Jataka Tales – Indian Folktales
The Jataka Tales are dated between 300 BC and 400 AD. The Jataka Tales are part of sacred Buddhist Literature. Many of the tales are set in or near Benares, now called Varanasi, a city in north central India on the Ganges River. One of the world’s oldest cities, Varanasi is the most sacred place for Hindus. Buddhists and Muslims also have important religious sites nearby. According to tradition, Buddha began his teaching at Sarnath a short distance from this city.
The Jātakas refer to a voluminous body of literature native to India concerning the previous births of the Buddha. These are the stories that tell about the previous lives of the Buddha, in both human and animal form.