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Academic Sutta Name Notes PSA Plae Vagga Nikaya PTS Keywords
J.488 Bhisa Jaataka Once the bodhisatva was born into a family with eighty crores. He was called Mahaka~ncana and had six younger brothers and a sister. None of them would marry and on the death of their parents, they distributed their wealth, and together with a servant and a maid, went to the Himalayas to become ascetics, gathering food and wild food. Later they agreed that Mahaka~ncana, the sister and the maid should be spared the task of collecting fruit and the others should do this in turn. Each day the fruits collected were divided into lots and the gong was sounded. The ascetics would then come one by one and take each his share or her share. By the glory of their virtues, Sakka’s throne trembled. In order to test them, for three days in succession he caused Mahaka~ncana’s share to disappear. On the third day, Mahaka~ncana summoned the others and asked the reason for this. Each protested his innocence and swore an oath that heavy curses should attend them if any were guilty of stealing so much as a lotus stalk (bhisa). In each case punishment was to be that in their next birth they should have the encumberances of land and possessions, which from an ascetic’s point of view would be grievous things. At this gathering were also present the chief deity of the forest, an elephant escaped from a stake, a monkey who had once belonged to a snake-charmer and Sakka who remained invisible. At the end of their protestations of innocence, Sakka inquired of Mahaka~ncana why they all so dreaded possessions. On hearing the explanation, he was greatly moved and asked pardon of the ascetics for his trick. The story was related in the same circumstances as the Kusa Jataka (J.531). Sariputta, Moggallana, Punna, Kassapa, Anuruddha and Ananda were the Bodhisatva’s brothers, uppalavanna the sister, Khujjuttara the maid, Cittagahapati the servant, Satagiri the forest deity, Parileyya the elephant, Madhuvasettha the monkey and Kaludayi was Sakka. The Bhisacariya is included in the Cariyapitaka (Cya.iii.4) and also in the Jatakamala (No.19) 60/402 Jaataka Khuddhaka J.iv.304ff. renunciation


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Last modified on: Sunday, 2 January 2000.