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16060Jataka = Birth Stories? (Re: [Pali] Re: Vimaanavatthu)

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  • Kumara Bhikkhu
    Jul 7, 2013
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      You got it right. The actual Jataka text consists of only verses. You
      may notice that sometimes the story does not even gel with the
      verses. The rather strained connection gives the impression of a
      force fit. The is parallel to the Dhammapada verses and the stories
      that are attached to them.

      While the word Jataka has popularly been translated as Birth Stories,
      per se it only means "born; arisen". My teacher, Bhante Aggacitta,
      said that it originally probably refers to the verses that has
      spontaneously arisen in the mind of the person/people who uttered these words.

      Btw, I'd like to invite you all to www.Dhammawheel.com. It's a better
      platform for discussions, and more active.


      tharpachozang wrote thus at 01:10 AM 29-06-13:

      >A follow-up:
      >I just start reading PTS's big three-volume translation of the
      >Jatakas. 95% of the time, PTS is honest about their titles. If a
      >book is part of the Tipitika, then the translation is only a
      >translation of the Tipitika, uncorrupted by commentary. Certainly
      >the translators refer to the commentaries when making their
      >translations, sometimes overriding them, and sometimes there's a
      >little bit of commentary in the footnotes, which is great, but
      >there's no way anyone could mistake commentary for Tipitika.
      >Reaching the Khuddhaka, I was surprised to discover that the PTS
      >Vimaanavatthu translation was not just Tipitika, but had commentary
      >mixed in. When I started reading the PTS Jataka translation, and
      >got to the eighth sutta and it seemed to be speaking in the
      >translator's voice, I became suspicious and got out my trusty DPR
      >and came to the startling conclusion that the Jatakas are only a few
      >verses each, having nothing to do with previous incarnations. The
      >fat three-volume set is mostly commentary. A translation of the
      >Jatakas would be a single slim volume.
      >This was startling to me because I had always heard that the Jatakas
      >are about previous incarnations of the bodhisatta, and now I realize
      >that that's just commentary. The Jatakas themselves are just a few
      >verses each, similar to the Dhammapada, etc. Nina suggested that the
      >Jataka verses might be older, but I hadn't realized that only the
      >verses were in the Tipitika.
      >I hope that one day a translation of the Jatakas free of commentary
      >is produced. For now I will just read the verses and skip over the commentary.
      >If I'm mistaken about this that only the verses are in the Tipitika,
      >then correct me, but I've double-checked on Metta.lk and the Jatakas
      >appear to be very small and only the verses.
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