The Jātaka tales refer to a voluminous body of folklore and mythic literature native to India, primarily associated with the Theravada Buddhist tradition written in the Pali language (from about the 3rd century, C.E.), concerning the previous births of Gautama Buddha. 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.
In Theravada Buddhism, the Jatakas are a textual division of the Pāli Canon, included in the Khuddaka Nikaya of the Sutta Pitaka. The term Jātaka may also refer to a traditional commentary on this book. The story of Rama is told in one of Jātakas.