Ja 14 Vātamigajātaka
The Story about the Wind-Deer (1s)
In the present an ascetic, and highly regarded, monk is enticed back to his familial home by the power of taste. When this is told to the Buddha he relates a story in which the most timid of creatures is enticed into the palace by taste.
The Bodhisatta = the king of Benares (Bārāṇasirājā),
the slave girl = (the gardener) Sañjaya,
Cullapiṇḍapātika = the wind deer (vātamiga).
Present Compare: Dhp-a XXVI.32 Sundarasamuddatthera.
Keywords: Attachment, Sense-Desire, Animals.
“There’s nothing worse.”
About a fortnight after admitting this young man, the Teacher went from the Bamboo Grove to Jetavana, where the young nobleman undertook the thirteen ascetic practices These are meritorious ascetic practices for quelling the passions, of which the third is an undertaking to eat no food except alms received direct from the giver in the monk’s alms-bowl. Hence “ticket-food” (see Jātaka No. 5) was also inadmissible. and passed his time in going his round for alms from house to house, omitting none. Under the name of the elder Cullapiṇḍapātika Tissa, he became as bright and shining a light in the Buddha’s dispensation as the moon in the vault of heaven.
A festival having been proclaimed at this time at Rājagaha, the elder’s mother and father laid in a silver casket the trinkets he used to wear as a layman, and took it to heart, bewailing thus, “At other festivals our son used to wear this or that finery as he kept the festival; and he, our only son, has been taken away by the ascetic Gotama to the town of Sāvatthi. Where is our son sitting now or standing?” Now a slave girl who came to the house, noticed the lady of the house weeping, and asked her why she was weeping; and the lady told her all.
“What, madam, was your son fond of?” “Of such and such a thing,” replied the lady. “Well, if you will give me authority in this house, I’ll fetch your son back.” “Very good,” said the lady in assent, and gave the girl her expenses and dispatched her with a large following, saying: “Go, and manage to fetch my son back.”
So away the girl rode in a palanquin to Sāvatthi, where she took up her residence in the street which the elder used to frequent for alms.
In the due course of his round for alms at the proper time, the elder came to the door of her house; and her people took the elder’s bowl and made him sit down in the house.
When he had seated himself, he said: “Where is the lay-sister?” “She’s ill, sir; she would be glad to see you.”
Bound as he was by the bonds of the craving to taste, he broke his vow and obligation, and went to where the woman was lying.
Then she told him the reason of her coming, and so wrought on him that, all because of his being hound by the bonds of the craving to taste, she made him forsake the Saṅgha; when he was in her power, she put him in the palanquin and came back with a large following to Rājagaha again. All this was noised abroad.
Sitting in the Dhamma Hall, the monks discussed the matter, saying: “Sirs, it is reported that a slave girl has bound in the bonds of the craving of taste, and has carried off, the elder Tissa Cullapiṇḍapātika.” Entering the Hall the Teacher sat down on his jewelled seat, and said: “What, monks, is the subject of discussion in this conclave?” They told him the incident.
“Monks,” said he, “this is not the first time that, in bondage to the craving of taste, he has fallen into her power; in bygone days too he fell into her power in like manner.” And so saying, he told this story of the past.
In the past when Brahmadatta was reigning in Benares he had a gardener named Sañjaya. Now there came into the king’s pleasure gardens a Wind-Deer, which fled away at the sight of Sañjaya, but the latter let it go without terrifying the timid creature. After several visits the antelope used to roam about in the pleasure gardens. Now the gardener was in the habit of gathering flowers and fruits and taking them day by day to the king. Said the king to him one day, “Have you noticed anything strange, friend gardener, in the pleasure gardens?” “Only, sir, that a Wind-Deer has come about the grounds.” “Could you catch it, do you think?” “Oh, yes; if I had a little honey, I’d bring it right into your majesty’s palace.”
The king ordered the honey to be given to the man and he went off with it to the pleasure gardens, where he first anointed with the honey the grass at the spots frequented by the deer,
1. “There’s nothing worse, men say, than taste to snare,
At borne or with one’s friends. Lo! Taste it was
That unto Sañjaya deliver’d up
The jungle-haunting deer so wild.”
And with these words he let the antelope go back to its forest again.
When the Teacher had ended his lesson, and had repeated what he had said as to that monk’s having fallen into that woman’s power in bygone days as well as in the present time, he showed the connection and identified the Jātaka, by saying: “In those days this slave girl was Sañjaya, Cullapiṇḍapātika was the wind-antelope, and I myself was the king of Benares.”
last updated: November 2021