The Mahàvastu, the `Great Story', claims to be a vinaya, a word meaning `discipline' and usually used for a collection of rules for monks or nuns. In fact, the Mahàvastu is  a long and rather chaotic biography of the Buddha compiled from oral and written sources between about the 2nd century BCE and the 3rd century CE. A veritable treasure house of legends, ballads, authentic historical information, devotional poetry and Dhamma teachings, it also contains numerous Jàtaka stories, some from the Tipiñaka, others unique to it.