I Once Was A Monkey



One morning, a monsoon reaches the forest.  A young monkey, caught in the storm, finds shelter in a small cave amid the rubble of an abandoned temple.  In the cave, the monkey is not alone.  Other animals are there — a lion, a jackal, a turtle, and a dove — bickering in the cramped space, until a statue of Buddha comes to life.  “Hush, children, hush,” Buddha says.  “I will tell you a story to pass the time.”

So begins this introduction to the cycle of fables in Buddhist literature known as the Jatakas, or birth stories, which Buddha originally told to his disciples when occasion arose to illustrate his teachings.  Each of the six retellings gathered here features animal characters and an incarnation of the Buddha from an earlier life, usually as an animal himself.  From the tale of the clever monkey outwitting a hungry crocodile to that of a bird and turtle rescuing a friend, these subtle, amusing parables embody some of the central tenets of Buddha’s philosophy.  Joined with stunning linocut illustrations, they form a book notable for both its beauty and its wisdom.


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Additional information

Weight 1 lbs
Dimensions 8.9 × 10.84 × 0.41 in