and 18.

28. Persian version of No. 26, now lost; but reproduced by Nachshebi under the title Tuti Nāmeh.

28a. TOTA KAHANI. Hindustāni version of 26. Edited by Forbes.

28b. English version of 28a, by the Rev. G. Small.

29. SIṄHĀSANA DVĀTRIṄŚATI. The thirty-two stories of the throne of Vikramāditya; called also Vikrama Caritra. Edited in Madras, 1861.

29a. SINGHASAN BATTISI. Hindī version of 29. Edited by Syed Abdoolah.

30. VATRIŚ SINGHĀSAN. Bengalī version of No. 29, Serampur, 1818.

31. ARJI BORJI CHAN. Mongolian version of No. 29.

32. VṚIHAT-KATHĀ. By Guṇādhya, probably about the sixth century; in the Paiṣacī Prākrit. See above, p. lxxiii.

33. KATHĀ SARIT SĀGARA. The Ocean of the Rivers of Tales. It is founded on No. 32. Includes No. 18, and a part of No. 5. The Sanskrit text edited by Brockhaus, Leipzig, vol. i. with German translation, 1839; vol. ii. text only, 1862 and 1866. Original by Śrī Somadeva Bhaṭṭa, of Kashmīr, at the beginning of the twelfth century A.D. See above, pp. lxxii, lxxiii.

34. VṚIHAT-KATHĀ. A Sanskrit version of No. 34, by Kṣemendra, of Kashmīr. Written independently of Somadeva’s work, No. 32. See above, p. lxxiii.

35. PAÑCA DAṆḌA CHATTRA PRABANDHA. Stories about King Vikramāditya’s magic umbrella. Jain Sanskrit. Text and German version by Weber, Berlin, 1877.

36. VĀSAVADATTA. By Subandhu. Possibly as old as the sixth century. Edited by Fitz-Edward Hall, in the Bibliotheca Indica, Calcutta, 1859. This and the next are romances, not story-books.

37. KĀDAMBARĪ. By Bāṇa Bhaṭṭa, ? seventh century. Edited in Calcutta, 1850; and again, 1872, by Tarkavacaspati. [xcii]

38. Bengali version of No. 37, by Tāra Shankar Tarkaratna. Tenth edition, Calcutta, 1868.

39. DASA-KUMĀRA-CARITA. By Daṇḍin, ? sixth century. Edited by Carey, 1804; Wilson, 1846; and by Bühler, 1873.

39a. HINDOO TALES, founded on No. 39. By P. W. Jacob, London, 1873.

39b. UNE TÉTRADE. By Hippolyte Fauche, Paris, 1861-1863. Contains a translation into French of No. 39.

40. KATHĀRṆAVA, the Stream of Tales. In four Books; the first being No. 18, the second No. 29, the third and fourth miscellaneous.

41. PURUṢA-PARĪKṢĀ, the Adventures of King Hammīra. Probably of the fourteenth century. By Vidyāpati.

41a. English translation of No. 41, by Rājā Kāli Kriṣṇa, Serampur, 1830. See No. 22.

42. VĪRA-CARITAṀ, the Adventures of King Śālivāhana. [xciii]

Table II. The Kalilag and Damnag Literature

1. A lost Buddhist work in a language of Northern India, ascribed to Bidpai. See above, pp. lxx-lxxii.

2. Pēlvī version, 531-579 A.D. By Barzūyē, the Court physician of Khosru Nushírvan. See above, p. xxix.

3. KALILAG UND DAMNAG. Syrian version of No. 2. Published with German translation by Gustav Bickell, and Introduction by Professor Benfey, Leipzig, 1876. This and No. 15 preserve the best evidence of the contents of No. 2, and of its Buddhist original or originals.

4. KALILAH WĀ DIMNAH (Fables of Bidpai). Arabic version of No. 3, by Abd-allah, son of Almokaffa. Date about 750 A.D. Text of one recension edited by Silvestre de Sacy, Paris, 1816. Other recensions noticed at length in Ignazio Guidi’s ‘Studii sul testo Arabo del libro di Calila e Dimna’ (Rome, 1873).

5. KALILA AND DIMNA. English version of No. 4, by Knatchbull, Oxford, 1819.

6. DAS BUCH DES WEISEN. German version of No. 4, by Wolff, Stuttgart, 1839.

7. STEPHANITĒS KAI ICHVĒLATĒS. Greek version of No. 4, by Simeon Seth, about 1080 A.D. Edited by Seb. Gottfried Starke, Berlin, 1697 (reprinted in Athens, 1851), and by Aurivillius, Upsala, 1786.

8. Latin version of No. 7, by Father Possin, at the end of his edition of Pachymeres, Rome, 1866.

9. Persian translation of No. 4, by Abdul Maali Nasr Allah, 1118-1153. Exists, in MS. only, in Paris, Berlin, and Vienna.

10. ANVĀR I SUHAILI. Persian translation, through the last, of No. 4, by Husain ben Ali el Vāiz U’l-Kāshifī; end of the fifteenth century.

11. ANVĀR I SUHAILI, OR THE LIGHTS OF CANOPUS. English version of No. 10, by Edward Eastwick, Hertford, 1854.

11a. Another English version of No. 10, by Arthur N. Wollaston (London, Allen).

12. LIVRE DES LUMIÈRES. French version of No. 10, by David Sahid, d’Ispahan, Paris, 1644, 8vo.

13. DEL GOVERNO DE’ REGNI. Italian version of No. 7, Ferrara, 1583; by Giulio Nūti. Edited by Teza, Bologna, 1872. [xciv]

14. Hebrew version of No. 4, by Joel (?), before 1250. Exists only in a single MS. in Paris, of which the first part is missing.

15. DIRECTORIUM HUMANÆ VITÆ. Latin version of No. 14, by John of Capua. Written 1263-1278. Printed about 1480, without date or name of place. Next to No. 3 it is the best evidence of the contents of the lost books Nos. 1 and 2.

16. German version of No. 15, also about 1480, but without date or name of place.

17. Version in Ulm dialect of No. 16. Ulm, 1483.

18. Baldo’s ‘ALTER ÆSOPUS.’ A translation direct from Arabic into Latin (? thirteenth century.) Edited in du Meril’s ‘Poesies inédites du moyen age,’ Paris, 1854.

19. CALILA É DYMNA. Spanish version of No. 4 (? through an unknown Latin version). About 1251. Published in ‘Biblioteca de Autores Españoles,’ Madrid, 1860, vol. 51.

20. CALILA ET DIMNA. Latin version of the last, by Raimond de Beziers, 1313.

21. CONDE LUCANOR. By Don Juan Manuel (died 1347), grandson of St. Ferdinand of Spain. Spanish source not certain.
22. SINBAD THE SAILOR, or Book of the Seven Wise Masters. See Comparetti, ‘Ricerche intorno al Libro di Sindibad,’ Milano, 1869.

23. CONTES ET NOUVELLES. By Bonaventure des Periers, Lyons, 1587.

24. EXEMPLARIO CONTRA LOS ENGAÑOS. 1493. Spanish version of the Directorium.

25. DISCORSE DEGLI ANIMALI. Italian of last, by Ange Firenzuola, 1548.

26. LA FILOSOFIA MORALE. By Doni, 1552. Italian of last but one.

27. North’s English version of last, 1570.

28. FABLES by La Fontaine.

First edition in vi. books, the subjects of which are mostly taken from classical authors and from Planudes’s Æsop, Paris, 1668.

Second edition in xi. books, the five later taken from Nos. 12 and 23, Paris, 1678.

Third edition in xii. books, Paris, 1694.

Table III. The Barlaam and Josaphat Series

[xcv] 1. St. John of Damascus’s Greek Text. Seventh century A.D. First edited by BOISSONADE, in his ‘Anecdota Græca,’ Paris, 1832, vol. iv. Reprinted in Migne’s ‘Patrologia Cursus Completus, Series Græca,’ tom. xcvi, pp. 836-1250, with the Latin translation by BILLY Billy (1535-1577) was Abbot of St. Michael’s, in Brittany. Another edition of his Latin version, by Rosweyd, is also reprinted in Migne, ‘Series Latina,’ tom. lxxiii; and several separate editions have appeared besides (Antwerp, 1602; Cologne, 1624, etc.). in parallel columns. Boissonade’s text is reviewed, and its imperfections pointed out, by SCHUBART (who makes use of six Vienna MSS.) in the ‘Wiener Jahrbücher,’ vol. lxiii.
2. Syriac version of No. 1 exists only in MS.

3. Arabic version of No. 2 exists only in MS., one MS. being at least as old as the eleventh century.

4. Latin version of No. 1, of unknown date and author, of which MSS. of the twelfth century are still extant. There is a black-letter edition (? Spiers, 1470) in the British Museum. It was adopted, with abbreviations in several places, by VINCENTIUS BELLOVICENSIS, in his ‘Speculum Historiale’ (lib. xv. cap. 1-63); by JACOBUS A VORAGINE, in his ‘Legenda Aurea’ (ed. Grässe, 1846); and was reprinted in full in the editions of the works of St. John of Damascus, published at Basel in the sixteenth century. The British Museum copy of the first, undated, edition has the date 1539 written, in ink, on the title-page. Rosweyd, in Note 4 to his edition of Billius (Migne, vol. lxxiii, p. 606), mentions an edition bearing the date 1548. In the British Museum there is a third, dated 1575 (on the last page). From this Latin version all the later mediæval works on this subject are either directly or indirectly derived.

4a. An abbreviated version in Latin of the fourteenth century in the British Museum. Arundel MS. 330, fol. 51-57. See Koch, No. 9, p. xiv.

German: –

5. Barlaam und Josaphat. A poem of the thirteenth century, published from a MS. in the Solms-Laubach Library by L. DIEFENBACH, under the title ‘Mittheilungen über eine noch ungedruckte m.h.d. bearbeitung des B. and J.’ Giessen, 1836.

6. Another poem, partly published from an imperfect MS. at Zürich, by FRANZ PFEIFFER, in Haupt’s ‘Zeitsch. f. d. Alterthum,’ i. 127-135.

7. Barlaam und Josaphat. By RUDOLF VON EMS. Written about 1230. Latest and best edition by FRANZ PFEIFFER, in ‘Dichtungen des deutschen [xcvi] Mittelalters,’ vol. iii., Leipzig, 1843. This popular treatment of the subject exists in numerous MSS.

7. Die Hÿstorí Josaphat und Barlaam. Date and author not named. Black-letter. Woodcuts. Title on last page. Fifty-six short chapters. Quaint and forcible old German. A small folio in the British Museum.

8. Historia von dem Leben der zweien H. Beichtiger Barlaam Eremiten, und Josaphat des König’s in Indien Sohn, etc. Translated from the Latin by the Counts of HELFFENSTEIN and HOHENZOLLERN, München, 1684. In 40 long chapters, pp. 602, 12mo.

Dutch: –

9. Het Leven en Bedryf van Barlaam den Heremit, en Josaphat Koning van Indien. Noo in Nederduits vertaalt door F. v. H., Antwerp, 1593, 12mo.

A new edition of this version appeared in 1672. This is a long and tedious prose version of the holy legend.

French: –

8. Poem by GUI DE CAMBRAY (1200-1250). Edited by HERMANN ZOTENBERG and PAUL MEYER in the ‘Bibliothek des Literarischen Vereins,’ in Stuttgart, vol. lxxv., 1864. They mention, also (pp. 318-325): –

9. La Vie de Seint Josaphaz. Poem by CHARDRY. Edited by JOHN KOCH, Heilbronn, 1879, who confirms the editors of No. 8 as to the following old French versions, 10-15; and further adduces No. 11a.

10. A third poem by an unknown author.

11. A prose work by an unknown author – all three being of the 13th cent.

11a. Another in MS. Egerton, 745, British Museum.

12. A poem in French of the fifteenth century, based on the abstract in Latin of No. 4, by JACOB DE VORAGINE.

13. A Provençal tale in prose, containing only the story of Josafat and the tales told by Barlaam, without the moralizations.

14. A miracle play of about 1400.

15. Another miracle play of about 1460.

Italian: –

16. Vita di san Giosafat convertito da Barlaam. By GEO. ANTONIO REMONDINI. Published about 1600, at Venezia and Bassano, 16mo. There is a second edition of this, also without date; and a third, published in Modena in 1768, with illustrations.

17. Storia de’ SS. Barlaam e Giosafatte. By BOTTARI, Rome, 1734, 8vo., of which a second edition appeared in 1816.

18. La santissima vita di Santo Josafat, figluolo del Re Avenero, Re dell’ India, da che ei nacque per infino ch’ei morì. A prose romance, edited by TELESFORO BINI from a MS. belonging to the Commendatore Francesco de Rossi, in pp. 124-152 of a collection ‘Rime e Prose,’ Lucca, 1852, 8vo. [xcvii]

19. A prose Vita da Santo Josafat. In MS. Add. 10902 of the British Museum, which Paul Mayer (see No. 8) says begins exactly as No. 18, but ends differently. (See Koch, No. 9 above, p. xiii.)

20. A Rappresentatione di Barlaam e Josafat is mentioned by Frederigo Palermo in his ‘I manuscritti Palatini de Firenze,’ 1860, vol. ii. p. 401.

Skandinavian: –

A full account of all the Skandinavian versions is given in Barlaam’s ok Josaphat’s Saga, by C. R. UNGER, Christiania, 1851, 8vo.

Spanish: –

Honesta, etc., historia de la rara vida de los famosos y singulares sanctos Barlaam, etc. By BALTASAT DE SANTA CRUZ. Published in the Spanish dialect used in the Philippine Islands at Manila, 1692. A literal translation of Billius (No. 1).

English: –

In HORSTMANN’S ‘Altenglische Legenden,’ Paderborn, 1875, an Old English version of the legend is published from the Bodleian MS. No. 779. There is another recension of the same poem in the Harleian MS. No. 4196. Both are of the fourteenth century; and of the second there is another copy in the Vernon MS. See further, Warton’s ‘History of English Poetry,’ i. 271-279, and ii. 30, 58, 308.

Horstmann has also published a Middle English version in the ‘Program of the Sagan Gymnasium,’ 1877.

The History of the Five Wise Philosophers; or, the Wonderful Relations of the Life of Jehoshaphat the Hermit, Son of Avenerian, King of Barma in India, etc. By N. H. (that is, NICHOLAS HERICK), Gent., London, 1711, pp. 128, 12mo. This is a prose romance, and an abridged translation of the Italian version of 1600 (No. 16), and contains only one fable (at p. 46) of the Nightingale and the Fowler.

The work referred to on p. xlvi, under the title Gesta Romanorum, a collection of tales with lengthy moralizations (probably sermons), was made in England about 1300. It soon passed to the Continent, and was repeatedly re-written in numerous MSS., with additions and alterations. Three printed editions appeared between 1472 and 1475; and one of these, containing 181 stories, is the source of the work now known under this title. Tale No. 168 quotes Barlaam. The best edition of the Latin version is by H. OESTERLEY, Berlin, 1872. The last English translation is HOOPER’S, Bohn’s Antiquarian Library, London, 1877. The Early English versions have been edited by SIR F. MADDEN; and again, in vol. xxxiii. of the Extra Series of the Early English Text Society, by S. J. H. HERRTAGE.
The Seven Sages (edited by THOMAS WRIGHT for the Percy Society, 1845) also contains some Buddhist tales. [xcviii]

Table IV. Comparison of the Cariyā Piṭaka and the Jātaka Mālā

1. Akitte-cariyaṁ. = Vyāghī-jātakaṁ.
2. Saṁkha-c°. = Śivi-j° (8).
3. Danañjaya-c°. = Kulmāsapiṇḍi-j°
4. Mahā-sudassana-c°. = Śreṣṭhi-j° (21).
5. Mahā-govinda-c°. = Avisajyaśreṣṭhi-j°
6. Nimi-rāja-c°. = Śaśa-j° (10).
7. Canda-kumāra-c°. = Agastya-j°
8. Śivi-rāja-c° (2). = Maitribala-j°
9. Vessantara-c° (9). = Viśvantara-j° (9).
10. Sasa-paṇḍita-c° (6). = Yajña-j°
11. Sīlava-nāga-c° (J. 72). = Sakra-j°
12. Bhuridatta-c°. = Brāhmaṇa-j°
13. Campeyya-nāga-c°. = Ummādayanti-j°
14. Cūla-bodhi-c°. = Suparāga-j°
15. Māhiṁsa-rāja-c° (27). = Matsya-j° (30).
16. Ruru-rāja-c°. = Vartaka-potaka-j° (29).
17. Mātaṁga-c°. = Kacchapa-j°
18. Dhammādhamma-devaputta-c°. = Kumbha-j°
19. Jayadisa-c°. = Putra-j°
20. Saṁkhapāla-c°. = Visa-j°
21. Yudañjaya-c°. = Śreṣṭhi-j° (4).
22. Somanassa-c°. = Buddhabodhi-j°
23. Ayoghara-c° (33). = Haṁsa-j°
24. Bhisa-c°. = Mahābodhi-j°
25. Soma-paṇḍita-c° (32). = Mahākapi-j° (27, 28).
26. Temiya-c°. = Śarabha-j°
27. Kapi-rāja-c° (25, 28). = Ruru-j° (16).
28. Saccahvaya-paṇḍita-c°. = Mahākapi-j° (25, 27).
29. Vaṭṭaka-potaka-c° (16). = Kṣānti-j°
30. Maccha-rāja-c° (15). = Brahma-j°
31. Kaṇha-dipāyana-c°. = Hasti-j°
32. Sutasoma-c° (25, 32). = Sutasoma-j° (25, 32).
33. Suvaṇṇa-sāma-c°. = Ayogṛiha-j° (23).
34. Ekarāja-c°. = Mahiṣa-j°
35. Mahā-lomahaṁsa-c° (J. 94). = Śatapatra-j°

For the above lists see Feer, ‘Etude sur les Jatakas,’ p. 58; Gogerly, Journal of the Ceylon Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society, 1853; and Fausböll, ‘Five Jātakas,’ p. 59; and also above, pp. liii, liv. It will be seen that there are seven tales with identical, and one or two more with similar titles, in the two collections. Editions of these two works are very much required. The Cambridge University Library possesses a MS. of the former, with the various readings of several other MSS. noted, for me, by Dewa Aranolis. [xcix]

Table V. Alphabetical List of Jātaka Stories in the Mahāvastu

Arranged from Cowell and Eggeling’s ‘Catalogue of Buddhist Sanskrit MSS. in the Possession of the Royal Asiatic Society (Hodgson Collection).’

Amarāye karmārakādhītāye jātakaṁ
Mṛigarājño surūpasya-j°
Nalinīye rājakumārīye-j°
Pūrṇasya Maitrāyaṇī-putrasya-j°
Śakuntaka-j° (two with this title)
Śirī-prabhasya miga-rājasya-j°
Śyāma-j° (Car. Piṭ. 33.)
Triṇakunīyaṁ nāma-j°
Upali gaṅga palānaṁ-j°
Vijītāvasya Vaideha-rājño-j°
Yosodharāye hārapradāna-j°
Yosodharāye vyaghrībhūtāya-j°

Table VI. Places at which the Tales were Told

[c] M. Léon Feer has taken the trouble to count the number of times each of the following places is mentioned at the commencement of the Commentary.

Jetavana monastery, 410
Sāvatthi, 6, (= 416)
Veḷmana, 49
Rājagaha, 5
Laṭṭhivanuyyāna, 1 (= 55)
Vesāli, 4
Kosambi, 5
Āḷavī, 3
Kuṇḍāladaha, 3
Kusa, 2
Magadha, 2
Dakkhiṇāgiri, 1
Migadāya, 1
Mithila, 1
By the Ganges, 1

Total = 494
To which we may add from pp. 124-128 below
Kapilavatthu, 4
Total = 498

Table VII. The Bodhisattas

[ci] At his request the Rev. Spence Handy’s ‘paṇḍit’ made an analysis of the number of times in which the Bodhisatta appears in the Buddhist Birth Stories in each of the following characters: –

An ascetic, 83
A king, 85
A tree god, 43
A teacher, 26
A courtier, 24
A brāhman, 24
A king’s son, 24
A nobleman, 23
A learned man, 22
Sakka, 20
A monkey, 18
A merchant, 13
A man of property, 12
A deer, 11
A lion, 10
A wild duck, 8
A snipe, 6
An elephant, 6
A cock, 5
A slave, 5
An eagle, 5
A horse, 4
A bull, 4
Brahma, 4
A peacock, 4
A serpent, 4
A potter, 3
An outcast, 3
An iguana, 3
A fish, 2
An elephant driver, 2
A rat, 2
A jackal, 2
A crow, 2
A woodpecker, 2
A thief, 2
A pig, 2
A dog, 1
A curer of snake bites, 1
A gambler, 1
A mason, 1
A smith, 1
A devil dancer, 1
A student, 1
A silversmith, 1
A carpenter, 1
A water-fowl, 1
A frog, 1
A hare, 1
A kite, 1
A jungle cock, 1
A fairy, 1

Total = 530

Table VIII. Jātakas illustrated in Bas-relief on the Ancient Monuments

[cii] Arranged from General Cunningham’s ‘Stūpa of Bharhut.’

No. – Plate – Title inscribed on the stone – Title in the Jātaka Book

1. xxv. Miga Jākata – Nigrodha-miga Jākata Translated below, pp. 205 [omitted here] and foll. This is one of those which general Cunningham was unable to identify.
2. xxv. Nāga General Cunningham says (p. 52): “The former (Nāga Jātaka, i.e. Elephant jātaka) is the correct name, as in the legend here represented Buddha is the King of the Elephants, and therefore the Jātaka, or Birth, must of necessity have been named after him.” As I have above pointed out (p. xli), the title of each Jātaka, or Birth Story, is chosen not by any means from the character which the Bodhisatta fills in it, but indifferently from a variety of other reasons. General Cunningham himself gives the story called Isīsingga Jātaka (No 7 in the above list), in which the ascetic after which the Jātaka is named is not the Bodhisatta. Jākata – Kakkaṭaka Jākata
3. xxv. Yava-majhakiya Jātaka – ? Not as yet found in the Jātaka book; but Dr. Bühler has shown in the ‘Indian Antiquary,’ vol. i. p. 305, that it is the first tale in the ‘Vṛihat Kathā’ of Guṇadhya (Table I. No 32).
4. xxv. Muga-pakhaya Jākata. – Muga-pakkha Jākata
5. xxvi. Laṭuwa Jākata. – Laṭukikā Jākata
6. xxvi. Cha-dantiya Jākata. – Chaddanta Jākata
7. xxvi. Isi-siṁgiya Jākata. – Isa-siṅga Jākata
8. xxvi. (?) Yambumane-ayavesi Jākata. – Andha-bhūta Jākata
9. xxvii. ? The part of the stone supposed to have contained the inscription is lost. – Kuruṅga-miga Jākata
10. xxvii. Haṁsa Jākata. – Nacca Jākata Translated below, pp 292, 293 [omitted here].
11. xxvii. Kinara Jākata. – Canda-kinnara Jākata It is mentioned below, p. 128, and is included in the Mahāvastu (Table V.), and forms the subject of the carving on one iof the rails at Buddha Gayā (Rajendra Lāl Mitra, pl. xxxiv. Fig. 2).
12. xxvii. ? The part of the stone supposed to have contained the inscription is lost. – Asadisa Jākata
13. xxvii. ? The part of the stone supposed to have contained the inscription is lost. – Dasaratha Jākata
14. xliii. Isi-migo Jākata – ? Not yet found in the Jātaka book.
15. xlvi. Uda Jākata – ? Not yet found in the Jātaka book.
16. xlvi. Secha Jākata – Dūbhiya-makkaṭa.
17. xlvii. Sujāto gahuto Jākata – Sujāta Jākata.
18. Biḍala Jākata & Kukuṭa Jātaka – Kukkuṭa Jākata
19. xlviii. Maghā-deviya Jākata – Makhā-deva Jākata Translated below, pp. 186-188. See also above, p. lxiv.
20. xlviii. Bhisa-haraniya Jākata –?
21. xviii. Vitura-panakaya Jākata There are four distinct bas-reliefs illustrative of this Jātaka. – Vidhūra Jākata
22. xxviii. Janako & Sivala Devi Jākata – Janaka Jātaka

[ciii] There are numerous other scenes without titles, and not yet identified in the Jātaka Book, but which are almost certainly illustrative of Jātaka Stories; and several scenes with titles illustrative of passages in the Nidāna Kathā of the Jātaka Book. So, for instance, Pl. xvi. fig. 1 is the worship in heaven of the Buddha’s Headdress, whose reception into heaven is described below, p. 86; and the heavenly mansion, the Palace of Glory, is inscribed Vejayanto Pāsādo, the origin of which name is explained below, p. 287. Plate xxviii. has a scene entitled ‘Bhagavato Okkanti’ (The Descent of the Blessed One), General Cunningham’s reading of this inscription as Bhagavato rukdanta seems to me to be incorrect, and his translation of it (‘Buddha as the sounding elephant’) to be grammatically impossible. in illustration of Māyā Devī’s Dream (below, pp. 62, 63); and Plate lvii. is a representation of the Presentation of the Jetavana Monastery (below, pp. 130-133). The identifications of Nos. 12 and 13 in the above list are very doubtful.

Besides the above, Mr. Fergusson, in his ‘Tree and Serpent Worship,’ has identified bas-reliefs on the Sanchi Tope in illustration of the Sāma and Asadisa Jātakas (Pl. xxxvi p. 181) and of the Vessantara Jātaka (Pl. xxiv. p. 125); and there are other Jātaka scenes on the Sanchi Tope not yet identified.

Mr. Simpson also has been kind enough to show me drawings of bas-reliefs he discovered in Afghanistān, two of which I have been able to identify as illustrations of the Sumedha Jātaka (below, p. 11-13), and another as illustrative of the scene described below on pp. 125, 126.