The Illustrated Jataka & Other Stories of the Buddha by C.B. Varma
|The Abhidhamma Pitaka||
deals with the philosophy and psychology of the Theravada school of Buddhism.
The “theravada”, however,
refers to that school of Buddhism which, supposedly “adhere to the most
original and purest form of the Buddhist teachings”, advocated by those
theras (monks) who obtained the erudition directly through the Master.
Further, they used the bhasa Magadhika
or the mula bhasa (the original
language) to record the original text
or the pariyaya, (the text of
the canons). The term pariyaya,
however, when abbreviated became ‘pari’ or ‘pali’; and in course of time
was applied to denote the language of the entire gamut of the canons;
and the exegeses and other compositions on those texts having the same
The other two Pitakas or the collection of the Buddhist canons are the Vinaya Pitaka (Collection of the codes and conducts for the monks and nuns) and Sutta Pitaka (the collection of the discourses of the Buddha).
who has attained the third stage in the process of the break up of the samyojanas
or the worldly fetters so that one would not be reborn on the sensuous plane
or the earth but may be reborn in the highest heaven to attain Arahataship.
|Anomadassi||One of the Buddha|
|Arati||One of the three daughter of Mara, which literally means Discontent.|
who has completely destroyed the worldly fetters or samyojanas and thus has
attained perfection in the Buddhist sense by realising the Nibbana (Absolute
|Asoka||The third century emperor of a large part of India with the capital in ancient Patna. Often considered as the greatest of all monarchs of all times whether Indian or foreign. He was the chief patron of Buddhism who spread it in several parts of Asia. Historically, the foundation of the city of Sri Nagar in Kashmir is also ascribed to him.|
of the Buddha
Buddha is a generic and appelative name, which must not be confused with
a proper name. The term has a definite connotation, which refers to “one
who has attained Enlightenment”. The Pali commentaries mention four categories
of the Buddha, first being the category of the Sabbannu Buddhas or the
Omniscient Buddhas, which refers to the class of the Enlightened Buddhas,
who preach for the Nibbana for the others. The second category of the
Buddhas is that of the Paccheka Buddhas, who are also Enlightened but
do not preach for the spiritual evolution of the others. The third group
of the Buddhas commonly designated by Chatusaccha Buddhas refers to the
arahantas (i.,e., those who
have destroyed their defilements or asavas); and finally the category of the Bahussuta Buddhas refers
to the learned ones.
The Pali tradition gives
the list of twenty-four Buddhas who were born before Sakyamuni Buddha
or popularly known Gotama Buddha (Sanskrit: Gautama Buddha). They are
Dipankara, Kondanna, Mangala, Sumana, Revata, Sobhita, Anomadassi, Paduma,
Narada, Paduma Uttara, Sumedha, Sujata, Piyadassi, Atthadassi, Dhammadassi,
Siddhattha, Tissa, Phussa, Vipassi, Sikhi, Vessabhu, Kakusandha, Konagamana,
the above tradition also adds the names of three Buddhas, namely, Tanhankara,
Medhankara and Sarankara, who were born before Dipankara Buddha.
Buddhavamsa gives the particulars of each of the Buddhas with the
details on their first sermons; aura of their bodies; description as to
which Bodhisatta became which Buddha and so on. (see Buddhavamsa Atthakatha for more details).
Lalitavistara gives a list of fifty-four Buddhas; and the Mahavastu
tenders a list of over hundred Buddhas.
Chakkavatti Sihanada Sutta of the Digha Nikaya gives the particulars of
Metteya Buddha or the Future Buddha. (The Sanskritised version of Metteya
is Maitreya). Further, the Anagatavamsa
gives a detailed account of the Future Buddha. Some Singhalese commentaries,
however, come out with a list of another nine Future Buddhas in addition
to Metteya. They are Uttama, Rama, Pasenadai Kosala, Abhibhu, Dighasoni,
Sankaccha, Subha, Todeya, and Nalagiri Palaleyya.
|Bodhi tree||tree of Enlightenment. Gotama Buddha attained Enlightenment under the pipal tree (or ficus religiosa belonging to the family Moraceae).|
|Bodhisatta in Pali Tradition||
of every Jataka story is the Bodhisatta, which means a being who aspires
to achieve the bodhi or Englightenment
to become a Buddha. Further, after resolving thus without declaring his
intention to others, i.e., manopanidhi
he makes a solemn resolution before a Buddha (abhiniharakarana
or mulanidhana) for the
welfare and liberation of all creatures. As regard to Gotama Buddha his
abhinihara was made before Dipankara
Buddha; and at that time his name was Sumedha. The Buddha then approves
of the abhinihara by the declaration
(vyakarana) that the Bodhisatta
shall become a Buddha. Then the Bodhisatta seeks to achieve the Buddhakarakadhamma (the qualities of the Buddhahood). These he discovers
in ten perfections (dasa-parami),
namely, dana (charity), sila
(right-conduct), nekkhama, panna
(wisdom), viriya (steadfastness), khanti
(forbearance), saccha (truthfulness),
aditthana, metta (loving compassion),
In the case of Sumedha Bodhisatta, who became Gotama Buddha, these perfections
were best exemplified in Ekaraja, Khantivadi, Chulla Sankhapala, Maha
Janaka, Mahasutasoma, Mugapakkha, Lomahamsa, Sattubhattaka, Sasa and Sutasoma
a Bodhisatta has to develop four bhumis,
namely, ussaha or viriya (zeal),
ummagga or panna (wisdom), avatthana
or adhitthana (resolution) and
hitachariya or metta (compassion). Then he practices six ajjhasayas or the factors conducive to the maturing of the bodhi.
The greatest scholar of the Pali literature. Born in Bodh Gaya in the
fifth century AD. He wrote commentaries on most of the texts of the Tipitaka.
He translated many Singhalese commentaries into Pali. His mangnum
opus is the Visuddhimagga,
which is regarded as the “Encyclopedia of Buddhism”.
|Bodhisattva (The Mahayana Traditions)||
Each of the Mahayana schools,
namely, Paramita, Yoga and Anuttara have their unique views of the Buddhas
and the Bodhisattvas. Yet for all practical purposes it may be said that
they believe in the Adi Buddha (having no beginning and no end). The union
of the Adi Buddha and the Adi Prajna (Wisdom-having-no-beginning-and-no-end)
accounts for the hierarchies of the Buddhist deities.
it is believed that there are five Dhyani Buddhas immersed in deep meditation.
They are Vairochana, Aksobhya, Ratnasambhava, Amitabha and Amoghasiddhi,
which also refer to the families (kula)
of the Anuttara Tantra. Vajradhara is further added as the sixth family,
which is believed to be of the highest kind. It may be noted that there
are varieties of Tantras according to the various families; and kriyas. Eventually, there are Tantras embodying evocations (sadhana)
and rites (vidhi) specifically meant for the individual families as well
as for the families in general. Each of the family has a kulesha or lord
of the family (Progenitor) and the progeny (kulika). In the above system
of Tantra Vairochana is the Progenitor and Victor (Jina). The deities
and their transformations created by his mudra (seal) are his progeny.
five families of the Yoga Tantra are Tathagata, Ratna, Padma, Karma and
Vajra. The family of the Tathagata is the highest.
back to the five Dhyani Buddhas, who do not take part in the affairs of
the world. They are seldom portrayed individually. They may appear on
the tiara of the male and the female divinities emanated from them or
round their heads in group of five. All the five Dhyani Buddhas are shown
seated in Vajrasana, when the legs are closely crossed and locked and
soles are visible. Each of the five Dhyani Buddhas has his unique distinctive
mark and characteristics. For example, Varirochana is white; Akshobhya
is blue; Ratnasambhava is yellow; Amitabha is red; and Amoghasiddhi is
green. Further, each represents a direction and has a representative element
and a sense-corresponding object.
|Brahamana/brahmin||a priestly caste, which the Buddha never accepted on the theory of birth.|
a favourite Indian bird for the poets for comparison with the lover having
lost his beloved.
|Chakkavala||the world-system. The Pali tradition believes that there are ten thousand world-systems, which sustain life like ours.|
|Deva||radiant beings. Wrongly translated as God.|
|Chitrakuta||In the Jataka context this is a mountain peak in the Himalayan region, which does refer to the mountain peak of the central India.|
who compiled and recited the Digha Nikaya (a book of the Sutta Pitaka) which
contains the discourses of large size.
|Dhammadasvsi||One of the Buddha|
latter two pitakas, collectively called the ‘Dhamma’ (or the doctrine),
are the collection of the recitations given by the thera Ananda (the closest
disciple of the Buddha) in the same council. The recitations of the aforementioned
two monks, as a matter of fact, are the answers by way of the explanations
and elucidations to the questions posed by the President of the council
- Mahathera Mahakassapa.
|Dhyani (Meditating) Buddhas||A Dhyani Buddha is one who does not take part in the affairs of the world. The five Dhyani Buddhas are Vairochana, Aksobhya, Ratnasambhava, Amitabha and Amoghasiddhi, who also refer to the families (kula) of the Anuttara Tantra. Vajradhara is computed as the sixth family, which is believed to be of the highest class. A Dhyani Buddha is seldom portrayed individually. He may appear on the tiara of the male and the female divinities emanated from them or round their heads in a group of five. All the five Dhyani Buddhas are shown seated in Vajrasana, legs being closely crossed and locked and the soles visible.|
|Dipankara||One of the Buddha|
Khandha (Aggregate Mara), Kilesa (Defilement) Mara, Abhisankhara (Accumulated Karma) Mara, Macchu (Death) Mara, and Devaputta (four archangels of Yama). Mara is called Namuchi as no one can escape him. He is called Vasavatti, because “he rules all”. Whenever, he finds some one treading the path of virtuosity he creates obstacles and hindrances.
|Kakusandha||One of the Buddha|
|Kassapa||One of the Buddha|
|Khattiya/Ksatriya||One of the four varnas of the traditional Indian society designative to the warrior class.|
|Kokanada Lute|| It
is called so perhaps because it has a colour of red lotus or it is derived
from the name of the country where it originated. See Kusa Jataka No.531.
|Konagamana||One of the Buddha|
|Kondanna||One of the Buddha|
|Mahavamsa||A Sinhalese chronicle and a principal source for the construction of the history of ancient India. This chronicle presents the history of India, particularly of Chanakya, Chandra Gupta Maurya and Ashoka the Great and so on. It may be pointed out that without the existence of these chronicles, we would not have known the history of ancient India, particularly down to the Mauryan Age.|
One of the Buddha
story of Mara
|Matanga|| the world’s first
crusader against the untouchability. See Matanga
future Budddha. See Metteya.
|Nagas||Serpants with spiritual powers and not the ordinary snakes|
|Niddesa||a book of the Khuddakanikaya, generally, ascribed to Sariputta and Mahakacchana.|
|Paccheka Buddha|| A
Paccheka Buddha is one who has attained the supreme and perfect insight
but dies without proclaiming the truth to the world. He is, therefore, called
“the Silent Buddha.
|Paduma||One of the Buddha|
|Padumav||One of the Buddha|
|Panna||(Sanskrit: Prajna): wisdom.|
|Panchavaggiya bhikkhus|| The five monks,
who first learnt the teachings of the Buddha in Sarnath and became his first
followers. They were the companions of the Buddha when he practised penance
in Uruvela before his Enlightenment.
unique qualities of the Buddhahood (Buddhakarakadhamma)
to be developed by a Bodhisatta by way of ten perfections or parami-s,
namely, dana (charity), sila (right-conduct),
nekkhama (dispassionateness), panna (wisdom), viriya (steadfastness),
khanti (forbearance), saccha
(truthfulness), aditthana (pledge),
metta (loving compassion), upekkha
(non-attachability). The Bodhisatta’s struggle for those perfections are
well exemplified in Ekaraja, Khantivadi, Chulla Sankhapala, Maha Janaka,
Mahasutasoma, Mugapakkha, Lomahamsa, Sattubhattaka, Sasa and Sutasoma Jatakas.
|Paticcasamuppada|| the Buddhist theory
of causality. See C.B.Varma, A Concise
Encyclopedia of Early Buddhist Philosophy for details.
|Pataliputta||(Sanskritised: Pataliputta; modern Patna). The capital of the Mauryans (321 B.C.185 B.C.)|
|Phussa||One of the Buddha|
|Pitaka||The Buddhist canons, namely, Vinaya Pitaka, Sutta Pitaka and Abhidhamma Pitaka. Jataka is one of the fifteen texts of the Khuddaka Nikaya, which is a book of short (khuddhaka) discourses of the Buddha.|
|Piyadassi||One of the Buddha|
|Raga|| One of the three
daughter of Mara, which literally means Lust.
|Revata||One of the Buddha|
of Truth. To obtain the desired result the force of an act is invoked.
|Sakidagami||the second step towards the Arahatahood in course of the destruction of the samyojanas or fetters. A Sakidagami is born for the maximum of one birth on the earth.|
|Sal||Assakarni; Shorea rubusta gaertin belonging to the family of Dipterocarpaceae.|
|Sal||a kind of tree.|
|Shastras||the scriptures or the works on some knowledge systems.|
|Siddhattha||One of the Buddha|
|Sikhi||One of the Buddha|
|One of the Buddha|
|Sotapanna||the first step towards the Arahatahood in course of the destruction of the samyojanas or fetters. A Sotapanna is born for the maximum of seven births on the earth.|
|Sujata||One of the Buddha|
|Sukara-maddava||“Sukara-maddava” served to the Budddha before his death is sometimes interpreted as the “pig’s meat”. But such inference cannot be conclusive because sukara-sali means “wild rice”; and maddava (Skt. Maardava, derived from mridu, means “sweet”)]. The Pali-English Dictionary (T.W.Rhys Davids & William Stede pp.721; 518-19) interprets maddava as “soft”; and “withered” [or parched]. So, it is quite likely that the food, which the Buddha took before his death was the parched rice (bhoonja, a popular food-item of north Bihar and Eastern Uttara Pradesh, where the Buddha breathed his last. Besides, the Buddha had categorically condemned the profession of the pork-butcher Chunda Sukarika, who had to grunt like a pig for seven days before his death because of his cruel profession; and was finally “consumed by the fire of the hell”. [See Dhammapada Atthakatha i.105 ff]. Last but not least, the rules for the acceptance of the food in the Buddhist order were very severe those days. For example, Sariputta was allowed to take the garlic just for the medical reason).|
|Sumana||One of the Buddha|
|Sumedhav||One of the Buddha|
of the three daughter of Mara, which literally means Craving.
|Tavatimsa||The heavenly world where the Buddha first taught the Abhidhamma.|
|Tinduka tree||diosperos embryopteris.|
|Tissa||One of the Buddha|
military science, music and architecture.
|Uposatha||The sacred day of the Buddhists for the recitation of the Patimokkha; and fasting.|
|Uttara||One of the Buddha|
Wind; also reckoned as one of the devas like Agni etc.
|Vassavasa||Literally means, “dwelling place for the rainy-season”. A monk is not supposed to undertake a journey in the rainy season; and is bound by the rule of the order to spend the season in a fixed place.|
|Vessabhu||One of the Buddha|
|Vidyadhara||The fairest women believably dwelling in the Himalayan region and possessing the power of special sciences to perform spells|
deals with the Buddhist codes and conduct and may be regarded as the Corpus of the Discipline. It supposedly records the recitations made by the thera Upali in the council.
|Vipassi||One of the Buddha|
non-human being often identified with ogres or ghosts with varied appearances
with great supernatural powers. See ‘The Man who Read Foot-Prints’.
Lord of Death.
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