Jātaka ［本生話］ (, Pali; Honjō-wa): Also, Jātaka Tales or “Birth Stories.” The stories of the previous lives of Shakyamuni Buddha. One of the traditional twelve divisions of the Buddhist canon. The Pali canon contains a collection of 547 such stories, which are generally referred to as the Jātaka. These stories depict the good acts carried out by Shakyamuni in previous lifetimes that enabled him to be reborn as the Buddha in India. The Jātaka story is traditionally divided into three parts. The first part introduces an incident or anecdote from the life of Shakyamuni Buddha in India. The second, or main, part relates an act that he performed in one of his past existences. The third part describes the causal relationship between the past act and the present (Shakyamuni’s historic life in India) and identifies the persons involved in the past incident with his contemporaries.