Year published :March 2019
Pages :396 pp., paperback
Size :15 x 23 cm.
From the Fifty Jātaka: Selections from the Thai Paññāsa Jātakaby Chris Baker and Pasuk Phongpaichit
Translated and introduced by CHRIS BAKER and PASUK PHONGPAICHIT
For over two thousand years, jātaka—tales of the Buddha’s previous lives—have been popular as teaching and entertainment. Apart from the classical jātaka from India, many other jātaka appeared in Southeast Asia and were assembled in collections known conventionally as the “Fifty Jātaka” (Paññāsa Jātaka). Once considered minor and apocryphal, they are now acclaimed as the lifeblood of the region’s literature. This book offers the first published translations in English of twenty-one stories from the Thailand collection. The selections include some of the best-known Thai stories, such as Sudhana- Manoharā, the Golden Conch, and Rathasena (Twelve Sisters), among other adventurous quests, accounts of self-sacrifice, moral tales, strings of riddles, and story cycles. Here the tales are translated fully and faithfully in readable English prose with full annotation, an introduction on the background of the stories, and summaries of all sixty-one jātaka in the Thailand collection.
- First published English translations of the Thai Paññāsa Jātaka stories.
- Selected and translated by an award-winning translation team.
- Stories combine moral and religious instruction with entertainment.
- Stories, annotations, and introductions give insight into Thai popular culture.
About the Translators
Chris Baker and Pasuk Phongpaichit have written widely on Thailand’s history, economy, politics, and culture, and have translated both academic and literary works, including The Tale of Khun Chang Khun Phaen and Yuan Phai. In 2017 they were jointly awarded the Fukuoka Grand Prize.
What others are saying
“Baker and Pasuk translate the stories deftly, with their customary flair. Their fresh and sympathetic translation promotes this Thai literary classic—one of the great story collections of Southeast Asia—to the library of world literature. For the first time ever, international readers can enjoy these compelling stories.”—Peter Skilling, Chulalongkorn University
“The Paññāsa Jātaka include some of the richest narratives of Thai literature, and at long last a selection is available in this clear and engaging English translation. Many of the stories focus on the heroism of the Bodhisatta; other familiar characters are here too—the villainous Devadatta, the kindly Ānanda, and the Bodhisatta’s wife, whose superior abilities are celebrated in her very own story.”—Naomi Appleton, University of Edinburgh
“A superb translation and selection from an essential collection of Buddhist narratives in Thailand. With an introduction providing a clear contextual and historical overview of the extracanonical or ‘apocryphal’ jātakas, this collection is indispensable for any student, scholar, or enthusiast interested in narratives that help articulate ways of being Buddhist in the region.”—Justin McDaniel, University of Pennsylvania
jataka | Theravada Buddhism | Thailand | Southeast Asian literature | religious writings