The Story of Mahājanaka

The Story of Mahajanaka

A couple of weeks ago I showed an opera/ballet of the the same Mahājanaka story, and today we have an excellent animation of the same story, which is one of the most popular of the Jātaka stories.

The story is based on the retelling in Thai made by His Majesty King Bhumipol Adulyadej of Thailand in one of his literary works.

The film is around an hour and a half, and consists of the following ten sections: an opening, the war between the two brothers Ariṭṭhajanaka and Polajanaka, the escape of Ariṭṭha’s queen, her son Mahājanaka’s childhood, his sea journey, the storm he runs into and his perseverance, his meeting with the protective goddess Maṇī Mekhalā, his return to his home town Mithila, his becoming King and his wisdom.

The narration parts are sung in Thai-opera style, and care is taken to underline the moral of the various scenes, making it a really effective way of communicating Buddhist values in a modern and attractive form.

There are a number of good films coming out of Thailand these days, which really embody a new approach to the representation of Buddhist stories, and I hope we can see many more.


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to see a set of stills click on the date at the top of the embed below


1 comment to The Story of Mahājanaka

  • John Allan

    Thanks for the great doco site. You probably are aware of this – but just in case this is a video of the full production of a massive Live performance of the Mahajanaka jataka. Huge purpose built stage on the river in Bangkok. Hopefully someone will do subtitles. I gather the performance was very recent. Yes it would be good to see some more creative re-tellings of the jataka – dhammapada commentary stories and some of the other collections. Here in Australia one of The early western Buddhists – Marie Byles In Sydney organised Jataka performances with children in the 1930’s or 40s.
    John Allan

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