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Academic Sutta Name Notes PSA Plae Vagga Nikaya PTS Keywords
J.528 Mahaabodhi Jaataka The bodhisatva was once born in an udicca brahmin family, and on growing up, renounced the world. His name was Bodhi. Once, during the rains, he came to Benares, and at the invitation of the king, stayed in the royal parkuhe king had five unjust councillors. A man badly treated by them, asked the bodhisatva to intervene on his behalf. Bodhi reheard the case and decided in his favour. The people applauded and the king begged Bodhi to adjudicate in his court. This he did for twelve years, but the old councillors, deprived of their gains, plotted against Bodhi -- when they failed to drive him away by reducing his honours, they obtained the king’s permission to kill him. A tawny dog, formerly fed by the bodhisatva, overheard the plot and warned Bodhi in advance. Bodhi left the city and took refuge in a border village. The counsellors said that Bodhi and the queen were seeking to kill the king, so the king executed the queen. The queen’s sons rose in revolt and put the king in great fear. When Bodhi heard this, he took a dried monkey skin, went to Benares and stayed again in the royal park. The king came to honour him, but Bodhi remained silent, stroking the monkey skin. The king asked him why he did so. He answered ‘this monkey is of the greatest service to me -- I travel about on its back (wear it as a garment), it carried my water pot (wear it on his shoulder beneath the water pot), swept out my dwelling (used its skin as a brush), performed various other duties for me, in the end, through its simplicity, I ate its flesh and now sit and lie on its skin’. The counsellors present caused a great uproar and accused him of murder and ingratitude. Bodhi however, knew that each of the counsellors denied the effect of intention in a different way: one denied karma, one attributed everything to a supreme being, one believed that everything was the result of past actions, one believed in annihilation, and the last believed in the khattiya doctrine that one should secure one’s own interests, even to the extent of killing one’s parents. He therefore argued with one after another, and therefore established that no blame could be attached to him for the death of the monkey. Thus having completed their discomfiture, he exhorted the king not to trust slanderers and asked the king’s sons to obtain their father’s pardon. The king wished the councellors to be killed, but Bodhi intervened, and they were disgraced by exile from the kingdom, their hair fastened in five locks. See also Jatakamala xxiii. 62/077 Jaataka Khuddhaka J.v.227ff. injustice, false view

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Last modified on: Sunday, 2 January 2000.