Ja 103 Verijātaka
The Birth Story about Enemies (1s)

In the present when Anāthapiṇḍika is returning from a village he sees robbers lurking by the wayside, and determines to hasten to his destination. The Buddha tells a story of how he did the same thing in a past life himself.

The Bodhisatta = the wealthy man of Benares (Bārāṇasiseṭṭhi).

Keywords: Enemies, Urgency.

“Wherever an enemy resides.” This story was told by the Teacher at Jetavana about Anāthapiṇḍika. For we hear that Anāthapiṇḍika was returning from the village of which he was headman, when he saw robbers on the road. “It won’t do to loiter by the way,” thought he, “I must hurry on to Sāvatthi.” So he urged his oxen to speed {1.413} and got safely into Sāvatthi. Next day he went to the monastery and told the Teacher what had befallen him. “Sir,” said the Teacher, “in other times too the wise and good espied robbers on the road and hastened without delay to their homes.” Then at the merchant’s request he told this story of the past.

In the past when Brahmadatta was reigning in Benares, the Bodhisatta was a rich merchant, who had been to a village to collect his dues and was on his homeward way when he saw robbers on the road. At once he urged his oxen to their topmost speed and reached home in safety. And as he sat on his couch of state after a rich repast, he exclaimed, “I have escaped from the robbers’ hand to mine own house, where fear dwells not.” And in his thankfulness he uttered this exalted utterance:

1. Yattha verī nivisati, na vase tattha paṇḍito,
Ekarattaṁ dvirattaṁ vā dukkhaṁ vasati verisū ti.

Wherever an enemy resides, there the wise one does not reside, he who for one or two nights dwells amongst enemies has suffering.

So the Bodhisatta spoke this exalted utterance, and after a life of generosity and other good deeds he passed away to fare according to his deeds.

His story ended, the Teacher identified the Jātaka by saying: “I was the merchant of Benares of those days.”