Khuddaka Nikæya

(10) Jætaka Pæđi

Birth-stories of the Buddha

These are stories of the previous existences of Gotama Buddha, while he was as yet but a Bodhisatta. The Jætaka is an extensive work in verses containing five hundred and forty-seven stories or previous existences as recounted by the Buddha, (usually referred to in Burma as 550 stories). The treatise is divided into nipætas according to the number of verses concerning each story; the one verse stories are classified as Ekaka Nipæta, the two verse stories come under Duka Nipæta etc. It is the commentary to the verses which gives the complete birth-stories.

In these birth-stories are embedded moral principles and practices which the Bodhisatta had observed for self-development and perfection to attain Buddhahood.