You are on page 1of 24

The Buddhist Jataka Stories and the DSM based Mental Disorders

Ruwan M Jayatunge M.D.

The Jtaka Stories

The Jtaka stories or Jtaka tales are a voluminous body of folklore concerned with previous births of the
Buddha which is based as a collection of five hundred and fifty stories. Originally it comprise of 547 poems,
arranged roughly by increasing number of verses. There are 547 stories in the Jtaka collection. Some experts
say that 550 stories were translated from Sinhalese into Pli by Rev Buddhaghosa in Sri Lanka (Bunnary,
2004). According to archaeological and literary evidence the Jtaka stories were compiled in the period, the 3rd
Century B.C. to the 5th Century A.D. As Professor Rhys Davids indicated Jtaka stories are one of the oldest
Rev Buddhaghosa who was a 5th century Indian Theravadin Buddhist commentator and a scholar translated
most of the Jtaka stories into Pli about 430 A.D. Between 399 and 414 A.D. the Chinese monk Fa Hien (FaHsien, Faxian) undertook a trip via Central Asia to India seeking Buddhist texts. He visited Ceylon (Sri Lanka)
in 400 A.D and stayed in the Abhayagiri Viharaya -a major monastery site of Theravada and Mahayana
Buddhism in Anuradhapura - Sri Lanka. The Bhikkhu Fa Hien translated Jtaka stories in to Chinese.
Jtaka scenes are found sculptured in the carvings on the railings round the relic shrines of Sanchi and
Amaravati and especially those of Bharhut where the titles of several Jtaka are clearly inscribed over some of
the carvings. These bas-reliefs prove that the birth- legends were widely known in the third century B.C
(Chalmers, 2012).
The Khuddaka Nikya (Minor Collection) contains 550 stories the Buddha told of his previous lifetimes as an
aspiring Bodhisattva or a person who is compassionately refrains from entering nirvana in order to save others
and is worshipped as a deity in Mahayana Buddhism. The stories of his lives, the Jtakasportray the efforts of
the bodhisattva to cultivate the qualities, including morality, self-sacrifice, and wisdom, which will define him as a
Buddha (Encyclopedia Britannica).
The history of the word Jtaka may come from Buddhism. The earliest use of the word Jtaka is found on a
stone carving of a relic-shrine at Bharhut (Wray et al. 1996; Bunnary, 2004). The word has a literary meaning
of a collection of fables, many concerning former lives of the Buddha.
The Jtakas themselves are of course interesting as specimens of Buddhist literature ; but their foremost
interest consists in their relation to folk-lore and the light which they often throw on those popular stories which
illustrate so vividly the ideas and superstitions of the early times of civilization. In this respect they possess a
special value, as, although much of their matter is peculiar to Buddhism, they contain embedded with it an
unrivalled collection of Folk-lore. They are also full of interest as giving a vivid picture of the social life and
customs of ancient India (Chalmers, 2012).
Jtaka stories mostly reflect the Bodhisattva period. It gave a kaleidoscopic view of the journey of
the Bodhisattva. Every aspirant to Buddhahood passes through the Bodhisattva Period a period of intensive
exercise and development of the qualities of generosity, discipline, renunciation, wisdom, energy, endurance,

truthfulness, determination, benevolence and perfect equanimity (Narada, 1998). The Jtaka stories illustrate
the development of the Buddha wandering in the cycle of birth and death (samsara) by behaving in various
good ways with acts of charity, renunciation, compassion, gratitude and so forth. All his actions lead to his
achieving a good result in his future life or becoming a greater person in the next life (Bunnary, 2004).
Jataka stories deal with issues of everyday life and their resolution. The problems faced by the Bodhisattva are
universal. Despite the culturally specific contexts in which the stories are cast, the basic themes underlying
most of these stories transcend both history and culture. The challenge for each cultural ethos is to identify and
interpret the stories that best reflect the demands of its times (Hewapathirane, 2006). The Jataka stories, over
millennia, have been seminal to the development of many civilizations, the cultivation of moral conduct and
good behaviour, the growth of a rich and varied literature in diverse parts of the world and the inspiration for
painting, sculpture and architecture of enduring aesthetic value. (Piyatissa, 1996).
The Jtaka gives its core meaning as a form of teaching. It advises people on good behaviour, merit, alms
giving, charity, gratitude, renunciation, helpfulness and forbearance (Narasu, 1993). Jtaka narrative provides
much didactic meaning particularly about moral conduct through literature (Bunnary, 2004). The jataka stories,
being full of wit and humour, worldly wisdom, moral lessons, and pious legends of semi-historical nature, were
very helpful in popularizing the Dhamma amongst the masses (Ahir, 2000).
Jtaka stories made a profound influence on art and literature in India, in South-East Asia, and in Europe (Ahir ,
2000). In addition parts of the Old Testament, Aesop's fables and other western stories are somewhat similar to
the Jtaka (Wray et al. 1996) and the Jtaka may therefore reflect an earlier stratum of narrative, perhaps
predating Buddhism itself (Bunnary, 2004).
Kulasuriya (1996) points out that some stories of the Jtaka Book occur in the Pacatantra, Kathsaritsgara
and other Indian story books. Some stories have parallels in the Mahbhrata and in the Rmyaa.
According to Winternitz (1968) the tendency of turning popular tales into jtakas had the result that at times
rather worldly narrations became 'Buddhist' even though they may have had little in common with Buddhist. The
Dasaratha-Jtaka identifies Rma with the Bodhisattva.
The Panchatantra shares many stories in common with the Buddhist Jtaka tales purportedly told by
the historical Buddha before his death around 400 BCE. The Panchatantra (Five Principles) is an ancient Indian
inter-related collection of animal fables in verse and prose, in a frame story format. The original Sanskrit work,
which some scholars believe was composed in the 3rd century BCE, is attributed to Vishnu Sharma (Nadwi,
Jtaka stories are moral and spiritual stories and it can be considered as case studies of the Buddhist
philosophy. These spiritually evoking case studies converse about the dynamics of the human mind and human
behavior in different circumstances. Jtaka stories contain a reflective psychological premise. The Jtaka
stories represent a broad structure of mental phenomena. It represents existential and moralistic dimensions of
human nature. Jtaka stories profoundly discuss thoughts and actions of the Akusal (sinful) or pathological
mind as well as non pathological Kusala (healthy and pure) mind.
Jtaka Stories and the Western World
The Jtaka stories entered European ground at the end of the medieval period via Arabs and were translated
and spread into all the main languages, viz; Greek, Spanish, German, Italian, French and English (Jann,
2014). T.W. Davids a British scholar and the Pli language, Indologist stated that Buddhist Jtaka Stories
impacted the Western fables and stories. The prominent novelist Martin Wicramasinghe D.Lit indicated

similarities between Dostoyevskys Brothers Karamazov and Asathamanthra Jtakaya of the Jtaka story book.
Moreover he saw similarities in French writer Jean Baptiste Poquelin Molieres Tartuffe and Somanassa
Among the Western intellectuals Professor Rhys Davids Ph.D., LL. D., of London, Secretary of the Asiatic
Society studied the historical and cultural context of the Jtaka stories and he translated a large number of
stories in 1880. Rhys-Davids described Jtaka stories as full of information on the daily habits and customs and
beliefs of the people of India, and on every variety of the numerous questions that arise as to their economic
and social conditions (Appleton, 2007). Beginning 1877, the Danish scholar Victor Fausboll published the Pali
compilation in Roman script.
Sir Edwin Arnold an English poet and the celebrated author of The Light of Asia gracefully wrote poems
about Jtaka stories. Professor E. B. Cowell, Professor of Sanskrit in the University of Cambridge, brought out
the complete edition of the Jtaka stories between 1895 and 1907. Also Oskar von Hinber- Professor of
Indology at Albert-Ludwigs-Universitt Freiburg did a vast study on Jtaka stories. Dr. Felix Adler a German
American professor and the founder of the Ethical Culture movement studied the Jataka tales and stated that it
contains deep truths. Professor Roderick Ninian Smart (the University of California, Santa Barbara) introduced
the seven-part definition of religion and thoroughly researched on the Buddhist philosophy including Jtaka
stories. Naomi Appleton - British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow in the Centre for the History of Religion in Asia,
Cardiff University- Wales has done valuable surveys on Jtaka tales.
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) and Jtaka Stories
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) is published by the APA or the American
Psychiatric Association and it provides broad symptomatology and standard criteria for the classification of
mental disorders. It has been considered as the Bible of psychiatry.
With the DSM mental illnesses were transformed from broad, etiologically defined entities that were continuous
with normality to symptom-based, categorical diseases (Mayes & Horwitz, 2005). The first version of DSM was
published in 1952. The current version of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders is known as
DSM-IV-TR (Text Revision) and it was published in 2000. DSM-IV-TR recognizes the impact of culture on
psychological health within a biopsychosocial framework. The diagnostic criteria now reflect a focus on
behavioral symptomatology and suggest the importance of drug-management in therapy over psychotherapy
(Shorter, 1997). The fifth edition of Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, the DSM-5 appeared officially in May
2013 during the development of the 166th Annual Meeting of the American Psychiatric Association (APA) in San
Francisco (Mrquez, 2014). The DSM triggered a paradigm shift in how society came to view mental
health (Mayes & Horwitz, 2005).
The Buddhist Jathaka story book deeply touches the DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental
Disorders) based mental illnesses (Jayatunge, 2013) and these mental ailments could be identified in many
Jtaka stories. The Buddhist Jathaka story book discusses deep psychological themes and analyses the human
mind. The Jtaka stories were a form of teaching approach which used the case method. This method consists
in presenting the disciples with a case and did descriptive, exploratory analysis of a person, his mental state,
actions and consequences. The Buddha knew the power of storytelling. The Buddha used such stories to heal
people with emotional and spiritual problems. These stories gave insight and created Aha moments.

The Consultant Psychiatrist Dr D.V.J Harischandra FRCP (Psych) in his famous book Psychiatric Aspects of
Jtaka Stories that was published in 1996, points out that the Western Psychologists and Psychiatrists
should get acquainted with this ancient DSM which is called the Jtaka Story Book.
The Buddhist Psychiatric Nosology
The ancient classification of mental disorders, also known as the Buddhist psychiatric nosology indicated in
Darimukha Jathakaya. The Darimukha Jathakaya classifies mental ailments in to eight sub divisions. Those are
Kama Unmada (sexually deviant behaviors) , Krodha Unmadha ( anger related mood disorders), Darshana
Unmada (mental ailments with visual hallucinations) Moha Unmadha (mental retardation), Yaksha Unmada
(dissociation and possession disorders ) Pittha Unmada (Melancholia) and Viyasana Unmada (psycho-trauma).
Jtaka Stories and Positive Mental Health
The World Health Organization (WHO) defines mental health as a state of well-being in which every individual
realizes his or her own potential, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully,
and is able to make a contribution to her or his community. The WHO definition emphasizes that mental health
is more than the absence of mental illness (Gilmour, 2014). However mental health has long been defined as
the absence of psychopathologies, such as depression and anxiety (Westerhof & Keyes, 2010).
According to the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) mental health is the capacity of each and all of us to
feel, think, and act in ways that enhance our ability to enjoy life and deal with the challenges we face. It is a
positive sense of emotional and spiritual well-being that respects the importance of culture, equity, social justice,
interconnections and personal dignity.
Provencher and Keyes (2011) define positive mental health as feeling well, functioning well, and being resilient
in the face of lifes challenges improves quality of life and is integral to overall health and well-being, even
when there are on-going limitations caused by mental health problems and illnesses. According to Buddhism
mental suffering is due in large part to imbalances of the mind (Gunaratana, 1985; Wallace & Shapiro, 2006).
Numerous Jtaka stories indicate the mental imbalance caused by Akusal Chitta (or pathological mind). These
pathological elements impact the mental wellbeing.
Dr. Yukio Ishizuka, a Harvard trained Japanese psychiatrist hypothesized that there are three basic
psychological needs or spheres that determined psychological health such as the search for self, the need for
intimacy, and the quest for achievement. As described by Westerhof & Keyes, (2010) there are three core
components of positive mental health: feelings of happiness and satisfaction with life (emotional well-being),
positive individual functioning in terms of self-realization (psychological well-being), and positive societal
functioning in terms of being of social value (social well-being) The Jtaka Stories highlight the importance of
positive mental health by spiritual enhancement. These stories help to promote spiritual wellbeing.
Having a sense of spiritual well-being is an important component of positive mental health. Spirituality is
something holistic, beyond religious practices and beliefs, which includes broader values and principles that
give meaning to life. Coyle (2002) describes spiritual well-being as a feeling connected to something larger than
oneself and having a sense of purpose and meaning in life. The Jtaka stories encourage finding the purpose
and meaning in life thus promoting positive mental health.
Search for self or know thy self is one of the dictums in Jtaka stories. Dr. Yukio Ishizuka as well as Eric Fromm
strongly believed that Know thyself is one of the fundamental commands that aim at human strength and
happiness. Fromms notion Know thyself was stated by the Buddha over 2600 years ago.

The story of Bhaddawaggiya Princes reveals the importance of knowing thyself. The Bhaddawaggiya Princes
where looking for a woman who stole their valuable possessions. When they met the Buddha the princes asked
Venerable Sir, did you see a woman? The Buddha answered What is more important whether look for a
woman or to look for thy self? (i.e. know thyself). The princes replied that more important is to know thy self.
The Buddhist tradition has focused for over 2,500 years on cultivating exceptional states of mental well-being as
well as identifying and treating psychological problems (Wallace & Shapiro, 2006). The Jtaka stories
encourage self-perceived positive mental health. Perceived mental health is a subjective measure of overall
mental health status. Jtaka stories reveal how virtuous people attained positive well-being through the
cultivation of optimum mental balance.
Buddhism promotes an ideal state of well-being that results from freeing the mind of its afflictive tendencies and
obscurations and from realizing ones fullest potential in terms of wisdom, compassion, and creativity (Wallace
& Shapiro, 2006).
Mental Disorders and the Influence of Buddhist Jtaka Stories
In general terms a mental disorder is a psychological or behavioral pattern that is associated with subjective
distress or disability that occurs in an individual and which are not a part of normal development or culture. The
mental disorder is characterized by impairment of an individuals normal cognitive, emotional, or behavioral
functioning, and caused by social, psychological, biochemical, genetic, or other factors, such as infection or
head trauma.
The DSM- IV defines Mental Disorders as thus.
A clinically significant behavioral or psychological syndrome or pattern that occurs in an individual and that is
associated with present distress (i.e., a painful symptom) or disability (i.e., an impairment in one or more
important areas of functioning) or with a significantly increased risk of suffering death, pain, disability, or an
important loss of freedom. The syndrome or pattern must not be merely an expectable and culturally sanctioned
response to a particular event. It must currently be considered a manifestation of a behavioral, psychological, or
biological dysfunction in the individual. No definition adequately specifies precise boundaries for the concept of
mental disorder. Also known as mental health, mental impairment, mental illness, brain illness, and serious
brain disorder.
A mental disorder is an undesirable (e.g. harmful) condition caused by a dysfunction in a mental Cumminsfunction (Brlde, 2003). Cultures differ in what is considered normal and what is considered abnormal (Hall,
2009). Psychiatry itself, like most of the rest of medicine, is a product of Western culture. As such, it embodies
ideas of illness and wellness, of normal and abnormal, of well-functioning and malfunctioning, of adaption and
maladaptation which have their roots in our own shared sentiments regarding the character of reality, of what is
desirable, and of what ought to be desired (Leighton & Hughes, 2005).
In traditional societies human distress is more likely to be seen as an indicator of the need to address important
life problems than as a mental disorder requiring treatment (Burton, 2012). As described by Dube (1979)
Ayurveda, the ancient Indian system of medicine is described in Atharva Veda and in subsequent treatises by
Charak, Susrut, and Vagbhatt, containing the details of etiology, symptoms, diagnosis, and therapy of afflictions
in humans and animals. The Buddhist literature also possesses the esoteric material of Medical Science, which
is practiced and conserved in India since centuries. It refers to the fundamentals of medicine, rules of good
living, which lay considerable emphasis on the hygiene of body, mind (Narayana & Lavekar, 2005).

In ancient India, two branches of knowledge are concerned with human suffering, trying to theoretically explain
as well as to practically overcome its reasons: (practical) philosophy and medicine. Buddhism was regarded as
a medical discipline (Butzenberger & Fedorova, 1989).
The Buddhist philosophy talks about the human mind and its pathological and non-pathological portions. Jtaka
stories describe extensively conditions from mild neurosis to severe psychoses.
Stigma and discriminations are often associated with mental illness. Mental illness stigma is defined as the
devaluing, disgracing, and disfavoring by the general public of individuals with mental illnesses.(Abdullah &
Brown, 2011) Stigma often leads to discrimination. Public stigma and discrimination have pernicious effects on
the lives of people with serious mental illnesses (Corrigan et al., 2012).
The Buddhist Jtaka stories describe various types of mental disorders and how it affects the individual as well
as the society. For centuries these stories helped the people to treat individuals affected by mental illnesses
with utmost compassion. There is no evidence of persecution of psychiatric patients in the ancient Buddhist
In the Medieval Europe, psychiatric patients were often targeted as the agents of Satan and subjected to torture
and execution. Mentally ill women were often burnt at the stake as witches. As indicated by Schoeneman
(1982) the psychopathological interpretation of the European witch hunts of the 16th and 17th centuries, which
has been prominent in histories of psychiatry, contends that demonology overwhelmed psychiatry in the late
middle Ages, with the result that the mentally ill were executed by the thousands as witches. The witch hunts of
sixteenth and seventeenth-century Europe impeded psychiatric progress for centuries (Schoeneman, 1977).
In his famous book Gendercide and Genocide by Prof Adam Jones of the international studies at the Center for
Research and Teaching in Economics (CIDE) in Mexico City writes thus.
.. for three centuries of early modern European history, diverse societies were consumed by a panic over
alleged witches in their midst. Witch-hunts, especially in Central Europe, resulted in the trial, torture, and
execution of tens of thousands of victims; about three-quarters of victims were women. Arguably, neither before
nor since have adult European women been selectively targeted for such largescale atrocities. Modern
estimates suggest perhaps 100,000 trials between 1450 and 1750, with something between 40,000 and 50,000
executions, of which 20 to 25 per cent were men. (Gendercide and Genocide Adam Jones).
In 1247 Londons Bethlem asylum was found and the term bedlam became associated with chaos, confusion,
and poor treatment, which reflected the general attitude toward mental illness. The mentally ill received harsh
treatments. The 17th century English physician Thomas Willis declared that: discipline, threats, fetters, and
blows are needed as much as medical treatment for the mentally ill.
Institutions for the mentally ill were established beginning in the 14th century. Institutionalization is a deliberate
process whereby a person entering the institution is reprogrammed to accept and conform to strict controls that
enables the institution to manage a large number of people with a minimum of necessary staff. Until the end of
1960 s Institutionalization was considered as the viable option to treat psychiatric patients. In these institutions
psychiatric patients were often subjected to humiliations and maltreatment. Prolonged years of
Institutionalization diminished the social and life skills of the patients. This condition was identified
as Institutionalization Syndrome which had the features of loss of independence, loss of self-confidence,
erosion of desire and skills for social interaction, excessive reliance on institutions and fear of authority.

The humane way of treating mental patients started in Europe mainly with the reformations introduced by Dr
Philippe Pinel (1745- 1826) and he initiated moral treatment for the psychiatric patients. In 1793 he was
appointed the director of the Bictre Insane Asylum and took numerous revolutionary decisions.
He unchained the mental patients and stopped ill treatments. Dr. Pinel treated the patient as well as his
surrounding environment. His innovations in treating mentally ill patients are still used by the modern psychiatry.

Conversely many centuries before Philippe Pinel the Buddhist societies in Asia treated psychiatric patients with
empathy. The King Buddhadasa of Sri Lanka (398 AD) treated psychiatric patients with compassion. The King
Buddhadasa used herbals, empathetic words and healthy community atmosphere to treat the mentally ill.
It is important to note that in the ancient Buddhist societies the mentally ill were never mistreated or
excommunicated. The Jtaka stories may have had a weighty effect on de-stigmatizing metal disorders. For
centuries, these stories helped people to view individuals with mental illnesses with a compassionate eye.
Psychoanalysis and Jtaka Stories
Psychoanalysis was introduced by Sigmund Freud in which free association, dream interpretation, and analysis
of resistance and transference are used to explore repressed or unconscious impulses, anxieties, and internal
conflicts. To Freud, psychoanalysis was clearly a social theory as well as a psychological theory (Stea, 2012)
Some experts view that the Freudian Psychoanalysis as a subject which is incomplete. According to Wax
(1983) the scientific status of psychoanalysis has been the subject of continual debate. Influential philosophers
of science have challenged the form of its theories and the nature of the evidence offered on their behalf. Some
have concluded that the theories are beyond testing. Bogousslavsky and Dieguez (2014) state that Freud did
not follow a scientific process of verified experiments, but rather adapted his theories to the evolution of his own
beliefs on psychological conditions, selectively emphasizing the aspects of his 'therapies' with patients which
supported his emerging ideas, with often abrupt changes in theoretical interpretations.
The renowned Sri Lankan Literary genius Martin Wicramasinghe D.Lit. argues that the Psychoanalysis was
initiated not by Freud but by the Jtaka Storyteller. Martin Wicramasinghe gives solid examples to qualify his
opinion. Wicramasinghe intensely wrote on Buddhist Jtaka stories. In his books The Buddhist Jataka Stories
and the Russian Novel (published in 1952) and Jataka Katha Vimasuma (The Literary Aspects of Buddhist
Jtaka Stories) published in 1968 Martin Wicramasinghe explained the mind analysis that shown in the Jtaka
stories. The Jtaka storyteller revealed and analyzed the noble to ignoble characteristics of the human psyche.
The Jtaka storyteller knew the complexity of the human mind. He described the human behavior in vivid
situations. He knew the internal mental conflicts, repressions and hysteria type of behavior that people
exhibited. A vast amount of abnormal behaviors were recorded in form of stories by the Jtaka storyteller. The
Jtaka stories represent a broad structure of mental phenomena.
The Late Professor K. N. Jayatilleke stated that Buddhist psychology does not share with Freud his psychic
determinism and his consequent pessimism about the possibility of transforming human nature, but the
Buddhist theory of motivation outlined above shows a marked similarity with that of Freuds.
The similarity, as we may observe, even extends to the classification of desires and the use of terminology.. In a
later phase of Freuds thought there was a division of drives into eros (lust) or the life instinct and thanatos or
the death instinct. At this stage eros comprehended both libido, the sex instinct, as well as the egoistic instincts.
In Buddhism we find rga (eros) subdivided into sex (kma-rga) and ego-instincts (bhava-rga). Vibhavata h

is the desire for destruction or annihilation since vibhava and vinsa are synonyms, in the Pali texts (cp. ...
ucchedavd sattassa uccheda vinsa vibhava paapenti, i.e. annihilationists posit the annihilation,
destruction and extermination of a being). This is what Freud calls the death instinct, sometimes (mistakenly)
referring to it as the Nirvana principle. In view of the close similarity of concepts the question as to whether
Freud was influenced by Buddhism should be carefully examined especially since Freud had made a thorough
study of Schopenhauer, who claimed to be a Buddhist deeply influenced by Buddhist and Upani adic literature
(Jayatilleke, 1978).

According to Dr. D V J Harischandra (1996) in Ummagga Jatakaya and Mahasupina Jatakaya there exist
almost all the unconscious mechanisms that Freud described over six centuries later including symbolisation,
condensation, displacement and secondary elaboration.
Buddhist psychology espouses several competing topological theories of mind all of which include some form of
an unconscious. The Abhidharmic model conceptualizes the unconscious as bhavanga-citta, a ground
consciousness that is conditioned by karma and acts as a conditioning factor for current life habitual tendencies.
Later revisions of that model view the unconscious as laya-vijna, a store consciousness containing the
individuals karmic seeds of suffering. Like Freuds unconscious, bhavanga-citta and laya-vijna are thought
to motivate the mind to produce destructive habitual mind states (Waldron, 2003).
Nichol (2006) sees some parallels between the Buddhistic Psychoanalysis and Freudian Psychoanalysis. He
further states that around 600 BC Siddhartha Gotama practiced intensive meditation for several years and
found a way for people to cultivate a sense of equanimity, wisdom, and compassion in their lives. Around 1900
AD Sigmund Freud undertook several years of intensive self-analysis and developed theories and therapeutic
techniques for understanding how the unconscious operates in our lives to perpetuate neurotic suffering, and
how we might gain insight and relief from that suffering and be more free to move toward our potential in this
Mid-twentieth century saw the collaborations between many psychoanalysts and Buddhist scholars as a
meeting between two of the most powerful forces operating in the Western mind (Tapas Kumar Aich,
2013). Schopenhauer is a link between Freud and Buddhism. The Buddhist axiom: "sabbe sattd ummattakd"
(all worldlings are deranged) shows that both systems looked upon the neurosis of mankind as a problem with
which to deal, but Freud saw the solution as a rational insight into one's own condition; whereas Buddha was
concerned with a man's emotions and whole being. Both systems had a dynamic quality and not a static one;
however, in de Silva's view Buddhism goes further than does Freud. Freud claims that man must live with the
best adaptation to the human condition that one can have and Buddhism's araliat professes to transcend this
condition entirely (de Silva, 1978)
The Psychoanalysts such as Erich Fromm and Karen Horney studied the Psychoanalytic component in the
Buddhist philosophy. According to Erich Fromm psychoanalysis is not a therapy of commitment but rather an
approach that liberates people from the type of commitment required by traditional religion and other social
institutions. Fromm once stated: Psychoanalysis is a characteristic expression of the Western man's spiritual
crisis, and an attempt to find a solution. The common suffering is the alienation from oneself, from one's fellow
men, and from nature; the awareness that life runs out of one's hand like sand, and that one will die without
having lived; that one lives in the midst of plenty and yet is joyless (Fromm , Suzuki & Martino, 1960).

The Buddha helped to liberate people from emotional bondages and oppressed social conditions two millennia
ago. Unlike the Freudian psychoanalysis the Buddhist psychoanalysis has a profound spiritual dimension and it
extensively focuses on the deeper existential questions. Buddhist psychoanalysis brings unconscious and
consciousness to a dialectical relation.
According to Mark Epstein- psychiatrist and the author, Both the Buddha and Freud came to appreciate that the
source of self-generated misery is an exaggerated sense of selfs absolute reality. Nonetheless Freud believed
that the inner layers of the human personality consist of irrational and savagery wishes. In contrast the Buddha
believed in the positive aspects of the human personality and its capabilities. The Buddha preached that the
human have the capacity for self growth and achieve higher spiritual level (Jayatunge, 2014).
Hysteria Types of Reactions Described in the Jtaka Stories
The history of hysteria stretches over several millennia and contains a plethora of different understandings and
interpretations.(Mllerhj , 2009). Hippocrates (5th century BC) is the first to use the term hysteria. He believed
that the cause of this disease lies in the movement of the uterus (Sigerist, 1951).
Paul Briquet's Trait de l'Hystrie was published in 1859 and is a comprehensive clinical and epidemiological
study of 430 patients with hysteria (Mai & Merskey, 1981). Up till 1870 hysteria had been regarded as a
gynaecological illness that affected almost exclusively women; as a result of Charcot's work the illness was
transformed into a neurological disorder. However, shortly before his death Charcot had to acknowledge that he
had been mistaken and that hysteria was in fact a psychiatric disorder (Gilson, 2010).
The Websters dictionary defines Hysteria as a psychiatric condition variously characterized by emotional
excitability, excessive anxiety, sensory and motor disturbances, or the unconscious simulation of organic
disorders. Jean Martin Charcot, Pierre Janet, Freud, and Joseph Breuer comprehensively wrote on hysteria.
Sigmund Freud provided a contribution that leads to the psychological theory of hysteria and the assertion of a
male hysteria (Tasca, 2012). Sigmund Freud saw a traumatic experience in childhood that is uniformly of a
sexual nature as general aetiology of hysteria. Freuds famous case study of Anna O (Bertha Pappenheim)
suffered from a rigid paralysis, accompanied by loss of sensation, of both extremities on the right side of her
body over two years. Anna O was the classic study of Hysteria.
Hysteria' (conversion disorder) remains in modern humanity and across cultures, as it has for millennia
(LaFrance, 2014). Hysteria was largely considered to be a neurological problem in the 19th century, but without
a neuropathological explanation it was commonly assimilated with malingering (Kanaan et al., 2009).
The DSM- IV -TR distinguishes hysteria under Somatoform Disorders and the Dissociative Disorders.
Somatoform disorders are psychological ailments that cause bodily symptoms, including pain and numbness.
The symptoms can't be traced back to any physical cause. And they are not the result of substance abuse or
another mental illness. Dissociative disorders (DD) are conditions that involve disruptions or breakdowns of
memory, awareness, identity or perception. There are numerous Somatoform and Dissociative Disorders are
discussed in the Jtaka stories.
The Vibhanga Atuwawa a Buddhist scripture part of the Pali Canon of Theravada Buddhism describes vibrant
neurotic features that are perceptible in laymen. The Abhidhamma model implies that neuroses, psychoses and
an armored personality are natural phenomena, but also that there is a systematic training to go beyond these
modes of living (Barendregt , 2006).

The Jtaka stories give numerous case examples of neurotic behavior in people. The story of Prince Asanaga is
one of the special case studies of phobias. The Prince Asanaga a character that is described in Chula
Phalobhana Jtaka Story suffers from Gynophobia or an abnormal, irrational and persistent fear of women. He
fears and avoids women from childhood. From birth to the adulthood, he was in the company of males and
never had a chance to associate women. Accidentally he got acquainted with a woman and experiences an
erotic relationship with her. His suppressed sexual desires emerge like a volcano and the Prince Asanaga goes
in to an acute stress reaction. He becomes violent and attacks the men on the street with his sword. The
Jathaka storyteller colorfully describes the inner mental conflict of the Prince Asanaga and his fears, anxiety,
sudden desire and the acute emotional reaction.

Psychogenic diseases
Psychogenic disease is a broader category than psychosomatic disease, in that it can include the hysterical
form, where there is no physiologic change in peripheral tissues, as well as the psychosomatic form, where
there is some physiologic alteration (Sarno, 2006). The Jtaka Storyteller narrates numerous stories of psychophysiological manifestations (psychogenic skin rashes, psychogenic sexual dysfunctions, and psychogenic
paralyses) found in men and women. According to these Jtaka stories the Akusal or the guilty based mind is
responsible for such manifestations. In one of the stories a guilty ridden Count experiences sexual impotence
and subsequently a sex change.
Psychogenic Nonepileptic Seizures
Psychogenic nonepileptic seizures have long been known by many names. A short list includes hysteroepilepsy,
hysterical seizures, pseudoseizures, nonepileptic events, nonepileptic spells, nonepileptic seizures, and
psychogenic nonepileptic attacks (Gedzelman & LaRoche, 2014). Psychogenic nonepileptic seizures are
episodes of movement, sensation, or behaviors that are similar to epileptic seizures but do not have a
neurologic origin; rather, they are somatic manifestations of psychologic distress (Alsaadi & Marquez, 2005).
These seizures are triggered by psychological problems.
In Illisa Jtakaya the miserly count Illisa goes in to a psychogenic fits when he found his wealth had been
distributed among the poor people. He lost his consciousness and then his body shakes violently. After a while
he gains consciousness and then demands his property. According to the storyline after he gained
consciousness there was no postictal period described in count Illisa. He was not under sedated state and he
walks up and actively cries for his possessions.
Psychogenic Itch
Itch (or pruritus) is defined as an unpleasant sensation inducing the desire of scratch. Psychogenic itch is
related to psychologic abnormalities e.g., itch in obsessive compulsive disorders, depression, and delusions of
parasitosis (Yosipovitch & Samuel, 2008). As indicated by Gupta & Gupta (1996) it has been estimated that in
at least one third of dermatology patients, effective management of the skin disorder involves consideration of
associated emotional factors.
The Ghata Jtakaya is one of the best case studies of Psychogenic Itch. In Ghata Jtaka (also called
Ghatakumara). The king Ghata was a righteous monarch who ruled his kingdom according to humane laws.

Once he found his chief minister committed adultery with a noblewoman of his royal harem. Instead of
condemning him to death the King Ghata expelled him from the position that he held.
The expelled minister went to the neighboring kingdom and met the monarch Vanka who was greedy for power
and who had a desire to extend the borders of his kingdom. The ex minister persuaded king Vanka to attack his
native land. The king Vanka invaded king Ghatas kingdom.
Being a virtuous person the king Ghata did not want to see any bloodshed or to send his men to a slaughtering
noxious battle. He renounced the throne. Hence the king Vanka became the new ruler and sent king Ghata to
the prison. At the prison the king Ghata practiced the meditation of loving-kindness. He had no anger or ill
feelings towards the king Vanka who seized his kingdom. Knowing the extraordinary and compassionate
qualities of the king Ghata and his innocence Vanka had severe guilty feelings. Within a several days he had a
skin rash and an excruciating itch which made him extremely uncomfortable. The royal physicians gave him
profuse medicine, but his condition became worst. Finally the king Vanka freed king Ghata from the prison and
restored his kingdom. After these reconciliations the king Vanka had a spontaneous recovery.
Psychotic Disorders
Psychosis is a condition characterized by loss of contact with reality and may involve severe disturbances in
perception, cognition, behavior, and feeling. Positive symptoms of psychosis include delusions, hallucinations
and/or thought disorder (MHECCU). Hallucinations are perceptions without stimuli. Delusions are fixed,
idiosyncratic, or false perceptions or beliefs with little if any basis in reality and are not the result of religious or
cultural norms.
Disordered thinking is a symptom found in many mental disorders, including schizophrenia, mania, depression,
obsessivecompulsive disorder, and others (Waring et al., 2003).
The term psychotic has historically received a number of different definitions, none of which has achieved
universal acceptance. Schizophrenia is a chronic psychotic disorder characterized by disturbed behavior,
thinking, emotions, and perceptions. To the best of present knowledge schizophrenia is a disorder with variable
phenotypic expression and poorly understood, complex etiology, involving a major genetic contribution, as well
as environmental factors interacting with the genetic susceptibility (Jablensky, 2010).
The term schizophrenia was coined in 1910 by the Swiss psychiatrist Paul Eugen Bleuler, and is derived from
the Greek words schizo (split) and phren (mind). The disease concept of schizophrenia is of a relatively recent
origin, as compared with disorders such as melancholia, mania, or generic insanity, all known since antiquity
(Jablensky, 2010). Schizophrenia is a classic psychiatric diagnosis. The defining features have remained
uchanged for more than 100 years (Heckers, 2011).
The Jtaka Stores describe several individuals with a variety of psychotic manifestations. The Labha- Garu
Jatahakya is one of the examples that describe a person with insane behavior. For insanity the Jathaka
storyteller uses the term Umathu Umathu illustrates abnormal behavior, divergence from reality, erroneous
thinking and decision making. The Jtaka Stores illustrate confirmatory examples of psychotic behavior.
An ancient textbook of Ayurvedic medicine, Therapeutics and Surgical Practice by Charaka and Susrutha, has a
vivid description of schizophrenia (Thara et al, 2004). According to Nizamie and Goyal (2010) descriptions of
conditions similar to schizophrenia and bipolar disorder appear in the Vedic texts. A vivid description of
schizophrenia is also found in Atharva-Veda. Ancient Ayurvedics physicians described schizophrenia as a

disorder of the mind caused by the doshas (vata, kapha, and vata) moving in the wrong paths due to increased
toxicity (Vega, 2013).
According to the historical records the King Buddhadasa (398 AD) of ancient Sri Lanka successfully treated an
insane man who insulted him publicly. As the ancient texts describe this individual showed grandiose ideas,
verbal aggression and socially inappropriate behavior with marked arrogance. This story further elucidate that
instead of punishing the individual the King approached him humanly. He used empathy, talk therapy and
positive reinforcements to treat this individual.
The "Daha Ata Sanniya" is an ancient healing dance ritual held to exorcise 18 types of diseases from the
human body. The Exorcists wear masks depicting the demons thought to be responsible for a person's ailments
(Bailey & de Silva, 2006). There are several dances depicting mental illnesses. For non spirit related insanity
such as psychotic conditions the ancient healers used Abutha Sanniya and for spirit related insanity (in
Possession states) used Butha Sanniya. In temporary insanity (in Acute Transient Psychotic Disorders) Pissu
Sanniya was used. For sleep disorders Naga Sanniya was recommended.
These traditional healing methods concur that the ancient Budhistic societies were aware of various types of
mental illnesses and its psychosocial impact. The Jtaka Stores gave the public a great awareness of such
mental ailments and to view the suffers with empathy.
Depressive Disorder
Depression is a mood disorder associated with specific symptoms such as depressed mood, decreased interest
or pleasure in most activities, most of each day , significant weight change, change in sleep, fatigue or loss of
energy, feelings of worthlessness or excessive or inappropriate guilt, diminished ability to think or concentrate,
or more indecisiveness and thoughts of death or suicide. According to Assaka Jtakaya a King goes in to
depression after his Queens death. The Jtaka Storyteller vividly describes the Kings depressive reaction that
is equivalent to the DSM description.
Following the queens death the king experiences utter misery. His despair is not ending. He is not interested in
ruling the country. In Panditha Jtakaya King Vasudeva becomes depressed following the death of his son.
Pathological Grief
Grief is an intense sorrow caused by loss of a loved one (especially by death) something that causes great
unhappiness and it has multi-faceted responses. Grief is an overwhelming emotion. Individual experiences of
grief vary and are influenced by the nature of the loss. Sometimes grief reactions are prolonged and the
affected person is unable to come to terms with the loss. Pathological grief deserves a place in the diagnostic
nomenclature (Horowitz 1993).
The field of grief counseling has yet to see an integration of Buddhist psychology (Wada & Park, 2009). The
Sujatha Jtaka story explains a pathological grief reaction experienced by a person following the death of his
father. His emotional pain does not heal with time and lasted for a long period. Most of the day his mind was
preoccupied with the memories of his dead father and he used to weep relentlessly. He was emotionally
overwhelmed and prolonged grief impacted his social and private life. According to the story the sufferers
pathological grief reaction was healed by using an existential mode of intervention by his young son.
Disruptive Mood Dysregulation Disorder (DMDD)

Disruptive mood dysregulation disorder (DMDD) is a new disorder for DSM-5 that is uncommon and frequently
co-occurs with other psychiatric disorders (Copeland et al., 2014). DMDD is a newcomer to psychiatric
nosology, addresses the need for improved classification and treatment of children exhibiting chronic
nonepisodic irritability and severe temper outbursts (Roy, Lopes & Klein, 2014). The children with DMDD show
severe recurrent temper outbursts manifested verbally and behaviorally that are grossly out of proportion in
intensity or duration to the situation or provocation. The temper outbursts are inconsistent with developmental
The Virochana Jtakaya of the Jtaka storybook gives details of a Prince who had positive features of DMDD.
The Prince has aggressive impulsive behavior, temper tantrums, temper outbursts, property destruction, rule
violation etc. The King sends the young Prince to a hermit who has knowledge and wisdom. The hermit uses a
form of behavior modification therapy to treat the child. After series of interventions the hermit gives an insight to
the child by using a Kohomba plant (Azadirachta indica) which bears leaves with a bitter taste. The hermit says
that the children with aggressive behavior often harms others are like these leaves and no one likes them. The
child gains insight and refrains from aggressive behavior.

Intermittent Explosive Disorder (IED)

The term intermittent explosive disorder did not appear in DSM until publication of the third edition in 1980
(Coccaro, 2012). According to McElroy (1999) Intermittent explosive disorder (IED) is a behavioral disorder
characterized by explosive outbursts of anger, often to the point of rage, that are disproportionate to the
situation at hand (i.e., impulsive screaming triggered by relatively inconsequential events). Impulsive aggression
is unpremeditated, and is defined by a disproportionate reaction to any provocation, real or perceived. Some
individuals have reported affective changes prior to an outburst (e.g., tension, mood changes, energy changes,
etc.) Intermittent Explosive Disorder is a relatively common disorder of impulsive aggression that typically
emerges by adulthood (Fanning et al., 2014).
Intermittent Explosive Disorder falls in the category of Impulse-Control Disorders. The condition is characterized
by failure to resist aggressive impulses, resulting in serious assaults or property destruction.
Recent studies have shown IED to be a common and under-diagnosed disorder existing in over 6% of the
population (Coccaro, Posternak, & Zimmerman, 2005; Kessler et al., 2006; McCloskeyet al., 2008). IED is
associated with a high degree of social impairment (Blankenship, 2008).
Coccaro (2012) indicates that human aggression constitutes a multidetermined act that results in physical or
verbal injury to self, others, or objects. It appears in several forms and may be defensive, premeditated (e.g.,
predatory), or impulsive (nonpremeditated) in nature.
The Chethiya Daddara Jtakaya reveals a monk with an Intermittent Explosive Disorder and this monk is easily
provoked and goes into violent impulsive tantrums. He is abusing other monks verbally and physically. His
destructive anger causes huge problems to the fellow monks. Later this monk was reformed by the Buddha.
Mental Retardation (Intellectual Disability)
According to Luckasson et al (1992) Mental retardation refers to substantial limitations in present functioning. It
is characterized by significantly subaverage intellectual functioning, existing concurrently with related limitations
in two or more of the following applicable adaptive skill areas: communication, self-care, home living, social

skills, community use, self-direction health and safety, functional academics, leisure, and work. Mental
retardation manifests before age 18.
The Ummaga Jtakaya narrates of a Count named Gorimannda who suffers from a Mental Retardation.
According to the description the Count Gorimannda has lack of social or emotional reciprocity, poor motor
coordination, Sialorrhea (drooling or excessive salivation) and abnormal speech. In addition Achari Jtakaya
and Nangulisa Jtakaya present individuals with Mental Retardation. The individuals in these
Jtaka stories have cognitive delays, intellectual abilities and poor social adaptation.
Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)
Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder that is clinically defined by abnormalities in
reciprocal social and communicative behaviors and an inflexible adherence to routinised patterns of thought and
behavior. Laboratory studies repeatedly demonstrate that autistic individuals experience difficulties in
recognizing and understanding the emotional expressions of others and naturalistic observations show that they
use such expressions infrequently and inappropriately to regulate social exchanges (Gaigg, 2012).

The Jtaka story book discloses extraordinary narrative of a Prince who displays Autism related symptoms to
deceive the King and the Royal healers. The little Prince Themiya becomes disgusted with the way his father
rules the country tormenting his subjects. He does not want to be a part of the kingdom. Therefore the little
Prince Themiya exhibits autistic behavior pattern disregarding his surroundings. He shows no eye contact, does
not respond to social interactions and does not acknowledge to others. By demonstrating these autistic features
the little Prince Themiya intends to run away from the kingdom.
The King makes numerous efforts to heal the prince. But his condition remains the same. Eventually the King
orders to kill the Prince who has no value to the kingdom. When the executioner takes the Prince to the forest to
kill him, unexpectedly the Prince Themiya talks to the executioner. The Prince states that it was an act and he
needed to escape from the palace. The executioner releases the Prince and he goes to Himalayan forest and
becomes a hermit.
Also in Padangali Jtakaya the Prince Padanjali shows a number of Autistic traits with poor social skills,
difficulty understanding linguistic terms, and lack of sensitivity to outer environment. These clinical features
suggest that the Prince Padanjali was an autistic child.
Conduct Disorder
Children with conduct disorder repeatedly violate the personal or property rights of others and age-appropriate
social standards and rules. Associated features of conduct disorder include an inability to appreciate the
importance of others welfare and little guilt or remorse about harming others. Children with Conduct Disorder
often view the world as a hostile and threatening place and they have difficulty maintaining friendships. They
often have low self-esteem and low frustration tolerance. Peers and family members become negative and
irritated with their misbehaviour, which leads to a vicious cycle.
Thila Mutti Jtakaya of the Jtaka storybook gives details of a Prince who had positive features of a Conduct
Disorder. He violates social rules and shows temper outbursts and aggressive behavior. When his mentor
punishes him for his socially unacceptable behavior (for stealing) the Prince becomes extremely angry and
determined to take revenge from the teacher.

After he becomes the king he invites his former tutor to visit him. But he has different intentions. He wants to
arrest the tutor and then torture him for the punishment that he gave long time ago. Knowing the former
students intentions the teacher deliberately takes time to visit him. When the king is emotionally matured he
visits the king. By seeing his mentor the king recalls his punishment and humiliation. The king orders to arrest
his teacher. But the wise teacher explains the king why he punished him. He states that he did punish the prince
not with a bad intention but to reform him. Hence he could be the king and rule the kingdom. After listening to
his teachers explanation the king gives up the idea of punishing his teacher. Instead of punishing the king
rewards him.
Separation Anxiety Disorder
Separation Anxiety Disorder is characterized by an abnormal reactivity to real or imagined separation from
attachment figures that significantly interferes with daily activities and developmental tasks. To meet DSM-IV-R
diagnostic criteria, the anxiety must be beyond what is expected for the child's developmental level, last longer
than four weeks, begin before age 18 and cause significant distress or impairment (American Psychiatric
Association, 2000). The fear of separation is associated with leaving the safety of parents and home may
escalate into tantrums or panic attacks and cause significant interference with academic, social, or emotional
development (Hanna, 2006).
Mahajana Jtaka story describes separation anxiety in a child following Paternal Derivation. According to the
Mahajana Jtaka story the child manifests numerous emotional and behavioural problems. The child becomes
anxious and it affects his functionality. He becomes withdrawn and relentlessly asking about his father. He is
forcing his mother to take him to his father. Finally his mother makes arrangements to meet the child with his
father and hence the anxiety comes to an end.
Learning disabilities Described in Jtaka Stories
Learning disability is an umbrella term covering many different intellectual disabilities. It is not a single
disorder, but is a general category of disabilities in any of seven specific areas :(1) receptive language
(listening), (2) expressive language (speaking),(3) basic reading skills, (4) reading comprehension, (5) written
expression, (6) mathematics calculation, and (7) mathematical reasoning. These separate types of learning
disabilities frequently co-occur with one another and also with certain social skill deficits and emotional or
behavioral disorders such as attention deficit disorder (Lyon, 1996)
Samanera Chula Panthaka (of the ChullaSetti Jtakaya) was significantly affected by learning disabilities. He
could not memorize even a line of a stanza although he made laborious efforts. He was ridiculed by his elder
brother Samanera Maha Panthaka for his learning difficulties. Samanera Chula Panthaka became overwhelmed
and decided to give-up his monkhood. Finally the Buddha intervened and helped him to overcome his difficulty.
The Buddha used mind evoking but a simple technique that gave him insight. Following this intervention
Samanera Chula Panthaka not only overcame his learning difficulty but attained Nibbana.
Child Abuse
Some of the Jtaka tales reveal the true nature of child abuse. For instance Vessanthara Jtakaya divulges a
Brahmin named Juthaka who was highly cruel to children. Vessanthara Jtakaya narrates how Juthaka Brahmin
physically and emotionally abused two children- Jaliya and Krishnajina. They were beaten and dragged to his
house to serve as domestic servants. However Juthaka Brahmin attempt was failed and the grandparents of the
children rescued them.

Child abuse is the physical, sexual or emotional maltreatment or neglect of a child or children. Child abuse and
neglect consists of any acts of commission or omission by a parent or other caregiver that results in harm,
potential for harm, or the threat of harm to a child even if the harm is unintentional (Gilbert et al., 2009). There
are five main types of child maltreatment: physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional maltreatment, neglect, and
witnessing domestic violence.
Physical abuse results in actual or potential physical harm from an interaction or lack of an interaction, which is
reasonably within the control of a parent or person in a position of responsibility, power or trust. There may be
single or repeated incidents (Krug et al., 2002).
Infanticide or infant homicide has been narrated in the Jtaka stories. In Chulla Dharmapala Jtakaya the King
Maha Prathapa orders the executioner to decapitate his infant son.
Jeevaka was the son of a sex worker Salavati. When he was born his mother ordered a servant to kill him. The
infant was thrown into garbage. Somehow he survived and later rescued by a prince. The prince adopted him.
Jeevaka became a legendry physician. He even treated Gautama Buddha.

Little Sopaka was physically and emotionally abused by his stepfather. Once his stepfather took him to a
cemetery and tied Sopaka to a dead body. The child was crying in extreme fear and the Buddha rescued him.
Child abuse and neglect can have a multitude of long-term effects on physical health. There are immediate and
long-term effects of child abuse. The immediate emotional effects of abuse and neglect are isolation, fear, and
an inability to trust. The long term psychological consequences include low self-esteem, depression, and
relationship difficulties.
Neglect is frequently defined as the failure of a parent or other person with responsibility for the child to provide
needed food, clothing, shelter, medical care, or supervision to the degree that the childs health, safety, and
well-being are threatened with harm.
In Mattakundali Jtakaya a stingy father neglects the health requirements of his own son. When his son was ill
he does not provide medical treatment fearing it would cost him money. As a result of the neglect the child dies.
ObsessiveCompulsive Disorder (OCD)
Obsessivecompulsive disorder (OCD) is an anxiety disorder. Obsessions are recurrent and persistent
thoughts, impulses, or images that are experienced as intrusive and that cause anxiety and/or distress to the
patient, who tries to ignore them or neutralize them with some other thought or action. Compulsions are
repetitive behaviors or mental acts aimed at preventing or reducing distress and/or anxiety caused by
obsessions or by discomforting sensations (APA).
Ritualistic behaviors are common to the human experience. These behaviors allow individuals in the same
group to establish complex communication with each other, which facilitates and standardizes their relationships
(Mercadante et al., 2004). Many patients with obsessive-compulsive disorder have covert, or internal,
compulsions (de Silva et al., 2003).
According to Harischandra (1998) several cases of compulsive urges and obsessive ideas are described in
the Jtaka stories. Kudhala Jtakaya is a story about an individual who had an obsessive fixation to an
inanimate object (a mammoty). Although he became a monk renouncing everything when he was deprived of

fixated inanimate object he could not control the compulsive urge. Then he disrobed himself and went seeking
the mammoty. After sometime he again wanted to become a monk leaving the fixated inanimate object. Again
the obsessive fixation and anxiety caused him to give-up his monkhood. When it occurred for the third time he
decided to fight back vigorously. Then he threw the mammoty to a river and yelled; I am free at last. He was free
from the obsessive fixation (the original fixation became a transference fixation?). His apprehension and anxiety
was ceased. He was able to concentrate on meditation. He achieved spiritual success.
Body Dysmorphic Disorder
Body Dysmorphic Disorder is considered as a body-image disorder. Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD), a
distressing or impairing preoccupation with an imagined or slight defect in appearance, has been described for
more than a century and increasingly studied over the past several decades (Phillips, 2010). In DSM-IV, BDD is
classified as a separate disorder in the somatoform section (APA). Individuals with BDD have intense
preoccupation with an imagined defect in appearance and if a slight physical anomaly is present, the person's
concern is markedly excessive. This preoccupation causes clinically significant distress or impairment in social,
occupational, or other important areas of functioning. BDD is associated with substantial impairment in
psychosocial functioning and markedly poor quality of life (Bjornsson, 2010).
In Kusa Jtakaya the King Kusa is overly anxious about the size of his nose. He got married to a beautiful
queen named Pabhavati. Fearing his appearance King Kusa visited his wife only in the dark nights. After the
marriage for a long period Pabhavati never saw her husbands face. She felt her body in the
darkness.Pabhavati was curious of her husbands strange behavior. Although she pleaded him to visit during
day time to see his face he never came to meet her at day time.His preoccupation with his facial image causes
him immense distress and impairment in social functioning as a king and as a husband.
Adjustment Disorder
The ICD-1 and DSM-IV define adjustment disorders as transient states of distress and emotional disturbance,
which arise in the course of adapting to a significant life change, stressful life event, serious physical illness, or
possibility of serious illness. The symptoms can include depressed mood, anxiety, worry, a feeling of inability to
cope, plan ahead, or continue in the present situation, and a degree of difficulty in day-to-day living. The
individual may feel liable to dramatic behaviour or outbursts of violence. Adjustment Disorder is a condition
strongly tied to acute and chronic stress (Carta, te al., 2009). .
A hermit in the Muva Pothaka Jtakaya was closely attached to his pet deer. His pet had become his beloved
friend. They were inseparable. After some years the deer dies and the pet loss causes severe adjustment
disorder in the hermit.
Kesava Jataka is about a psycho physiological reaction following separation and this reaction is much similar to
the adjustment disorder that has been illustrated in the DSM. According to the story the ascetic Kesava lived in
Himalaya forest with five hundred pupils. A Brahmin student of Kasi was his senior pupil. Once Kesava went to
Benares and the King invited him to live in the royal park as his guest. He was given all the comforts by the
King. Although he had all the facilities at the royal park Kesava became nostalgic. He missed the Himalaya
forest and his students. Kesava fell ill of loneliness, and the five physicians of the king could not cure
him. Kesava looked depressed and he neglected his mediations and self care. His appetite was changed and
he ate very little. He could not sleep at nights. At his own request he was taken to the Himalaya forest by the
kings minister. When he went to his familiar surrounding and met his students Kesava had a spontaneous
recovery. Again Kesava started his teaching practice.

Posttraumatic Stress Disorder

PTSD is an anxiety disorder that can develop after exposure to a terrifying event or ordeal in which grave
physical harm occurred or was threatened. People with PTSD have persistent frightening thoughts and
memories of their ordeal and feel emotionally numb. They may experience sleep problems, feel detached or
numb, or be easily startled.
The Jtaka storyteller elegantly portrays the clinical picture of a monk (in Dummbala Katta Jathakaya) who had
fear feelings, flashbacks, hyperaousal, avoidance and startling reactions. The monk who was described in this
Jtaka story fits in to the DSM criteria of PTSD.
The said monk had fear feelings, being panicked for a slightest sound (the ancient text describes that the monk
was terrified even hearing a sound such as a drop of a leaf from a tree - which is modern day viewed as hyperarousal), fearing the places where he received terrible experiences and reluctant to visit them (avoidance),
troubled by the fearful mental images (flashbacks?), morbid fear, unable to meditate (lack of concentration),
sweating and heart pounding (activation of the sympathetic nervous system), lack of happiness (depressive
feelings), mental worry etc. The clinical picture, which is given in the Maranabheruka Jtaka much similar to the
present day DSM description of PTSD. The word Maranabheruka roughly translates into English as fear of
death (Jayatunge, 2014).
Survivor Guilt
Guilt is a common response following loss and/or traumatic experiences with significant victimization (Nader,
2001). Guilt is usually defined as an affective state that occurs when an individual believes that he or she has
violated a moral standard either by having done something that one believes one should not have done,
or conversely, by not having done something one believes one should have done, and that one is responsible
for that violation (Strickland, 2001).
Vedhammba Jtakaya could be viewed as a story that recounts survival guilt. According to the Vedhammba
Jtakaya once a Brahamin travels with his student in a thick jungle, unexpectedly they encounter a gang of
thieves who were desperate for money. They demand money from the Brahamin and the student. Neither of
them had the money to pay for the bandits. Then the bandits kidnap them. The student pleaded the thieves not
to harm his mentor and he agreed to bring money. Then the thieves keep the Brahamin and release the
student. When the student went in search of money for the ransom the Brahamin was impatient and he tells the
bandits that he has a Veda mantra that can convert rain water in to gold coins. The Brahamins inappropriate
statement leads to a tragedy and the greedy thieves kill him. When the student returns with the ransom he sees
the dead body of his mentor. He mourns and finally buries the dead body. He feels guilty for leaving the mentor
which caused a catastrophic end.
Sleep Terror Disorder
According to the DSM IV -TR Sleep Terror Disorder ( pavor nocturnus ) is characterized as having recurrent
episodes of abrupt awakening from sleep, usually occurring during the first third of the major sleep episode and
beginning with a panicky scream , intense fear and signs of autonomic arousal, relative unresponsiveness to
efforts of others to comfort the person during the episode , no detailed dream is recalled and there is amnesia
for the episode and the episodes cause clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or
other important areas of functioning. The DSM highlights that the disturbance is not due to the direct
physiological effects of a substance (e.g., a drug of abuse, a medication) or a general medical condition.

Maha Supina Jtakaya gives an unambiguous case study of Sleep terror disorder. This Jtak story is also
known as the sixteen dreams of King Pasenadi Kosol.
This was the first dream that the king saw: Four black bulls came roaring, raising dust with great thunder from
four main directions, with every intention to fight, to the royal courtyard. Spectators were eagerly waiting to see
their fight with jubilation clapping their hands. But, they only made a show of fighting by pawing and bellowing
and finally left without fighting at all. The people were very sad that they couldnt see a good bullfight.
In the second dream the king saw tiny plants and shrubs burst from the soil. When they grew no more than few
inches, they flowered and bore lot of large fruit.
In the third dream he saw cows suckling milk from their very own newborn calves.
In the fourth dream he saw some men replaced the strong adult bulls that were pulling the first carts in a
caravan with weak young calves. Since the young ones were too weak to haul the load they refused to pull the
carts. So, the caravan was unmoving.

In the fifth dream the king saw an extraordinary horse which had two mouths on either side of its head being fed
on both sides at once and it was eating greedily.
In the sixth dream he saw some people were holding a golden bowl which was worth a fortune. They were
begging an old fox to urinate in it, and the horrible beast did just that.
In the seventh dream - a man was plaiting a rope and putting the finished end at his feet. An old hungry vixen,
which was hiding under his bench, was eating the finished rope as fast as the man was plaiting it without his
The eighth dream - At the palace gates, stood a big pitcher full to the brim. There were empty pitchers all
around it. People came from all the directions with containers full of water and poured them into the pitcher that
was already full, not giving a single glance to the empty ones standing nearby. Water overflowed in vain and
soaked into the earth. Yet, they came in thousands and poured water to the same vessel.
Ninth Dream - There was a deep pool with slanting banks dense with lotus flowers to which wild animals came
from all directions to drink water. Surprisingly, the water in the middle of the pool was muddy while the edges,
from where the wild beasts have got into the pool were crystal clear.
Tenth Dream -Rice was boiling in a pot without being properly cooked. One part of the rice looked sopping wet,
one part looked hard and raw, and the other part looked perfectly cooked.
Eleventh Dream -Sour buttermilk was traded for expensive sandalwood worth a fortune in gold.
Twelfth Dream - Dried gourds which usually float on water sank in the water.
Thirteenth Dream - Huge rock boulders floated in the water like dried gourds
Fourteenth Dream -Tiny frogs, no bigger than miniature flowerets were perusing huge snakes and devouring
Fifteenth Dream - A disgusting, vulgar village crow was being escorted wherever it went by an entourage of
mandarin ducks which had feathers with a golden sheen.

Sixteenth Dream - Goats chased wolves and ate them. At the sight of the goats, wolves would runaway and
hide themselves in the wood, screaming with fear. (, 2012)
After seeing these dreams the King Pasenadi Kosol was terrified. He was highly distressed and went to Buddha
asking some explanations. The Buddha analyzed these dreams and reduced the kings agony.
Pain Disorder
Pain is defined as an unpleasant sensory and emotional experience associated with real or potential tissue
damage. Pain experience is therefore mainly a subjective experience mediated in part by beliefs or emotions
(Martelli et al., 2004). Pain disorder is chronic pain experienced by a patient in one or more areas. Often the
pain does not subside for medications and it has a psychological origin.
According to the Ummaga Jatakaya the Count Sirriwaddana was suffering from a headache for over seven
years. The pain causes clinically significant distress in him. No remedy helped him to sooth the pain. His
prolonged pain was headed by his infant son Mahosadha with a piece of sandalwood.
Alcohol Abuse and Dependence
According to the DSM-IV-TR Alcohol Abuse and Dependence are describe as maladaptive pattern of drinking,
leading to clinically significant impairment or distress. DSM5 integrates the two DSMIV disorders, alcohol
abuse and alcohol dependence, into a single disorder called alcohol use disorder (AUD) with mild, moderate,
and severe sub-classifications.
Chronic use of alcohol results in progressive changes to brain and behavior that often lead to the development
of alcohol dependence and alcoholism (Vetreno & Crews, 2014). Butterworth (1995) indicate that chronic
alcoholism results in brain damage and dysfunction leading to a constellation of neuropsychiatric symptoms
including cognitive dysfunction, the Wernicke-Korsakoff Syndrome, alcoholic cerebellar degeneration and
alcoholic dementia.
Chronic alcoholism is associated with impaired cognitive functioning (Vetreno et al., 2011). A number of Jtaka
stories recount the ill effects of alcohol usage. For instance Surapana Jtakaya, Punna Pathi Jtakaya and
Bddraghataka Jtakaya point out health and behaviour related problems associated with alcoholism. According
these Jtaka stories the persons who abuses alcohol lose their rational judgment. Dubbaca Jtakaya narrates
an intoxicated acrobat accidently kills himself while performing a stunt.
Alcohol-Induced Psychotic Disorder
Alcohol-Induced Psychotic Disorder has been revealed in the Darmadavaja Jtaka story. According to the story
a King with alcohol induced psychosis kills his infant son and forces the Royal Chef to cook the dead infants
meat. This horrendous narrative is dramatically presented by the Jtaka storyteller.
Alcohol-related psychosis is a secondary psychosis that manifests as prominent hallucinations and delusions
occurring in a variety of alcohol-related conditions. For patients with alcohol use disorder, previously known as
alcohol abuse and alcohol dependence, psychosis can occur during phases of acute intoxication or withdrawal,
with or without delirium tremens (Medspace).
As described by Perl and colleagues (2010) Alcohol-Induced Psychotic Disorder is a severe mental disorder
with poor outcome. Also they specify that psychotic symptoms can occur in several clinical conditions related to
alcohol such as intoxication, withdrawal, alcohol-induced psychotic disorder and delirium. The association

between alcohol and homicide is well documented and according to a study done by Razvodovsky (2008)
showed that homicide and alcohol are closely connected in the prevailing culture with its intoxication-oriented
drinking pattern.
Cannabis Induced Psychosis
Cannabis intoxication, a cannabis-related disorder coded as 292.89, is defined by DSM-5, as clinically
significant problematic behavioral or psychological changes (eg, impaired motor coordination, euphoria, anxiety,
and sensation of slowed time, impaired judgment, and social withdrawal) that developed during, or shortly after,
cannabis use. Cannabis-induced psychotic disorder (CIPD) refers to psychotic symptoms that arise in the
context of cannabis intoxication (Morales-Muoz et al., 2014).
Cannabis use may increase the risk of psychotic disorders (Van Os, 2002). In addition chronic cannabis use is
associated with reduced dopamine synthesis capacity users are at increased risk of schizophrenia (Bloomfield,
2014). The 27-year follow-up of the Swedish cohort by Zammit et al. (2002) found a doseresponse
relationship between frequency of cannabis use at baseline and risk of schizophrenia during the follow-up
(Parakh & Basu, 2013). Cannabis use could lead to psychosis ((Griffith-Lendering et al ., 2013) and associated
with a range of adverse outcomes in later life (Fergusson & Boden , 2008).
Cannabis sativa and cannabis indica are members of the nettle family that have grown wild throughout the
world for centuries. Cannabis use can cause acute adverse mental effects that mimic psychiatric disorders
(Khan, 2009). Cannabis use also causes symptoms of depersonalization, fear of dying, irrational panic, and
paranoid ideas (Thomas, 1993).
Cannabis has a long history in India, veiled in legends and religion. The earliest mention of cannabis has been
found in The Vedas, or sacred Hindu texts. These writings may have been compiled as early as 2000 to 1400
B.C (Gumbiner, 2011). The earliest written reference to cannabis in India may occur in the Atharvaveda, dating
to about 1500 BCE (Russo, 2005).
During Buddhas time some mystics used cannabis as an aid to spiritual experience. In early Buddhism there
appears to have been an awareness of some of the dangers of addictive behavior. Principally the Buddha
seems to have exhorted his followers to avoid addictive substances and behaviors by drawing attention to their
unwanted consequences (Groves, 2014). Buddhist teachings constitute a rich source of aetiological models and
possible therapies for addictions (Groves, 1994).
Some of the Jtaka stories point out abnormal and immoral behavior after substance misuse. These Jtaka
stories indicate that substance misuse affects mind, body, emotional and spiritual wellbeing. The Buddhism
identifies substance abuse as a severe type of attachment and it leads to suffering. Gray (2003) elucidate that
drug addiction is a lifestyle accompanied by physical, mental and spiritual suffering for the addicts, their families
and society.
The Buddha recognized addiction problems and advised his followers accordingly and made an emphasis on
craving and attachment, an understanding of the workings of the mind, as well as practices to work with the
mind to assist addiction recovery. (Groves, 2014).
From a Buddhist perspective addictive behaviour may be seen as a false refuge and a source of attachment
which unwittingly, but inevitably, leads to suffering. Since the root of this is ignorance, there is no question of
disapprobation for sinful behaviour, unlike early Western moral or religious views of addiction (Groves, 1994).

Most of the Jtaka stories highlight importance of five precepts that could be used as a buffer against substance
abuse. As indicated by Bayles (2014) human beings commonly have many negative mental traits, observing the
five precepts is one of the very basic ways to counteract the negative traits. The five precepts are: (1) refrain
from harming self or others, (2) do not steal, (3) do not practice sexual misconduct, (4) speak truthfully, and (5)
do not use drugs / alcohol that cause carelessness and loss of awareness (Faxun, 2011). As such, the five
precepts help guide physical actions, speech, and mental attitude via a systematic means aimed at actualizing
the purification of the body, speech, and mind.
Pathological Gambling
Pathological gambling (PG) is a non-substance based addiction that shares many behavioral and neural
features with substance based addictions (Wiehler & Peters, 2014). Ochoa (2013) states that decision-making
deficits are observed in pathological gambling. In addition the individuals with PG have impairments in selfregulatory behavior (Alvarez-Moya et al. , 2011)
According to the American Psychiatric Association Pathological gambling (PG) is classified in the DSM-IV as a
disorder of impulse control with the essential feature being recurrent and maladaptive gambling behaviour. The
individual has a preoccupation with gambling, needs to gamble with increasing amounts of money in order to
achieve the desired level of excitement, repeated, unsuccessful efforts to control, cut back or stop gambling,
feels restless or irritable when attempting to cut down or stop gambling, uses gambling as a way of escaping
from problems or of relieving a dysphoric mood, has jeopardized or lost a significant relationship, job or
educational or career opportunity because of gambling etc.
In his paper Dostoyevski and Parricide, Freud (1928) suggests that pathological gambling is a form of
addiction related to the Oedipus complex. The individual gambles as a substitute for masturbation. Also
gambling constitutes a way of punishment that secondarily becomes a pleasurable activity. Thus, Freud
suggests masochistic component to pathological gambling (Moreyra et al., 2000). Pathological gambling is
proposed as a participant of an impulsive-compulsive spectrum related to obsessive-compulsive disorder
(Tavares & Gentil , 2007)
The Jtaka storyteller narrates of a pathological gambler named Thundila in the Thakari Jtaka story. Thundila
whose sister Kali a sex worker lived in the city of Benares. He was addicted to gambling and lost his entire
wealth. He used to demand money from his sister Kali. Once Kali became annoyed due to her brothers wild
behavior and chased Thundila from her house.
Tundila was described as a person who was preoccupied with gambling and had loss of control. Tundila was
spending an excessive amount of time gambling often the entire day. He borrowed money from his sister,
relatives and friends to gamble. When failed he was lying and pleading to get money. He had jeopardized and
lost his relationship with his sister due to gambling behaviour. The behavioral features of the gambler Thundila
is very much similar to the behavioral symptomatology that has been described in the Diagnostic and Statistical
Manual of Mental Disorders
Dissociative Trance Disorders (Possession Disorder)
Pathological Possession Trance (PPT) was formerly known as dissociative trance disorder in the DSM
psychiatric manual, and became included within the dissociative identity disorder criteria in the DSM-5. The
experience of being "possessed" by another entity, such as a person, god, demon, animal, or inanimate object,
holds different meanings in different cultures. Yet the phenomenon of possession states has been reported
worldwide (Gaw et al., 1998). Although dissociative trance disorders, especially possession disorder are

probably more common than is usually though, precise clinical data are lacking (Ferracuti, Sacco & Lazzari,
Spirit possession is a common, worldwide phenomenon with dissociative features and studies in Europe and
the United States have revealed associations among psychoform and somatoform dissociation and (reported)
potential traumatic events (van Duijl et al., 2010). Spirit possession little attention from mental health care
systems, possibly due to the cultural complexity of defining pathological trance syndromes and its diagnosis and
treatment (Cardea et al. 2008; Castillo 1992, 1998; Marjolein van Duijl, 2010).
Aspects of possession are reviewed in historical, cultural and clinical contexts (Prins, 1992). Possession
disorder is basically an illness of attribution that has intrinsic meaning to the individuals suffering from it.
Illnesses of attribution are defined not so much by their signs and symptoms as by their presumed etiologic
mechanisms (Gaw et al., 1998).
The Pandit Kavinda (in the Ummaga Jtakaya storyline) seems to be suffering from Dissociative Trance
Disorder- Possession state. As the Pandit describes it is a transient monthly occurrence on full moon days.
When he is under the trance he loses control of his body as well as the control over his consciousness. His
behavior changes rapidly. There is a change in tone of voice and he barks like a dog. He loses the awareness
of surrounding and there is a loss of personal identity. The Pandit Kavinda believes that he is under a
possession by a demon.
The Asilakkhana Jtakaya gives some clues about Possession state that was known to the ancient people in
India. In this Jtaka story a young princess pretends that she is under a demonic influence in order to refuse the
marriage proposals and to be with her lover. The king became convinced thatshe was possessed by demons.
Malingering has been said to be synonymous with faking, lying and fraud (Lo Piccolo et al, 1999; Avasthi et al,
2007) and these have been integral parts of human behaviour since the earliest times. Malingering was
documented in biblical times. David "feigned insanity and acted like a madman" to avoid a king's wrath
(Lebourgeois, 2007). The DSM-IV-TR defines Malingering as the intentional production of false or grossly
exaggerated physical or psychological symptoms, motivated by external incentives. Although malingering is not
considered a mental disorder, it is recognized by the DSM as something that warrants clinical attention. The
difference between malingering and simple unreliable reporting is a matter of the individuals intent. Malingering,
by definition, is deliberate (Conroy & Kwartner, 2006).
Many Jtaka stories describe malingerers who were interested in secondary gain. For instance Nigrodhajtakaya indicates a case study of false pregnancy. However this story is not about pseudocyesis which is a
rare psychiatric syndrome. In the Nigrodha-jtaka the Bodhisattva is abandoned at birth by his mother and
adopted by a woman who had been feigning pregnancy. According to the story her pregnancy was found to be
a fake made-up.
In Themiya Jtakaya the Prince Themiya is malingering as an autistic child. This case can be viewed as
cognitive malingering. Cognitive malingering refers to feigning a deficit, pretending to be less intelligent or less
able than one actually is. Typical examples include someone attempting to appear to have mental retardation or
a significant brain injury or severe memory problems (Conroy & Kwartner, 2006).


In Bandhanamokkha Jtakaya a queen with adulterous behavior fakes illness to trick the king. She pretends
that she became a victim of an attempted rape. She presents self with inflicted bruisers and bogus emotional
complaints to prove the rape. But the truth was revealed and the queen was punished.