Ja 220 The Story about (the Family Priest) Dhammaddhaja

In the present Devadatta is going around trying to kill the Buddha. The latter tells a story about how how in the past a corrupt official had tried to get him killed using various strategems, but with the help of Sakka he was always defeated. Eventually he was tasked with finding a man with four good qualities to look after a palace – and again he managed to find one.

1. Sukhaṁ jīvitarūposi, raṭṭhā vivanam-āgato,
So ekako rukkhamūle, kapaṇo viya jhāyasī ti?

Your life looks happy, leaving the kingdom you go to the desert, alone at the root of a tree, do you meditate like a wretch?

In this connection, your life looks happy, your life is comparatively happy, like one grown up in happiness, maintaining happiness.

The kingdom means a place where people are spread out.

You go to the desert, having entered the wilderness, a place with no water.

At the root of a tree means in the vicinity of a tree.

Do you meditate like a wretch? Just like a wretch sitting alone, do you meditate, contemplate, what do you think? he asks.

2. Sukhaṁ jīvitarūposmi, raṭṭhā vivanam-āgato,
So ekako rukkhamūle,
Kapaṇo viya jhāyāmi, sataṁ Dhammaṁ anussaran-ti.

My life looks happy, leaving the kingdom I go to the desert, alone at the root of a tree, just like a wretch I meditate, recollecting the good Dhamma.

In this connection, recollecting the good Dhamma, friend, this is the truth, I am one whose life looks happy, but leaving the kingdom I came to the desert, alone, having sat at the root of this tree, just like a wretch I meditate. But what do you say: “What do you think?” I reply to you: “The good Dhamma.” Surely I sit here recollecting the good Dhamma.

Good Dhamma, the good Dhamma of the Buddhas, Independent Buddhas, Buddhas’ disciples, of the good people, the wise ones. Gain and loss, fame and infamy, blame and praise, happiness and suffering, surely these are the eight kinds of worldly conditions. But while being assailed by these he does not shake, he does not stir, this here is what is reckoned as the unshakeable good Dhamma, I sit recollecting this, this is the explanation.

I am not envious, O king, I am not one who drinks strong drink, I am not one with attachments, I am resolved on non-anger.

Because of a woman, king, I had the family priest fettered, he taught me what was beneficial, so I am not envious.

This is the meaning: King, previously in this city of Benares, having become such a king, because of a woman I had the family priest fettered.

They bind the unbound right there, where fools speak, they free the bound right there, where the wise speak.

In the Bandhana Jātaka as in the tradition, at one time I became king Chattapāṇi. The queen, having corrupted sixty-four foot-servants, and not fulfilling her heart’s desire for the Bodhisatta, desiring to ruin him, set him at variance and had him fettered. Then having fettered him, the Bodhisatta was brought back, and having explained the real nature of the queen’s fault, he was freed from bondage by the king, and he had all the foot-servants set free, and further he advised the king, saying: “Great king, forgive the offence of these foot-servants and the queen.” And everything should be understood in detail according to what was said in the Jātaka above. Referring to this he said:

Because of a woman, king, I had the family priest fettered, he taught me what was beneficial, so I am not envious.

But then I thought: “I have abandoned sixteen thousand women, and because of the defilements, although treating her well, I was not able to please this one, thus when angry it is hard to fulfil the desire of women. When clothed in soiled clothes, it is like someone getting angry, saying: ‘Why are they soiled?’ After the the food is eaten it becomes excrement and it is like someone getting angry, saying: ‘Why does it have such a nature?’ So I determined: ‘Beginning from now for as long as I have not attained Arahatta, envy depending on a defilement will not arise in me.’ Beginning from there I became unenvious. Referring to this: “Therefore I am not envious,” was said.

When drunk, great king, I ate my own child’s flesh, being touched by grief, I eschewed strong drink.

Previously, great king, I became such a king of Benares, I was unable to continue without strong drink, I was unable to eat food without meat.

In the city, on the feast-days when killing is not allowed, On the feast-days, then as now, there were orders not to kill, so as not to offend the gods. the cook, having taken meat on the thirteenth of the month, I.e. on the last day before the prohibition started. set it aside, and, being poorly stored, the dogs ate it.

The cook, not receiving meat on the feast-day, having cooked various other foods of the best tastes for the king, and ascended the palace, being unable to serve meat, having approached the queen, he said: “Queen, today I have not received meat, and I am certainly not able to serve food without meat, what should I do?”

“Dear, my son is held dear, is agreeable to the king, having seen my son, the king, kissing and embracing him, does not think Lit: does not know. even of his own existence, having dressed up my son, and made him sit on the king’s lap, while he is playing with his son, you can serve the food to the king.”

Having said this and dressed up her son and decorated him with finery, she sat him on the king’s lap. While the king was playing with his son the food was served by the cook. The king, not seeing meat on the dish, being intoxicated with liquor, asked: “Where is the meat?”

He said: “Today, king, is a feast-day when killing is not allowed, no meat is available.”

Having said: “Is meat so hard to find for me?” having wrung the neck of his dear son sitting on his lap, bringing his life to destruction, and throwing the corpse in front of the cook, he said: “Quickly prepare and bring the meat.”

The cook did so, and the king ate the food with his own son’s flesh. Out of fear of the king there was no one able to wail, or cry, or speak out. The king, having eaten, went to sleep on top of the bed, and when he woke up before dawn being no longer drunk, he said: “Bring me my son.”

At that time the queen fell at his feet wailing. Having said: “Why do you cry madam?” She said: “King, yesterday, after killing your son, you ate food with his flesh.”

The king having cried and wailed with grief for his son, said: “This suffering has arisen for me because of liquor.”

After seeing the fault in liquor, he said: “Beginning from now until I attain Arahatta, I will not drink liquor which causes such ruination,” and having taken dirt and wiped his mouth, he made this determination.

Beginning from then he did not drink any intoxicants. Referring to this fact, this verse: “When drunk, great king,” was spoken.

King, I was called Kitavāsa, my son broke an Independent Buddha’s bowl, and passed away; through that cause I became unattached.

Great king, formerly I was a king of Benares called Kitavāsa. To me a son was born. Having seen him those who could read signs, said: “Great king, this boy will die through not receiving water,” so he gave the name Duṭṭhakumāra to him. When he had grown up he was given the viceroyalty.

The king walked round putting his son to the front or behind. Fearing the death of his son through not receiving water, he built lakes at the four gates and here and there inside the city, and made pavillions at the crossroads and so on and set up water pots.

One day in the morning, being decorated with ornaments, while going to the garden he saw an Independent Buddha on the highway. Having seen the Independent Buddha the many-folk worshipped and praised him, and held up their hands in reverential salutation to him.

The prince thought: “While going along with one such as I, they worship and praise this shaveling, and hold up their hands in reverential salutation to him.”

Angrily he dismounted from the elephant’s back, and approached the Independent Buddha, saying: “Ascetic, have you received your food?” “Yes, prince,” he said. Taking the bowl from his hand he threw it on the floor, and trampled it together with the food, and crushed it to bits with a blow of his foot.

The Independent Buddha said: “This person is truly lost,” and stared into his face.

The prince said: “Ascetic, I am king Kitavāsa’s son, called Duṭṭhakumāra by name. Being angry at me, opening your eyes, and looking round, what will you do?”

The Independent Buddha, having his food cut off, ascending into the sky, went to Mount Nandamūla in the northern Himālaya.

At that very moment the prince’s wicked deed matured. Saying: “I am burning, burning,” fire emerged from his body and he fell down right there.

Right there and then whatever water there was, all of that water was cut off, the water-courses dried up, and reaching the destruction of his life he was reborn in the ceaseless hell.

The king heard what had happened and overcome with grief for his son, thought: “This grief has arisen based on affection for my son, if there were no attachment, Sneho normally means love, affection, but here it means the kind of love that is attached to its object and therefore causes grief, so that here the translation attachment seems more appropriate. grief will not arise, beginning from here on, whether with consciousness or without consciousness, I will not let attachment arise based on anything,” he made this determination. Beginning from then he had no attachment.

Referring to this the verse: “I was called Kitavāsa,” was spoken.

In this connection, my son broke an Independent Buddha’s bowl, and passed away, my son having broken the Independent Buddha’s bowl, passed away, this is the meaning.

Through him I became unattached, then from the basis of the arisen attachment, I became unattached, this is the meaning.

As Araka I developed loving-kindness for seven years, I spent seven aeons in the Brahmā Realm, so am I without anger.

This is the meaning: Great king, I became an ascetic named Araka, and cultivated a heart of loving kindness for seven years, for seven aeons of evolution and devolution I lived in the Brahmā Realm, so through developing loving-kindness for a long time by the performance of practice I became one without anger.