Constructing Buddhist Atitude towards Environment : Plants , Animals and Forest in the Jatakas

Amrit Anurag


Jataka stories is related with the previous birth of Buddha in which stories recited to teach disciples the right conduct of life and the lessons of Karma ,Sansara and Dharma. Jatakas reflect the travails and experiences that Buddha underwent to attain the wisdom. There are almost 550 Jataka stories ,out of them some some are in human form and some in animal form. In each stories of Buddha’s life indoctrinated in a folklore way . Nature of jatakas stories are devoted mostly to the questions of ethical advancement concerning laity. Notions of community interaction and relations with others that arise in everyday living are stressed both in Buddha’s  appearance as a human being or an animal. Animals can be seen as potential human beings in Buddhist cosmology. Numerous examples justify the strong evidence of Nature and Environment in Jatakas stories.

Full Text:



Appleton Naomi ,Jataka Stories in Theravada Buddhism. Ashgate Publishing Limited,UK,2010

Cowell E.B. (2000). The Jataka or Stories of the Buddha’s former births. Vol. 1-6. Motilal Banarsidass Publishers, Delhi,2005

Chapple, C. K. 1997. ‘Animals and the Environment in the Buddhist Birth

Stories’, Buddhism and Ecology, eds. M. E. Tucker and R. D.

Williams, Cambridge Mass, pp. 131-148.

Davids. T.W. Buddhist Birth Stories. Munshiram Manoharlal, New Delhi, 1999.

Davids, T.W. Rhys. The History and Literature of Buddhism. Munshiram Manoharlal, New Delhi, 1999.

Davids, Caroline A.F. Rhys. (2005). Stories of The Buddha. Pilgrims Publishing, Varanasi, India.

David E. Cooper and Simon P. James, Buddhism, Virtue and Environment ,Ashgate Publishing Limited,UK,2005

Harvey, Peter.1989. ‘Buddhists Attitude to and Treatment of Non-human Nature’, Ecotheology, 4, pp. 35-50.

Law, B. C. 1948-9. ‘Ancient Indian Flora’, Indian Culture, Vol.15, 1-4, pp.


Pragati Sahni, Environmental Ethics in Buddhism: A Virtues Approach, Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge, 2008

Schmithausen Lambert , Buddhism and Nature, The International Institute for Buddhist Studies,Tokyo,1991

Salgado, Nirmala. 1992. “The Structure of Evil and Ethical Action in the ‘Jatakatthavannana’.” Unpublished thesis. Northwestern University


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.