Ja 136 Suvaṇṇahaṁsajātaka
The Story about the Golden Goose (1s)
In the present one nun is greedy and spoils things for the other nuns, and annoys the monks and lay people also. The Buddha tells a story of how, in a previous life, she had tried to pluck the golden feathers of her previous husband, and had lost the advantage she had.
The Bodhisatta = the golden goose king (suvaṇṇahaṁsarājā),
the sisters = the daughters (tisso dhītaro),
Thullanandā = the brahmini (brāhmaṇī).
Present Compare: Vin Bhikkhunī Pāc 1 (4.259).
Keywords: Greed, Animals.
“Contented be.” This story was told by the Teacher about a nun named Thullanandā.
A lay brother at Sāvatthi had offered the nuns a supply of garlic, and, sending for his bailiff; had given orders that, if they should come, each nun was to receive two or three handfuls. After that they made a practice
In the past when Brahmadatta was reigning in Benares, the Bodhisatta was born a brahmin, and growing up was married to a bride of his own rank, who bore him three daughters named Nandā, Nandavatī and Sundarinandā. The Bodhisatta dying, they were taken in by neighbours and friends, while he was born again into the world as a golden mallard endowed with consciousness of its former existences. Growing up, the bird viewed its own magnificent size and golden plumage, and remembered that previously it had been a human being. Discovering that his wife and daughters were living on the generosity of others, the mallard bethought him of his plumage like hammered and beaten gold and how by giving them a golden feather at a time he could enable his wife and daughters to live in comfort. So away he flew to where they dwelt and alighted on the top of the central beam of the roof.
Seeing the Bodhisatta,
But one day the mother said to her daughters, “There’s no trusting animals, my children. Who’s to say your father might not go away one of these days and never come back again? Let us use our time and pluck him clean next time he comes, so as to make sure of all his feathers.” Thinking this would pain him, the daughters refused. The mother in her greed called the golden mallard to her one day when he came, and then took him with both hands and plucked him. Now the Bodhisatta’s feathers had this property that if
At the close of this story the Teacher said: “Thus you see, monks, how Thullanandā was as greedy in times past as she is now. And her greed then lost her the gold in the same way as her greed now will lose her the garlic. Observe, moreover, how her greed has deprived all the nuns of their supply of garlic, and learn therefrom to be moderate in your desires and to be content with what is given you, however small that may be.” So saying, he uttered this verse:
1. “Contented be, nor itch for further store.
They seized the swan – but had its gold no more.”
So saying, the Teacher soundly rebuked the erring nun and laid down the precept that any nun who should eat garlic would have to do penance. Then,
last updated: November 2021