Ja 106 Udañcanijātaka
The Story about the Bucket (1s)
Alternative Title: Udañcanījātaka (Cst)
In the present a monk is seduced by a sensual young woman. When the Buddha finds out he tells a story of how the same person in a previous life had been seduced by a young woman, but had become dissatisfied with the lay life and had returned to his ascetic state.
The Bodhisatta = the (ascetic) father (pitā),
the errant monk = his young ascetic (cullatāpasa),
the sensual girl = the same in the past (thullakumārikā).
Present Source: Ja 477 Cullanāradakassapa,
Quoted at: Ja 30 Muṇika, Ja 106 Udañcani, Ja 286 Sālūka, Ja 348 Arañña, Ja 435 Haliddirāga,
Present Compare: Vin Mv 1 (1.35).
Past Source: Ja 477 Cullanāradakassapa,
Past Quoted at: Ja 106 Udañcani, Ja 435 Haliddirāga.
Keywords: Seduction, Dissatisfaction, Women.
“A happy life was mine.”
There was then, we learn, a girl of about sixteen, daughter of a citizen of Sāvatthi, such as might bring good luck to a man, yet no man chose her. So her mother thought to herself, “This my daughter is of full age, yet no one chooses her. I will use her as bait for a fish, and make one of those Sākiyan ascetics come back to the world, and live upon him.” At the time there was a young man of good birth living in Sāvatthi, who had given his heart to the dispensation and went forth. But from the time when he had received full ordination he had lost all desire for learning, and lived devoted to the adornment of his person.
The lay sister used to prepare in her house rice gruel, and other food hard or soft, and standing at the door, as the monks walked along the streets, looked out for someone who could be tempted by the craving for delicacies. Streaming by went a crowd of monks who upheld the Three Baskets, including the Abhidhamma and the Vinaya; but among them she saw none ready to rise to her bait. Among the figures with bowl and robe, preachers of the Dhamma with honey-sweet voice, moving like fleecy scud before the wind, she saw not one.
But at last she perceived a man approaching, the outer corners of his eyes anointed, hair hanging down, wearing an under-robe of fine cloth, and an outer robe shaken and cleansed, bearing a bowl coloured like some precious gem, and a sunshade after his own heart, a man who let his senses have their own way, his body much bronzed. “Here is a man I can catch!” thought she; and greeting him, she took his bowl, and invited him into the house. She found him a seat, and provided rice gruel and all the rest; then after the meal, begged him to make that house his resort in future. So he used to visit the house after that, and in course of time became intimate.
One day, the lay sister said in his hearing, “In this household we are happy enough, only I have no son or son-in-law capable of keeping it up.” The man heard it, and wondering what reason she could have for so saying, in a little while he was as it were pierced to the heart. She said to her daughter, “Tempt this man, and get him into your power.” So the girl after that time decked herself and adorned herself, and tempted him with all women’s tricks and wiles. Then the man, being young and under the power of passion, thought in his heart, “I cannot now hold on to the Buddha’s dispensation,” and he went to the monastery, and laying down bowl and robe, said to his spiritual teachers, “I am discontented.”
Then they conducted him to the Teacher, and said: “Sir, this monk is discontented.”
On asking the monk, the Teacher was told that it was true he was in love, and in love with the sensual girl. “Monk,” said the Teacher, “she is leading you astray. So too in times gone by she led you into evil, and you were only restored to happiness by the wise and good of those days.” So saying, he told this story of the past.
In the past when Brahmadatta was reigning in Benares, those things came to pass which will be told in the Cullanāradakassapajātaka [Ja 477].
The Bodhisatta was born into a brahmin family of great wealth, and after his education was finished managed the estate. Then his wife brought forth a son, and died. He thought: “As with my beloved wife, so with me death shall not be ashamed; what is a home to me? I will become an ascetic.” So forsaking his sensual desires, he went with his son to the Himālayas; and there with him entered upon the ascetic life, developed the Absorptions and Super Knowledges, and dwelt in the woods, supporting life on fruits and roots.
At that time the borderers raided the countryside; and having assailed a town, and taken prisoners, laden with spoil they returned to the border. Amongst them was a maiden, beautiful, but endowed with all a deceitful person’s cunning. This girl thought to herself, “These men, when they have carried us off home, will use us as slaves; I must find some way to escape.” So she said: “My lord, I wish to retire; let me go and stay away for a moment.” Thus she deceived the robbers, and fled.
Now the Bodhisatta had gone out to fetch fruits and the like, leaving his son in the hut. While he was away, this girl, as she wandered about in the forest, came to the hut, in the morning; and tempting the son of the ascetic with desire of love, destroyed his virtue, and got him under her power. She said to him, “Why dwell here in the forest? Come, let us go to a village and make a home for ourselves. There it is easy to enjoy all the pleasures and passions of sense.” He consented, and said: “My father is now out in the woods looking for wild fruits. When we have seen him, we will both go away together.” Then the girl thought: “This young innocent knows nothing; but his father must have become an ascetic in his old age. When he comes in, he will want to know what I do here, and beat me, and drag me out by the feet, and throw me into the forest. I will get clear away before he comes.” So she said to the lad, “I will go first, and you may follow,” then pointing out the landmarks, she departed. After she had gone, the lad became sorrowful, and did none of his duties as he was used; but wrapped himself up head and all, and lay down within the hut, fretting.
But on this occasion the Bodhisatta at evening came with fruits to the hermitage, and, opening the door, said to his son, “Every other day you brought wood and victuals, and lit a fire. Why have you not done any of these things today, but sit sadly here pining away?”
“Father,” said the young man, “while you were away gathering fruits, there came a woman who tried to lure me away with blandishments. But I would not go with her till I had your leave, and so left her sitting waiting for me. And now my wish is to depart.”
Finding that the young man was too much in love to be able to give her up, the Bodhisatta bade him go, saying: “But when she wants meat
So the other went off with the woman to the haunts of men; and when he was come to her house, she made him run about to fetch every single thing she wanted.
“I might just as well be her slave as this,” he thought, and promptly ran away back to his father, and saluting him, stood and repeated this verse:
1. “A happy life was mine till that woman,
– That worrying, tiresome pitcher styled my wife –
Set me to run the errands of her whims.”
And the Bodhisatta commended the young man, and exhorted him to kindliness and mercy, setting forth the four Divine Abidings towards
His lesson ended, and the Four Truths preached, at the close whereof that monk entered the First Path, the Teacher identified the Jātaka by saying: “The sensual girl of today was also the sensual girl of those days; this yoking monk was the son; and I the father of those days.”
last updated: November 2021