Jātakamālā or Garland of Birth Stories

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21. The Story of Cuḍḍabodhi Though Śūra does not mention the Bodhisattva's name which he bore in this existence, yet it appears from the Pāli redactions, that Cuḍḍabodhi, literally ‘Little Bodhi,’ is intended as his proper name.01 (Kṣānti)
(Compare the Pāli Jātaka, No. 443, Fausböll IV, 22-27; Cariyāpiṭaka 11, 4)

By keeping down his anger a man appeases his enemies, but doing otherwise he will inflame them. This will be taught as follows.

[173] One time the Bodhisattva, that Great Being, was born in this world in a certain noble Brāhmanical family, it is said, who enjoyed great renown for their practise of virtues in a grand style, owned a large and well-secured estate, were honoured by the king and favoured by the gods. In course of time he grew up, and having duly received the sacraments, as he exerted himself to excel in the virtue of learning, within a short time he became renowned in the assemblies of the learned.

1. The fame of the learned unfolds itself in the assemblies of the learned, in the same way as jewels get their reputation with jewellers, as heroes are known on the battle-field.

Now when the Great-minded One, according to his constant observance of the Law in previous existences and to the enlightenment of his mind by wisdom, had familiarised himself with world-renunciation, his house no longer pleased him. He understood that worldly pleasures are the abode of many evils and sins, since they are attended by a great deal of discomfort in consequence of strife, quarrel, infatuation, and subject to (losses of wealth either from the side of) the king, or (because of) water, or fire, or thieves, or unfriendly kinsmen; so he was convinced that they can never yield satisfaction.

Accordingly, shunning them like poisonous food and longing for the Self, he parted with his fair hair and beard, resigned the delusive brilliancy of a householder's dress, and putting on the vile orange-coloured robes, embraced that glorious state of the ascetic life disciplined by rules and restrained by vows. His wife, who loved him much, likewise cut off her hair, and forsook the care of apparelling her body and beautifying it with orna-ments. Then, only adorned by the natural beauty of her form and virtues, she covered her limbs with the orange-coloured robes, and followed her husband.

Now, when the Bodhisattva understood her deter-mination of going with him to the penance-forest, knowing that the delicate constitution of a woman [174] is unfit for the ascetic life, he spoke to her: “My dear, truly, you have now shown me your sincere affection. Yet this be sufficient. Do not persist in your determination of being my companion in the forest. It would rather be suitable for you to take up your abode in such a place where other women dwell who have forsaken the world; with them you should live. It is a hard thing to pass the night in forest-dwellings. Look here.

2. Cemeteries, desert houses, mountains, forests infested by ferocious animals, are the resting-places of the homeless ascetics; they take their rest in whatsoever place they are when the sun sets.

3. Being intent on meditation, they always like to walk alone, and are averse even to the sight of a woman. Therefore, make up your mind to desist from your purpose. What profit may you have from that wandering life?”

But she who had firmly resolved upon accompanying him, answered him something like this, while her eyes grew dim with tears:

4, 5. “If I should suppose my going with you a matter of weariness rather than of joy, do you think I should desire a thing which causes suffering to myself and displeasure to you?

But it is because I cannot bear to live without you, that you must pardon this lack of obedience to your orders.”

And though he repeated his entreaties, she never would turn back. Then the Bodhisattva gave up his opposition, and silently suffered her companionship. As the female cakravāka goes after her mate, so she went along with him in his wanderings through villages and towns and markets.

One day after meal-time he performed the usual rite of profound meditation (dhyāna) in a lonely part of some forest. It was a splendid landscape, adorned with many groves of trees affording much shade, and waited on, as it were, by the sunbeams peeping here and there through the thick foliage with the softness of the moonlight; the dust of various flowers overspread [175] the ground; in short, it was a fair spot.

In the afternoon he rose from his profound meditation, and sewed rags together to make clothes. Pāṁsukūlāni sīvyati sma.02 And at no great distance from him, she, the companion of his homeless life, embellishing by the splendour of her beauty the trunk of a tree in whose shade she was seated like a deity, was meditating on such subject and in such manner as he had enjoined her.

It was the season of spring, when gardens and groves are at their loveliest. On all sides young and tender shoots abounded; the soft humming of crowds of bees roaming about was heard, as well as the cries of joy uttered by the lascivious cuckoos; the lakes and ponds, adorned with laughing lotuses and water-lilies, were an attraction for the eyes; there blew soft winds scented with the odours and perfumes of manifold blossoms. To enjoy that magnificence of spring, the king of that country made a tour in the groves, and came to that very spot.

6, 7. It does, indeed, afford gladness to the mind to behold forest-regions at spring-time, when their various blossoms and flower-clusters make them bright, as if that season enveloped them with its pomp, when the he-cuckoo and the peacock sing, the drunken bees make their buzzing sound, when soft and fresh grass-plots cover the earth and lotuses fill up the water-basins. Then the groves are the play-grounds of the Love-god.

On seeing the Bodhisattva, the king respectfully drew near to him, and after the usual ceremonial greetings and complimentary words, sat down apart. Then, on perceiving the female ascetic, that very lovely appari-tion, the beauty of her figure perturbed his heart, and though understanding that she must certainly be the companion of his religious duties, owing to the lasciviousness of his nature, he reflected on some contrivance to carry her away.

8. But having heard of the transcendent power of [176] the ascetics, that the fire of their wrath can shoot a curse as its flame, he refrained from a rash deed of contempt against him, even though the Love-god had destroyed the moral checks (that might have restrained him).

Then this thought entered his mind: “Let me examine the extent of his penance-obtained power. Then I shall be able to act in a proper manner, not otherwise. If his mind is ruled by passionate affection for her, surely, he has no power gained by penance. But if he were to prove dispassionate or to show little interest in her, then he may be supposed to possess that sublime power.” Having thus considered, the king, desirous of proving that penance-powers spoke to the Bodhisattva, as if he wished his good. “Say, ascetic, this world abounds in rogues and bold adventurers. Why, it is not fit for Your Reverence to have with you such a handsome person as this companion of your religious duties in remote forests, where you are destitute of protection. If she were to be injured by somebody, certainly people would censure me, too. Look here.

9, 10. Suppose, while living in these lonely regions, some man disregarding both you, a penance-exhausted ascetic, and Righteousness, were to carry her off by force, what else could you do in that case but wail on her account?

Indulging in anger, forsooth, agitates the mind and destroys the glory of a religious life, since it tends to the detriment of it. It is, therefore, best to let her live in an inhabited place. Of what use, after all, is female company to ascetics?”

The Bodhisattva said: “Your Majesty has spoken truth. Yet hear to what I would resort in such circumstances.

11. Who were to act in such a case against me,
Should pride incite or thoughtless rashness move him,
In truth, I would, while living, not release him,
A rain-cloud like that never will endure dust.”

Then the king thought: “He takes a great interest [177] in her, he does not possess penance-power,” and despising the Great Being, was no longer afraid of injuring him. Obeying his passion, he ordered his attendants who were in charge of his zenana: “Go and fetch this female ascetic into my zenana.” On hearing this order, she, like a deer assailed by a ferocious animal, showed her fear, alarm, and dismay by her (changed) countenance, her eyes filled with tears, and overpowered by her grief, she lamented in a faltering voice somewhat in this manner:

12. “To mankind, overcome by sufferings, the king is the best refuge, it is said, like a father. But whose help can be implored by him, to whom the king himself acts as an evildoer?

13. Alas! The guardians of the world-quarters (lokapālās) have been dismissed from their office, or they do not exist at all, or they are dead, since they make no effort to protect the oppressed. Dharma himself is but a mere sound, I suppose.

14. But why do I reproach the Celestials, while my lord himself is thus keeping silence, undisturbed by my fate? Are you not bound to protect even a stranger who is ill-treated by wicked people?

15. By the thunderbolt of his curse he might change a mountain into dust if he were to pronounce the word ‘perish,’ and still, he does not break silence, whilst his wife is thus injured! And I must live to see this, wretched woman that I am!

16. Or am I a bad person, scarcely deserving pity after coming into this distress? But ascetics ought to behave with compassion towards any one in distress. Is not this their proper line of conduct?

17. I am afraid you bear in mind even now my refusal to leave you, when you ordered me to turn back. Alas! Is then this catastrophe the happiness I longed for through the fulfilment of my own wish though contrary to yours?”

While she thus lamented - and what else could she do, that female ascetic, but cry and wail and weep in piteous accents? - the royal attendants, obeying the [178] orders of the king, placed her on a chariot, and before the very eyes of the Great Being carried her off to the zenana. The Bodhisattva, however, had repressed his powerful anger by the power of his tranquillity, and was sewing his rags just as before without the slightest perturbation, as calm and serene as ever. To him the king spoke:

18. “Threatening words of indignation and anger you uttered in a loud and strength-betraying voice, but now, on seeing that beauty ravished before your eyes, you keep quiet and are cast down because you have no power.

19. Why, show your wrath, either by the strength of your arm or by the splendid power you have accu-mulated as the result of your penance. He who, not knowing the compass of his own faculties, takes an engagement he cannot keep, such a one loses his splendour, you know.”

The Bodhisattva replied: “Know that I did keep my engagement, Your Majesty.

20. He who was ready in that case against me
To act and struggled - I did not release him,
But kept him down, made him by force be quiet,
So you must own that I made true my promise.”

That excessive firmness of mind of the Bodhisattva, proved by his tranquillity, did not fail to inspire the king with respect for the virtues of the ascetic. And he began to reflect: “This Brāhman must have hinted at something else, speaking thus, and I, not understanding his mind, committed a rash action.” This reflection arising within him, induced him to ask the Bodhisattva:

21. “Who was that other who acted against you and was not released by you, however much he struggled, no more than rising dust is by a rain-cloud? Whom did you quiet then?”

 The Bodhisattva answered: “Hearken, great prince.

22. He, whose forthcoming robs the insight and without whose appearance a man sees clearly, rose [179] within me, but I repressed him; Anger is the name of that being, disastrous to his fosterer.

23. He, at whose appearance the foes of man-kind rejoice, rose within me, but I repressed him, that Anger who would have caused gladness to my enemies.

24. Him who, when bursting forth, induces man to nothing good and blinds the eye of the mind, him I did subdue, O king; Anger is his name.

25. Yea, I have destroyed that hideous-looking ferocious monster rising up within me, that anger, which becomes to him whom it has subdued the cause of leaving his good and losing even the profit obtained before.

26. As fire, by the process of attrition, arises from a piece of wood to the destruction of that very log, in the same way wrath, breaking out by the false con-ceptions it produces in the mind of a man, tends to his ruin.

27. He who is not able to appease the heart-burning fever of anger, when fire-like it bursts forth with fierceness, such a man is little esteemed; his reputation fades away, just as moonshine, that friend of the waterlilies, fades in the blush of dawn.

28. But he who, not heeding insults from the side of other people, considers anger as his real enemy, the reputation of such a man shines with brightness, like the auspicious lustre which streams down the disc of the crescent.

Further, anger is also attended by other noxious qualities of importance.

29. An angry man, though resplendent with orna-ments, looks ugly; the fire of wrath has taken away the splendour of his beauty. And lying on a precious couch, he does not rest at his ease, his heart being wounded by the arrow of anger.

30. Bewildered by wrath, a man forgets to keep the side by which to reach the happiness suitable for himself, and runs off on the wrong road, so that he forfeits the happiness consisting in a good reputation, [180] as the moon is deprived of its lustre in the dark part of its menstrual course.

31. By wrath he throws himself headlong into his ruin, in spite of the efforts of his friends to restrain him. As a rule he gets into a stupid rage of hatred, and the power of his mind being impaired, he is unable to distinguish between what is good for him and what is bad.

32. Carried away by his anger, he will commit sinful actions to be repented of with many misfortunes for centuries. Can enemies, whose wrath has been provoked by severe injuries, do anything worse?

33. Anger is our adversary within us, this I know. Who may bear the free course of its insolence?

34. For this reason I did not release that anger, although it was struggling within me. Who, indeed, may suffer himself to overlook an enemy able to do such mischief?”

These heart-moving words and the marvellous for-bearance he had proved by them to possess, softened and converted the mind of that king who spoke:

35. “Worthy, indeed, of your tranquillity of mind are these words you have spoken! ... But, why use many words? I was deceived because I did not understand you.”

After thus praising the Bodhisattva, he went near to him and throwing himself at his feet, confessed his sin. And he dismissed also that female ascetic, after obtaining her pardon, and offered himself to the disposal of the Bodhisattva as his attendant.

In this manner a man by keeping down his anger appeases his enemies, but doing otherwise he will inflame them. Thus considering, one ought to strive after the suppression of anger.

[This story is also to be told in connection with such sayings as praise the precept of forbearance, viz. “in this manner unfriendly feelings are set at rest by friendliness, and by self-restraint hatred is not allowed to grow,” and “in this manner he who banishes anger acts to the benefit of [181] both.”

Likewise when expounding the sinfulness of anger, and treating of the high-mindedness of the Tathāgata.]