Guide to Tipitaka
Canonical Pâli Buddhist Literature of the Theravâda School
Part 10 - Jataka Pali
Birth-stories Of The Buddha
These are stories of the previous existences of Gotama Buddha, while he was as yet but a Bodhisatta The Jataka is an extensive work in verses containing five hundred and forty-seven stones or previous existences as recounted by the Buddha, (usually referred to in Burma as 550 stories) The treatise is divided into nipatas according to the number of verses concerning each story, the one verse stones are classified as Ekaka Nipata, the two verse stories come under Duka Nipata etc. It is the commentary to the verses which gives the complete birth-stories
In these birth-stories are embedded moral pnnciples and practices which the Bodhisatta had observed for self-development and perfection to attain Buddhahood.