The Silly Monkeys, a Buddhist fable

The Jataka tales are dated between 300 BC and 400 AD. 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.

Although in their original form the stories are unmistakably Indian and Buddhist, they also posses the quality of universality to a high degree. Versions of them have travelled to the West and have appeared in the works of writers like Aesop, Herodotus, Chaucer, Boccaccio, and more recently, Bertolt Brecht.

The Silly Monkeys is one of a collection of over 500 fables known as the Jataka Tales, said to have been recounted by Gotama the Buddha to his disciples.

Storyteller Rachel Miller brings the tales to life with evocative original music, capturing both the humour and the heart of the tales.

Enjoy! (about 4 mins.)

Click here if you wish to listen to or purchase some more fables by Rachel Miller.

This collection was adapted by the writer John Snelling, who retold them in a modern idiom. The stories are humorous, eminently down to earth and full of common sense.

Click here to read more by John Snelling.

Categories: Art, Beginners, Buddhism, Cartoons, John Snelling, Talks

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3 replies

  1. From my six year old, “Can we do it again, please?”

  2. [Edited..]
    The Jātakas (Sanskrit जातक) refer to a voluminous body of literature native to India concerning the previous births (jāti) of the Bodhisatva. These are the stories that tell about the previous lives of the Buddha, in both human and animal form. The future Buddha may appear in them as a king, an outcast, a god, an elephant — but, in whatever form, he exhibits some virtue that the tale thereby inculcates.


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