Ja 85 Kimpakkajātaka
The Story about the Kimpakka (1s)

In the present a monk is overcome by lust for a woman. The Buddha advises him, that though indulgence is enjoyed at the time, it leads to destruction in the future. He then tells a story of how in a past life he saved his caravan by warding off the consumption of a poisonous fruit.

The Bodhisatta = the caravan leader (satthavāha),
the Buddha’s disciples = the rest of the cast (parisā).

Past Compare: Ja 54 Phala, Ja 85 Kimpakka, Ja 366 Gumbiya.

Keywords: Lust, Restraint.

“As they who ate.” [1.212] This story was told by the Teacher while at Jetavana, about a lustful monk. Tradition says there was a scion of a good family who gave his heart to the Buddha’s dispensation and went forth. But one day as he was going his round for alms in Sāvatthi, he was there stirred to sensual desire by the sight of a beautifully dressed woman. Being brought by his teachers and preceptors before the Teacher, he admitted in answer to the enquiries of the Fortunate One that sensual desire had entered into him. Then said the Teacher, “Verily the five sensual desires of the senses are sweet in the hour of actual enjoyment, monk; but this enjoyment of them (in that it entails the miseries of rebirth in hell and the other evil states) is like the eating of the fruit of the Kimpakka tree. Very fair to view is the Kimpakka, very fragrant and sweet; but when eaten, it racks the inwards and brings death. In other days, through ignorance {1.368} of its evil nature, a multitude of men, seduced by the beauty, fragrance and sweetness of the fruit, ate thereof so that they died.” So saying, he told this story of the past.

In the past when Brahmadatta was reigning in Benares, the Bodhisatta came to life as the leader of a caravan. Once when journeying with five hundred carts from east to west, he came to the outskirts of a forest. Assembling his men, he said to them, “In this forest grow trees that bear poisonous fruit. Let no man eat any unfamiliar fruit without first asking me.” When they had traversed the forest, they came at the other border on a Kimpakka tree with its boughs bending low with their burden of fruit. In form, smell and taste, its trunk, boughs, leaves and fruit resembled a mango. Taking the tree, from its misleading appearance and so forth, to be a mango, some plucked the fruit and ate; but others said: “Let us speak to our leader before we eat.” And these latter, plucking the fruit, waited for him to come up. When he came, he ordered them to fling away the fruit they had plucked, and had an emetic administered to those who had already eaten. Of these latter, some recovered; but such as had been the first to eat, died. The Bodhisatta reached his destination in safety, and sold his wares at a profit, after which he travelled home again. After a life spent in generosity and other good works, he passed away to fare according to his deeds. [1.213]

It was when he had told this story, that the Teacher, after Fully Awakening, uttered this verse:

1. “As they who ate the Kimpakka died, so sensual desires,
When ripe, slay him who knowing not the woe
They breed hereafter, stoops to lustful deeds.”

Having thus shown that the sensual desires, which are so sweet in the hour of fruition, end by slaying their votaries, the Teacher preached the Four Truths, at the close {1.369} whereof the lustful monk was converted and won the Fruit of the First Path. Of the rest of the Buddha’s following some won the First, some the Second, and some the Third Path, while others again became Arahats. His lesson ended, the Teacher identified the Jātaka by saying: “My disciples were the people of the caravan in those days, and I their leader.”