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Academic Sutta Name Notes PSA Plae Vagga Nikaya PTS Keywords
J.077 Mahaasupina Jaataka

One night King Pasenadi of Kosala had sixteen bad dreams and when his brahmins were consulted, they predicted harm to his kingdom, to his life or his wealth and prescribed sacrifices to avert imminent danger. Mallika suggested that the Buddha should be consulted -- the king followed her advice and the Buddha explained the dreams.

  1. Wild bulls enter the royal courtyard to fight but retire after only roaring and bellowing (when wicked kings rule, there will be rainclouds but no rain);
  2. Trees bear fruit when only one span high (men shall be shortlived owing to their lusts);
  3. Cows sucked calves that were only a day old (in the future the young would refuse to respect the old);
  4. Sturdy draught oxen stand by while young steers tried to draw loads (a time when administration is entrusted to the young and inexperienced);
  5. A horse which ate from two mouths, one on either side of its body (a time when the kingís judges will survive on bribes);
  6. A group of people hold a valuable bowl in which a jackal stales (kings will exalt the low-born and nobles be married off to upstarts);
  7. A man trails a rope trailing a rope-end at his feet while a she-jackal bites at it (women will lose their sense of modesty and behave badly);
  8. A big pitcher at the palace gate is filled with water but surrounded by empty ones (kings will be poor and set the whole country working for them, the people being left in extreme poverty;
  9. A deep pool with sloping banks overgrown with lotus -- the middle was muddy but the edge had clear water (unrighteous kings in the capital will oppress the people who will take refuge in the frontier districts);
  10. Rice cooking in a pot, cooks unevenly with one part sodden, one part raw and one part well cooked (men of all classes will become wicked, even brahmins and sages, and even the forces of nature will turn against them spoiling the harvest);
  11. Bartering buttermilk for precious sandalwood (Dhamma will decay and the votaries clamour for money and gifts);
  12. Empty pumpkins sink in the water (the world will be reversed with the lowborn becoming lords and the nobility sinking into poverty);
  13. Solid blocks of stone float in the water (nobles and wise men are scorned while upstarts have their way);
  14. Tiny frogs chew huge snakes and eat them (because of their lusts, men will become slaves to their wives and be ruled by them);
  15. A wicked village crow is attended by mallards (ignorant and cowardly kings will come to power who will raise their servants to power and leave their nobles to wait on them);
  16. Goats chase panthers, devouring them (lowborn will be raised to lordship and nobles will sink to obscurity and distress. When the latter plead for their rights, the king has them cudgelled and bastinadoed.

Having thus explained the dreams, the Buddha told Pasenadi the Jataka of a king of Benares named Brahmadatta who had dreams similar to Pasenadi. When he consulted the Brahmins they began to prepare sacrifices. A young brahmin protested, saying that animal sacrifice was against the teaching of the Vedas, but they would not listen. The bodhisatva who was a hermit in the Himalaya, possessed of insight, became aware of what was happening, travelled through the air adn took his seat in the park. There he was seen by the young brahmin who brought the king to the park. The bodhisatva heard the kingís dreams and explained them to his satisfaction. Ananda was the king and Sariputta the young brahmin.

56/216 Jaataka Khuddhaka J.i.334ff. dream, revelation, eschatology, injustice

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Last modified on: Sunday, 2 January 2000.