The first Jataka?

I’ve been taking the opportunity to read Bhikkhu Bodhi’s wonderful (as always!) translation of the Anguttara Nikaya. If you haven’t got it, what are you waiting for?

I noticed a little sutta in the threes, and it struck me that this humble little text is probably the best candidate for the title of the first Jataka story in Buddhism. The text is AN 3.15 Pacetana. There are no known parallels for this text, which is, however, not unusual for the Anguttara Nikaya.

What are the Jatakas?

Jatakas tell of events in the past lives of the Buddha, and sometimes of other personalities from the Buddha’s life. They are everywhere in traditional Buddhism; told in sermons, read to children at bedtime, recited in great ceremonies, depicted in artwork. Yet one of the striking things about Buddhist texts is how few there are in the early teachings. While the Pali tradition alone preserves over 500 stories canonically, and many more in later collections, only a dozen or so are found in the early Nikaya/Agamas. There is an excellent essay on the topic by TW Rhys Davids. It’s a little dated, but still well worth a read. However, Rhys Davids does not notice our current sutta.

I’m greatly struck, in fact, by how few stories there are in the Anguttara (and other Nikayas). Buddhism is one of the greatest story-telling traditions in the world, and yet the Buddha himself seems not to have told many stories at all. The vast majority of suttas are straightforward statements or dialogues on ethics, meditation, and the like. They are often illustrated with similes, and somewhat less frequently with short parables. But there is very little in the way of extended narrative; and most of the narrative that there is is by way of background, not spoken by the Buddha himself. Of course there are exceptions, like the Agganna and Cakkavattisihanada Suttas of the Digha; but few and far between. Why this is, I do not know.

The Pacetana Sutta is another exception. It is a simple story, at the end of which the Buddha identifies himself as the main character, thus qualifying it as a Jataka. While there are several other Jatakas in the early Agamas, most of them contain features that strongly suggest they are of a later date than most of the early Suttas. Alone among the Agama-Jatakas, so far as I can tell, the Pacetana contains a range of features suggesting that it is early.

The Story

Here’s a summary, from the Dictionary of Pali Proper Names. You can find the full translation here.

There was once a king called Pacetana who asked his wheelwright to make a pair of wheels for a battle which was to take place six months later. When but six days remained of this period, only one wheel had been made, but the other was finished within the stipulated time. Pacetana thought that both wheels were alike, but the wheelwright proved to him that the one he had made hurriedly was faulty in various ways, owing to the crookedness of its parts. The Buddha identified himself with the wheelwright and declared that one must be free from all crookedness in order not to fall away from the Dhamma and the Vinaya.

Why is it special?

This is one of those cases where there is not one thing that is particularly unusual. Rather, there are many little details that taken together suggest, to me, that the text is somehow distinctive, and may have originally been, or been considered as, the first Jataka story. Here’s a list of points I noticed.

  1. The king is unknown. He is not a stereotyped king, such as the Brahmadatta found in so many later Jatakas.
  2. The Buddha does not identify himself as a Bodhisatta in the past. This is a common feature of all the early Jatakas. There is no suggestion here that the Buddha in the past knew that he was destined for Awakening, or that he was engaged on a spiritual quest spanning many lives, or indeed that what he did in that life had anything to do with Awakening. In other early Jatakas, in fact, he specifically denies that the practices of those days lead to Awakening. (Bearing this in mind, I won’t refer to him as the Bodhisatta in this discussion.)
  3. While in most canonical Jatakas the Buddha identifies himself as a great king or sage of the past, here the Buddha identifies himself with a lowly chariotmaker. In many other suttas of the Anguttara, the chariotmaker is listed as a lowly, menial occupation like a scavenger, flower-collector, or rubbish-sweeper. (Ven Bodhi’s translation obscures this point somewhat; the translation uses the more distinguished “chariot-maker” here, and “cart-maker” in the other contexts; but the Pali in both cases is rathakara.)
  4. There is a distinct absence of miracles and wonderous events. Even when pressed by the king, the chariotmaker is unable to do his job well. He is clearly constrained by the usual demands of his craft, unlike the near-superhuman abilities of Bodhisattas in many other stories.
  5. The chariotmaker would seem to be engaged in wrong livelihood, or at best an ethically dubious trade: making weapons of war. There are, it is true, many Jatakas of the later periods where the Bodhisatta is depicted as breaking various precepts, but this is still noteworthy. It is also perhaps significant that the chariot, specifically the two-wheeled chariot, was the distinctive war vessel of the Aryan people and was, it seems, the decisive technological innovation that spurred their great success in spreading their culture across the world; as unstoppable as the Wheel of Dhamma itself…
  6. The moral of the story is the importance of gradual development. While not at all unusual in the Suttas, this differs from certain later trends, which emphasized an instantaneous realization.
  7. There is considerable confusion about the name, both of the king and of the sutta. Variants include Pacetana, Sacetana, Paccetana, etc.; and the sutta is sometimes called “Cakkavatti”. This is interesting, since the sutta refers to the “rolling of a wheel”, but not to the “Wheel-turning Monarch”, which is what the Cakkavatti usually refers to. The previous sutta, in fact, mentions the Wheel-turning Monarch. There seems to be some confusion; perhaps—and this is very speculative—the Pacetana Sutta was the kernel from which the idea of the Wheel-turning Monarch was derived.
  8. On the same topic, and on more solid ground, it is very striking that this sutta, which deals with “rolling forth a wheel”, is said to have been set at Benares, in the Deer Park. This is, of course, where the Buddha taught his first sermon, the Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta, the “Rolling Forth of the Wheel of the Dhamma”; and the same words are used here. While some later Suttas were taught there, it was not a very common setting. This detail is even more striking when we realize that very few of the suttas in the Anguttara have a proper setting. In almost all cases they simply have an abbreviated setting, or none at all. When the settings are included, it is usually because they have some special relevance for the teaching. So it seems certain that the setting is significant here. Probably it is meant to establish some connection with the First Sermon. And perhaps it is meant to suggest that this is the First Jataka…
  9. Not only is this the first Sutta in the Anguttara spoken by the Buddha to be given a proper setting, it is the first story told by the Buddha in the Anguttara.
  10. Unlike the later Jatakas and most of the more substantial suttas, this does not have an ABA structure. Rather, the story is told, then the moral is drawn out. Once again, in itself this is nothing spectacular, but it does suggest, however mildly, a lack of systematic revision.
  11. The king converses in quite a familiar manner with his chariotmaker. This doesn’t sound like a magnificent monarch of the Moriyan era, nor yet a legendary king of old. It sounds like a little lordling of a smallish garrison city. The preparations for war are, to say the least, perfunctory: one chariot! Of course, in some ways things are no different today: military contracts still don’t come in on time…
  12. When the wheel is rolled forth, the text speaks of giving the wheel “impetus” to roll. This is, in Pali, abhisaṅkhāra. This term is more normally found in the Pali texts in a more refined, abstract usage, where it is equivalent to cetanā, or intention; in fact, it tends to be used in somewhat technical discussions of kamma and the like. Here it appears in its simpler, older, physical meaning. I wonder whether there is any connection with the king’s name: Pacetana, the “One Whose Will is Done”, perhaps?
  13. Similarly, when describing the flaws in the wheel, the text uses terms in a physical sense that are more often found in a psychological sense in Pali: savaṅkā sadosā sakasāvā. Also kusala is found in its older sense of “skilled” rather than the more familiar ethical sense.
  14. In yet another unusual feature, when the Buddha draws out the moral of the story, he says that if “any bhikkhu or bhikkhuni” sees flaws in themselves, they should abandon them. The inclusion of bhikkhunis like this is very unusual in the Pali texts; a quick search only turns up four or five similar cases. Call me biassed, but I have a suspicion that the editors of the Pali canon, whether by accident or design, excluded the bhikkhunis by default. The Satipatthana Sutta, for example, mentions the bhikkhunis in the Sarvastivada version, not in the Pali. If this is correct, it is another sign that this sutta may be early, and has escaped significant editorial alteration.
  15. The text conforms to the “waxing syllables principle”. This means that in various lists of terms, the words with more syallables come later in the list, such as the phrase I quoted earlier: savaṅkā sadosā sakasāvā. This has been shown in detail by Mark Allon to be an outstanding stylistic feature of the early Pali texts, and an indication of their origin in oral culture.
  16. Perhaps the most significant feature of all is the text’s use of numbers. Just like the Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta, the text is carefully built around a subtly interlocking set of numbers. Where the Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta features “two extremes”, the eightfold path, and the “four noble truths”, in “three rounds” totalling “twelve aspects”, the Pacetana Sutta has the two wheels, each with three parts, each with three potential flaws. These are to be completed in 6 months, but at 6 days short of 6 months only one is done; and the second, poor quality job, is finished in 6 days. The three parts of the wheel parallel the three trainings, each of which also has three potential flaws. While the text doesn’t draw out the connection, it seems a parallel is implied thus: rim=body; spokes=speech; hub=mind. Now, the use of numbers in this way can be seen from a number of angles. But what is this text telling us at its heart: that careful craftsmanship produces a long-lasting, stable wheel. And the long-lasting and stability of the Wheel of Dhamma was indeed one of the major concerns of early Buddhists. I suspect our Sutta is suggesting to us, and perhaps to the early generations of redactors, that well-constructed, formally symmetrical texts, using such mnemonic devices as interlocking numbers to create memorable structures, are the key to preserving the Dhamma.
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33 thoughts on “The first Jataka?

  1. Hi venerable bhikkhu Sujato,

    Maybe not directly tied to this article but sort of. The buddha engaged in making weapons of war in that story which reminds me of a sutta that has some authors questioning The Buddha’s stance on non-violence (not i).

    I can’t find the sutta myself but it’s about the Buddha praising King Pasenadi about having executed those who deserved to be executed and letting live those who deserved to live. The context is extremely important but like i said i can’t find it. I believe it’s from the Majjhima nikaya?

    The issue is raised by Christopher W. Gowans in his book Philosophy of the Buddha: An Introduction.

    Can you shed some light on this because i’m sure this sutta must be about something else.

    with metta,


    • I don’t think there’s any sutta where the Buddha praised a king for executing anyone. There is one place, I believe in the Majjhima, where the Buddha questions someone about whether the king would be able to execute anyone in their realm if they saw fit; the interlocuter agreed that they would, and added that they would have the right to do so (the word for “right” is araha. Perhaps this is what is referred to?

    • I found the sutta, it is MN 89 Dhammacetiya Sutta. It’s about The Buddha praising King Pasenadi’s speech on how disciplined the sangha is compared to his own crowd. The king describes himself as a king that executes those who deserve to be executed. The Buddha is obviously not praising that, he praises the King’s kind words on the peaceful nature of the sangha.

      The author clearly misread the sutta. There is nothing in there about condoning violence!

  2. In other early Jatakas, in fact, he specifically denies that the practices of those days lead to Awakening.

    But weren’t those practices partly what made the difference between his awakening as a sammasambuddha and the awakening of an arahant or paccekabuddha?

    I have another question that’s related to the bodhisatta vow:

    When made the vow of aspiration before the feet of the Buddha Dipankara, did it have force because the Buddha Dipankara blessed it, or was the Buddha Dipankara’s blessing only the result of his having had the ability to see that it would be so?

    • Hi Brc,

      The suttas don’t really say what the difference between a Sammasambuddha and a Paccekabuddha is in terms of their path of practice. Many years ago, Bhante Dhammavuddho pointed out that the passage where the Buddha hesitated to teach after his Awakening doesn’t really make sense if he had already decided long before to become a Sammasambuddha. He suggested that the crucial moment came when, after his Awakening, the Buddha decided to teach. If he had not, he would have been a Paccekabuddha.

      As for the arahant, the Buddha consistently said that the arahants practiced the eightfold path, in exactly the same way that he did. The difference is simply that the Buddha was the first to realize the Dhamma.

      The very idea of the Bodhisatta making an aspiration at the foot of Dipankara in a far past aeon is the result of the development of Buddhist thought many hundreds of years after the Buddha. Ven Analayo has an excellent book that goes into the details, The Genesis of the Bodhisattva Ideal.

    • Dear Bhante,

      Thank you very much for the response and for the reference to Ven Analayo’s book.

      Regarding awakening, I wasn’t thinking of the differences in the path to awakening, but the nature of the awakening after it is achieved. My understanding is that there is a difference between a Buddha’s knowledge and powers upon awakening and those of an arahant. So my question is about whether all the practices of the bodhisatta in previous lives are what makes the difference.

      Also, it is my understanding that, in order for the bodhisatta vow to have effect, it must be made in the presence of a Buddha. Are you saying that there is a difference between what we know about what the Buddha c. 2,500 years ago taught and what the still current Theravada view?

  3. Thanks for your insightful discussion of the Jataka collection, Ajahn, and for drawing my attention to the Pacetana Sutta. I have been enjoying the new translation of the A.N. as well, and I recently began teaching the senior group (8-16 y.o.)at BSW Dhamma School on Sundays. I tell a couple of Jataka stories every week and the children respond to them so positively. I’ll definitely use the Pacetana Sutta example tomorrow. Its such a simple and memorable example.

  4. Seeing so many people eager to translating Suttas and make them access able, it’s seems that the Jataka section is totally forgotten and I guess it would be great to have good translation. Maybe a good place to work on the “raw” and sure a work for a couple of years. I wounder if there is even a proper Pali version of it available. The former “public” sltp does not contain much. I “fear” that this part of the Suttapiṭaka will be soon lost (mixed up) in Pali language, and I guess there was never a “great Sangha update”, or was there with commentary as well?

    Just thought.

    • Dear Johann,

      This is very true, and I have actually discussed this recently with Ven Dhammika. The Jatakas are an amazing source of literature, and perhaps the single most important source of Dhamma for most Theravadins in history. They are currently only available in one complete English translation, which is very outdated, and is often more of a retelling than a literal translation. Elsewhere we find many partial retelling or translations, but the collection as a whole should be available in a public domain, accurate, translation.

      On the other hand, the Jataka stories belong in the commentaries, so do not fit in with the Early Buddhist texts on Suttacentral. We should, indeed, include coverage of the verses (which are canonical), but I am not sure whether the prose commentary belongs on SuttaCentral or not. In any case, it is absolutely a worthwhile project, and I suspect we may find room to support it in one way or another, should someone be willing to take it on.

    • Venerable Bante,

      Some week ago I faced the disappearing of one Jataka website and just started spontaneously to collect what is not lost jet. Out of it, it has grown to “big” thing… Some two weeks ago I was given the German translation, so currently I try to bring it into the ATI format on Just on the way to list all reference links to sltp and the Chaṭṭha Saṅgāyana Tipitaka. In the public sltp version is just the canonical text included and if you look into the text, you see its a mass and it seems that never ever somebody cared to correct the datas. So they seem to be not very reliable. The datas of Chaṭṭha Saṅgāyana in regard of the Sutta Pitaka part of the Jatakas looks good.

      I guess I will need about 2 month till all is proper worked out. And I hope it will be useful for SuttaCentral as well as I would like to dedicate this work also for this use as well. As it is not finished jet, I will wait a little till a forwarding, but if you have any special need. Let me know. I guess the whole list of Jatakas with the references to the single place in both Tipitakas will be finish in two or three days and of course I will try to deliver it for you use as well.

      If somebody is interested in some raw work and has some time, I guess I am out of the greatest mud in about a week and than it would be possible to put more hands into it.

      I always try to keep it a little up to date:

      I don’t not the privacy policy of “SuttaCentral” but if it is non of this nonsensical creative common or GNU or what ever wired and right view destroying license politic, it would be a honor to take away some work, so that you might do some more important things.

      Maybe some translations 🙂 or relaxing and renouncing a little more knowing that all is on the way.

      metta & mudita

      (just like to note, I have as good as no knowledge in regard of the literalistic body of the teaching, just what comes across here and there. And its really sad to see how the Jatakas have been threaded especial in the west and the translations make some popular Western ideas of Dhamma Vinaya clear. Sometimes really funny and I guess it seems to be clear where some phantasy is coming from. But I guess that was also the reason, why it was put aside a little later from the most, as those translation – I know only form laypeople and furthermore more intellectual as practicing laypeople translations – do not fit very well to the meanwhile good translations of the other sutta parts. Enough taught, let work. Your are welcome to get in contact and knock when ever you feel to do. I don’t have any email of yours, so I will try to keep you up to date on your wordpress)

    • Dear Johann,

      This sounds interesting, thanks for the great work!

      We would definitely be interested in this for SuttaCentral, but I can’t say at the moment how it would fit in our list or priorities. Anyway, if you finish what you’re doing on that end, and we can see what to do later. If you want help with some details like correcting punctuation and so on, let us know: we have developed some scripts to do this automatically over any number of files. We can also help with automatically adding diacritical marks to the Pali terms.

      You mentioned about the copyright. Actually, we have a copyright page ready, it is just not uploaded yet. Essentially our policy is this:

      1. Ancient texts are in public domain.
      2. Anything created by SuttaCentral is released under CC0 (equivalent to public doman).
      3. Translations are in accordance with the pre-existing copyright licence, if there is one.

    • Dear Bhante, then I guess it will not possible. Since such ideas as public domain, do not fit to right view and to Buddhas teachings. The most things are given, or scarified.

      It really seems that there a big troubles within the Sangha and some basic understandings. I guess that you even don’t realize that this tendency will make even the literalistic heritage disappear.

      If you have a possibility to stop such idiotic, do it fast. Is the “Sangha” total wired already?

      I can not support nor praise a “public domain and put a “rights” ” project. For such, terrible wrong view is needed at first place.

      How every, you may use all for your work and since you also provide links for accessing outwardly resources, it may be helpful for you to have link list with reference.

      Sorry after all, it’s my endless optimism that I seek good even in the smallest appearance. I should have known it before. Here is a special tendency determining the tradition.

    • Hi Johann,

      I’m not sure what your problem here is. “Public Domain” just means that anyone can use it for anything, there is no control or ownership. CC0 is an attempt to come as close to Public Domain as current laws allow.

    • But all of that should be no lose for you and your indention. After all you can take every thing which is under Public domain as well and you will even not need to feel gratitude for it (at least, you can think you have a right to take). It will be just a little complicated for people who abstain from what is not given, to ever meet the teachings of the Buddha again, as such people would not touch common possession at all.

      But maybe we can modify right thinking a little:

      “And how is one made pure in three ways by mental action? There is the case where a certain person is not covetous. He does not covet the belongings of others and just takes what is in public domain, thinking, ‘O, that what belongs to others would be mine!’ He bears no ill will and is not corrupt in the resolves of his heart. [He thinks,] ‘May these beings be free from animosity, free from oppression, free from trouble, and may they look after themselves with ease!’ He has right view and is not warped in the way he sees things: ‘There is what is given taken under public domain, what is offered given to public domain, what is sacrificed common possession. There are fruits & results of good & bad actions and no fruits form taking what is under public domain. There is this world & the next world, but who cares, we will not remember. Carpe diem as long there is something left!. There is mother & father but we have not ask them for anything and what they did is there stuff.. There are spontaneously reborn beings; there are have maybe been maybe brahmans & contemplatives who, faring rightly & practicing rightly, proclaim this world & the next after having directly known & realized it for themselves.’ This is how one is made pure common in three ways by mental action.”

      AN 10.176

      Note: this is not allowed modification, but since it might make some irritation visible, I guess the author will have no problem with such a showcase. Bold text is added.

    • Hi Johann,

      I’m not sure what your problem here is. “Public Domain” just means that anyone can use it for anything, there is no control or ownership. CC0 is an attempt to come as close to Public Domain as current laws allow.

      Dear Bhikkhu Sujato,

      Yes, I am sure that you don’t understand the problem. People do not understand the different between given and taken. There are agreements within ordinary people (hunters and collectors) how to share the taken from common resources and of cause they need a field of common hunting ground. But in regard to right view, next to what is taken and thrown away , there are gifts, there is what is scarified.

      If you just take form common hunting ground, of course you might be only able to share for the common hunting grounds. If you have received a gift (Note: not everybody as capable to receive a gift), that you will feel responsible for it, take care of it, and share as good possible if you like to share.
      So if you work is dedicated for the common possession, fine. But if you throw all the valued things in the steam of common sense and common use, then you will not receive much valued gifts in the future.

      I don’t know what should be the problem, if you put your work under your “domain” and share it as a gift and not declare it as something free to take.
      The teachings of the Buddha are at least in the “domain” of the Sangha (8 pairs) and you should think twice, if you can act with that possession in this way. If your work is just a worldly work, directed to the world, that everything might be fine and it will stay and lead further in the world.

      If you consciously dedicate your work for the noble Sangha, your mind directed to Nibbana and gratitude for your parents, ancestor, teachers and spiritual teachers as well as object of dedication, your work would be according what you should work for as a Bhikkhu and it would be work and gifts which are acceptable by people who abstain from what is not given. You could even, step by step, clean dirty things, so that a real literary SuttaCentral might be reestablished.

      You should request (which you can not do in direction of everybody, specially lay people) the use, receive it consciously and dedicate it proper.

      How can you ever teach basics to laypeople, if you do not value basic things for your self?

      It would be not easy to recollect the teachings in a righteous way but it is the not easy that makes a person and an undertaking a special.

      Of course, that all does not mean that we will forget about the hungry ghost and of course everything is dedicated for them as well. Those who have given in previous existences will be able to nourish on it as well.

      Bhikkhu! Receive consciously and share and give consciously with whom you are ever allowed!! These are furthermore not all!

      One fault causes 100 other faults and the stream will not end till we don’t abstain from the fault at first place.

      I would really be happy to be able to dedicate all my work for SuttaCentral if it would be not clearly outside the frame of the Sangha and clearly dedicated in direction of the world and not Nibbana.

      If you give,
      give with mudita dedicated for Buddha, Dhamma, Sangha and the direction Nibbana
      give with karuna dedicated for those who do not have found refugee in the 3 gems yet
      give with metta dedicated for those not capable to receive your gift
      give with upekkha dedicated for those who even develop ill will out of your gift.

      It is not possible to make a dirty stream clear with a little cup of clear water, but it is possible to scoop, with patient and step by step, some clean water on the fordable and silent places of a dirty stream.

      And if people recognize your good work, they will even share there stored water bottles, thinking: “This righteous acting person with understanding the basics of right view, is worthy to receive gifts”, let us dedicate it for the Sangha and let us assume him as a part of them.

      Stay on earth and leave stupid ideas of common rights and equality.

      Let me know as soon as Stutta – de – central has grown to SuttaCentral, has an owner and a worthy object to dedicate gifts. It would be really outstanding to find such in our now day wired grown world. “You can!…”


    • Maybe useful for one and the other, to understand the basics. I once wrote some words and they have been generously translated by Moritz R. into English as well: “Labour makes (you) free!?” Giving, taking and the “new” world. May you be able to receive this gift even it is not the cream but still can nourish you well.

      Don’t forget after you have done some work the traditional dedication, and if it does not fit to your work, don’t share it.

      Puññassidāni katassa
      Yānaññāni katāni me
      Tesañca bhāgino hontu

      May all beings — without limit, without end —
      have a share in the merit just now made,
      and in whatever other merit I have made.

      Ye piyā guṇavantā ca
      Mayhaṃ mātā-pitādayo
      Diṭṭhā me cāpyadiṭṭhā vā
      Aññe majjhatta-verino;

      Those who are dear & kind to me —
      beginning with my mother & father —
      whom I have seen or never seen;
      and others, neutral or hostile;

      Sattā tiṭṭhanti lokasmiṃ
      Te-bhummā catu-yonikā
      Saṃsarantā bhavābhave:

      beings established in the cosmos —
      the three realms, the four modes of birth,
      with five, one, or four aggregates —
      wandering on from realm to realm:

      Ñātaṃ ye pattidānam-me
      Anumodantu te sayaṃ
      Ye cimaṃ nappajānanti
      Devā tesaṃ nivedayuṃ.

      If they know of my dedication of merit,
      may they themselves rejoice,
      And if they do not know,
      may the devas inform them.

      Mayā dinnāna-puññānaṃ
      Sabbe sattā sadā hontu
      Averā sukha-jīvino

      By reason of their rejoicing
      in my gift of merit,
      may all beings always live happily,
      free from animosity.

      Khemappadañca pappontu
      Tesāsā sijjhataṃ subhā.

      May they attain the Serene State,
      and their radiant hopes be fulfilled.

    • Venerable Bhante Sujato,

      it needed a little longer as estimated. In the attached link you may find an excel file “Index Jataka references in Pali resources and Translations (English, German)” incl. all proper names of Jatakas and Jataka Vaṇṇanās listed in the SLTP as well as in the CSCD. Furthermore there are all possible links to the certain stories or suttas in the Suttapitaka as well as to the Aṭṭhakathā. The reference SLTP file is located on but the same links work as well with the path of The references are to the page number of the sltp. In regard of the CSCD, there are two links. One which refers to the original on (since the files have only anchors at the paragraphs, the fist paragraph = gatha after the headline was used. Note: since the attribute is under “name” it may not work for html5) the second refers to given Sangha edition of CSCD on (kindly provided by Vipassana Institute) and has anchors (“id”) direct at the headline of each Jataka. This version is accessible for all monastics and Aramika (you need to register) and not public available.
      Furthermore the list includes the links to the German translation of Dr. Dutoit on and to the kindly given version on (not uploaded, will be full available end of the month) and links to the English translations edited by Robert Chalmers, various Translator on and on (not uploaded, will be full available end of the month). Also included are the “teaser” texts to each story in both languages. And some other maybe useful info.

      Venerable Bhante, may you have good use of it. This work and edition is specially dedicated for the Sangha and may you accept it and take it as procedure documentation and support for Sangha work. Please understand that nothing is (except what has already made to such) dedicated to make such as “common domain” out of it, as such is not proper with consciously Sangha gifts, consciously Dana and even Sangha property.

      In the case I find any errors or some editions will be made, I will upload a new version and I guess it would be good to inform you as well.

      Index Jataka references in Pali resources and Translations (English, German)

      If it is not useful and/or helpful for you and the Sangha, never mind and please to not think much further on it there are for sure also other ways and even better and I am aware of it.

      I guess in the next days the complete indexes will be available as html on ZzE as well.


    • You wanted to say “Sadhu!”? Ok is for sure ok but no need to speak common language 🙂 speak Dhamma. *smiling shaking the head* sigh. Nothing to thanks. Wish you to have more aspiration to spend time a little aside of common ways and common domains. People around and you own heart need that, not the common stuff.

  5. Dear Bhante Sujato,

    Sukhihotu, may this message finds you well and happy. This enquiry is not part of the above-discussed subject. Would you kindly shed some light on what is the typical application process, for an aspirant for monkshood at Ajahn Brahm’s monastry, to get enrolled as a candidate naga? Could a foreigner who is not an Australian PR apply to be a candidate naga?

    Thank you and with metta. Sadhu.

    • Dear HT,

      A timely question, indeed: just last night we ordained three samaneras as bhikkhus! Including Ven Nandiya, my old student from Santi, and a close collaborator on SuttaCentral, as well as two other very dedicated and inspiring young men, Lokahita from Korea, and Sankappa from Melbourne.

      If you’re interested to ordain, best to first check out the website. The normal course is that a candidate comes, stay for a few months, and then takes precepts as an anagarika. After about a year, all being well, they will ordain as a novice, and a year later as a bhikkhu. Then they are expected to stay with Ajahn Brahm for usually five years. There is of course some flexibility in all this, but generally that is how it works. So the best thing is to not think about it too much: whatever you think, it will be different! If you have the chance, come to stay for a while and see how it goes.

      If you’re coming from overseas there is the added complication of visas. Over half the Sangha here is on a visa of some kind, but it is a requirement of those visas that if it comes to a choice we have to give preference to local candidates. In any case, it usually seems to work out okay.

    • Dear Bhante Sujato,

      Sukhi hotu Bhante, pardon me should this is not the proper channel for such an enquiry. I tried writing to dm… but the email doesn’t seem to be valid. I would like to inquire whether Bodhiyana monastry accepts visitor for self-retreat (for a week or so in early August) during the coming Vassa, and would you be able to direct me to the right email contact for further correspondence.

      many thanks and metta always.

    • Hi HT,

      probably best to use, I guess. But we are very full for the vassa, so there is no chance you could stay at Bodhinyana. It may be possible to stay at Jhana Grove, however, so best contact there.

  6. Dear Bhante Sujato,

    Sukhihotu, thank you very much for the information. Certainly I would take up a sojourn or retreat at Bodhiyana as soon as the conditions allow. It seems like the waiting list for anagarika is circa one year or so. From the information I gleaned, although rooted from forest shanga tradition, there is a strong emphasis on samatha practice and sutta studies at Bodhiyana, which I am much inclined to.

    Thanks heaps Johann for the additional info, that helps a lot; and yes, I can do all three tasks.

    May you always be well and happy. Sadhu.

    • I hope you can see the ironic, otherwise you would be smart if you study the Vinaya a little before you stick to any Nissaya, which might be one who is not allowed to be one.

      If a Monk request you to do anything that is not allowed, don’t do. Vinaya, Dhamma, Sangha and Buddha is authoritative not any self declared teacher.

      All three things are not allowed for monks and they are also not allowed to give others such a task on request.

  7. Do anybody know of an English translation of the “Introductory story”, such as the story of Buddha Sujāto? 🙂

    Nāradabuddhassa aparabhāge ekaṃ asaṅkhyeyyaṃ atikkamitvā ito satasahassakappamatthake ekasmiṃ kappe ekova padumuttarabuddho nāma udapādi. Tassāpi tayo sāvakasannipātā ahesuṃ. Paṭhame koṭisatasahassabhikkhū ahesuṃ, dutiye vebhārapabbate navutikoṭisahassāni, tatiye asītikoṭisahassāni. Tadā bodhisatto jaṭilo nāma mahāraṭṭhiyo hutvā buddhappamukhassa bhikkhusaṅghassa sacīvaraṃ dānaṃ adāsi. Sopi naṃ ‘‘anāgate buddho bhavissasī’’ti byākāsi. Padumuttarassa pana bhagavato kāle titthiyā nāma nāhesuṃ. Sabbe devamanussā buddhameva saraṇaṃ agamaṃsu. Tassa nagaraṃ haṃsavatī nāma ahosi, pitā ānando nāma khattiyo, mātā sujātā nāma devī, devalo ca sujāto ca dve aggasāvakā, sumano nāmupaṭṭhāko, amitā ca asamā ca dve aggasāvikā, salalarukkho bodhi, sarīraṃ aṭṭhapaṇṇāsahatthubbedhaṃ ahosi, sarīrappabhā samantato dvādasa yojanāni gaṇhi, vassasatasahassaṃ āyūti.

    ‘‘Nāradassa aparena, sambuddho dvipaduttamo;

    Padumuttaro nāma jino, akkhobho sāgarūpamo’’ti.


    ….Die Stadt dieses Erhabenen hieß Sumangala, der König Uggata war sein Vater, Pabhavati hieß seine Mutter, Sudassana und Deva waren seine ersten Schüler, Narada hieß sein Aufwärter, Naga und Nagasamala waren seine ersten Schülerinnen, ein großer Bambusbaum war sein Erkenntnisbaum. Dieser hatte nur kleine Löcher und einen festen Stamm; mit seinen oberen großen Zweigen erglänzte er wie ein Bündel Pfauenfedern. Der Körper dieses Erhabenen war fünfzig Ellen hoch, sein Alter betrug neunzigtausend Jahre.

    [§234] „In diesem selben Mandakalpa [77]
    erstand Sujata jetzt als Führer; mit Löwenkiefern,
    Stieresschultern, unmessbar, schwer auch zu erreichen.“

    <a href=" story of Buddha Sujata

    …The city of the Blessed one was named Sumangala, the king Uggata was his father, Pabhavati was the name of his mother, Sudassana and Deva have been his first disciples, Narada was his steward, Naga and Nagasamala have been his first female disciples, a big bamboo tree was his tree of insight. This had only small holes and a firm trunk, with its upper branches it gleamed like a bunch of peacock feathers. The body of the Blessed one war fifty cubit tall and his age counted ninety thousand years.

    [§234] “In this certain Mandakalpa,
    arose Sulato now as leader, with lion jaws,
    bull scapular, unmeasurable, and throughout difficult to reach.”

    (amateurish quick translation)

  8. I even thought of making a “own” translation. I already know the introduction words:

    “After the body of the traditional conduct got lost, because people have been not capable to practice the conduct, a tradition of scripture culture came into being. After a while, the body of scriptures also vanished, as all have been to busy and attached to gossip, lower topic and with politics of the day. So sadly there are only poor translations for “outsiders” left and those are not so well translated. But maybe after the lost of the conduct body of Dhamma-Vinaya and the doctrinal body of the Dhamma-Vinaya we will find some refugee in what we find under common license. We have no other hope and refuge. Sadly even the poor translations are under certain copy rights and not available for people used to simply take.”

    I appreciate the when “i don’t know arises”. It forces for a seek on other places, away from the outside.

    Maybe it’s time for some rock’n’roll. Do you knew Gotthard? 😉

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