Saturday, April 11, 2015

Guide: Monkey Stories

This is a guide to Monkey Stories: Jataka Tales of Wile and Wisdom (Volume 543). You can find it at Amazon.

Bizzell Reserves call number: PN 6790 .I443 A437 v.543



In the commentary below, I have provided links so that you can compare the comic book version with other accounts of the story and/or important background information. Make sure you read the comic-book version AND explore some of the additional reading listed based on what interests you most, and then you will be ready to write your Diary post. Doing the reading and writing the blog post will take 1-2 hours.

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THE MONKEY KING'S SACRIFICE. This is a story about what happens to the monkeys who live in a mango grove when people discover the delicious mango fruit.
Additional Reading. This story is based on the Maha Kapi Jataka. You can read an English translation of the ancient Pali version at Sacred Texts. Here is how the Buddha explains the birth at the end of his telling of the story: After the lesson, the Master declared the Truths and identified the Birth: "At that time the king was Ānanda, the monkey's retinue the assembly, and the monkey-king myself."
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THE STUPID CROCODILE AND THE MONKEY. Notice how Mrs. Crocodile tries to dissuade Mr. Crocodile from hunting the monkey: "Oh please! Not again. We've tried it too many times before." But Mr. Crocodile, naturally, does not heed her good advice.
Additional Reading. This story is based on the Vanarinda Jataka. You can read an English translation of the ancient Pali version at Sacred Texts. Here is how the Buddha explains the birth at the end of his telling of the story: "Devadatta was the crocodile of those days, the brahmin-girl Ciñcā was the crocodile's wife, and I myself the Monkey-King."
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THE DEMON OUTWITTED. The motif of the "footsteps leading in but not out" might remind you of the Aesop's fable about the fox and lion's den.
Additional Reading. This story is based on the Nalapana Jataka. You can read an English translation of the ancient Pali version at Sacred Texts. Here is how the Buddha explains the birth at the end of his telling of the story: "Devadatta was the water-ogre of those days; my disciples were the eighty thousand monkeys; and I was the monkey-king, so fertile in resource."
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THE MONKEY'S HEART. This is one of the most famous of the jatakas! You can read a collection of versions of this story from different countries here: Ashliman's Folktales of AT Type 91.
Additional Reading. This story is based on the Sumsumara Jataka. You can read an English translation of the ancient Pali version at Sacred Texts. Here is how the Buddha explains the birth at the end of his telling of the story: "In those days Devadatta was the Crocodile, the lady Ciñcā was his mate, and I was the Monkey." In addition to the comic-book version and the Buddhist version, please also read the folklore parallel collected by Dan Ashliman: Brother Rabbit and the Gizzard-Eater
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THE MONKEYS AND THE GARDENER. You can decide who is more foolish: the monkeys, or the gardener who trusted them?
Additional Reading. This story is based on the Aramadusaka Jataka. You can read an English translation of the ancient Pali version at Sacred Texts. Here is how the Buddha explains the birth at the end of his telling of the story: "The village lad who spoiled this pleasaunce was the king of the monkeys in those days, and I was myself the wise and good man."

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