The future Buddha may appear as a king, an outcast, a god, an elephant—but, in whatever form, he exhibits some virtue that the tale thereby inculcates. The in northern marks the spot where, according to the Jataka, sacrificed himself to feed tigers. A stupa in, in northwestern, marks where Syama fulfilled his filial duty to his blind parents. The near commemorates the spot where Prince Sattva sacrificed himself to feed baby tigers.

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This collection of some anecdotes and fables depicts earlier incarnations of Siddhartha Gautama. Traditional birth and death dates of Gautama are BC. In all these Buddha Gotama practiced the Dhamma most sincerely; he overcame all difficulties, achieved victory over his adversary and finally attained the supreme status of the Fully-Enlightened One.

The Vessantara-Jataka, is the last and longest birth story of the Bodhisatta before he was born Prince Siddhatha. In this life, he practiced Dana Parama, the perfection of generosity. Paramitas, perfections, the essential factors for attainment of the Buddha-hood, which he had been practicing for many lives, reach their fruition only in this Vessantara life.

The ten most popular Jatakas, in each of which the Bodhisatta is traditionally believed to practice each of the ten perfections. In the first birth of these Jatakas, Temiya-jataka, the Bodhisatta appears as a prince who avoids being called to the throne and pretends to be dumb. Second life, Janaka-jataka, he is the son of a monarch killed in a war against a younger brother, and is born in exile. In the third Jataka, Suvabba jataka, he is born of blind parents, leading an ascetic life.

The fifth Jataka, Mahosadha-jataka, concerns his birth as a wise counselor and judge. In the eighth birth, Nemi-jataka, the Bodhisatta is a king who gives away all he had in alms and then, leaving the throne, goes to the forest where he lived as a hermit. He is popular and wise and acts as a teacher and adviser to the king. In the tenth Jataka, Vessantara-jataka, being born as Vessantara, he typifies man reaching the zenith of his evolutional march towards moral and intellectual perfection and fits to cross the last gap that separates him from Buddha-hood.


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