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King Kusha is an adaptation of the Kusha Jataka, one of the five hundred and fifty stories included in the Pali canon. The Jataka tales are woven round the life of the Bodhisattva, who lived many lives on this earth before he evolved into the Buddha, the Enlightened One.
These tales are based on the folklore, legends and ballads of ancient India. We cannot assign a definite date to the Jataka stories. Taking into the account archaeological and literary evidence it appears that they were compiled in the period third century B.C. to fifth century A.D. They give us invaluable information about ancient Indian civilization, culture and philosophy.
The Jataka stories have been very popular in the Buddhist world. These stories have not only been translated into almost all the languages closely related to Buddhism ? Chinese, Tibetan, Sinhalese, Siamese, Burmese, Japanese ? but also into many modern European languages. These stories have also been depicted in the paintings and sculptures of ancient India and other Buddhist countries. Sanchi, Bharhut, Amaravati, and Ajanta in India, Borobudur in Java, Pegan in Burma and Sukhodaya in Siam bear testimony to the popularity of these tales.
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