Ja 167 Samiddhijātaka
The Story about (the Monk) Samiddhi (2s)
In the present one monk is in the peak of his manhood, a Devadhītā tries to tempt him, but he rebukes her as he knows not the time of his death. The Buddha tells a story of how he was similarly tempted in a past life.
The Bodhisatta = the ascetic (tāpasa),
the Devadhītā = the same in the past (Devadhītā).
Keywords: Temptation, Asceticism, Devas.
“Begging monk, do you know.” This story was told by the Teacher while he was staying in Tapoda Park near Rājagaha, about elder Samiddhi [Goodluck].
Once venerable Samiddhi had been wrestling in the spirit all night long. At sunrise he bathed; then he stood with his under garment on, holding the other in his hand, as he dried his body, all yellow as gold. Like a golden statue of exquisite workmanship he was, the perfection of beauty;
A Devadhītā, seeing the elder’s surpassing beauty, fell in love with him, and addressed him thus. “You are young, monk, and fresh, a mere stripling, with black hair, bless you! You have youth, you are lovely and pleasant to the eyes. Why should a man like you turn ascetic without a little enjoyment? Take your pleasure first, and then you shall become ascetic and do what the ascetics do!” He replied, “Nymph, at some time or other I must die, and the time of my death I know not; that time is hid from me. Therefore in the freshness of my youth I will follow the solitary life, and make an end of suffering.”
Finding she received no encouragement, the Devadhītā at once vanished. The elder went and told his Teacher about it. Then the Teacher said: “Not now alone, Samiddhi, are you tempted by a Devadhītā. In olden days, as now, Devadhītā tempted ascetics.” And then at his request the Teacher told a story of the past.
In the past, when Brahmadatta was king in Benares, the Bodhisatta became a brahmin’s son in a village of Kāsi. Coming of years, he attained perfection in all his studies, and embraced the ascetic life; and he lived in the Himālayas, nearby a natural lake, cultivating the Super Knowledges and Attainments.
All night long he had wrestled in the spirit; and at sunrise he bathed himself, and with one bark garment on and the other in his hand, he stood, letting the water dry off his body. At that moment a Devadhītā observed his perfect beauty, and fell in love with him. Tempting him, she repeated this first verse:
1. “Begging brother, do you know
What of joy the world can show?
Now’s the time – there is no other:
Pleasure first, then – begging brother!”
The Bodhisatta listened to the Devatā’s address, and then replied, declaring his set purpose, by repeating the second verse:
2. “The time is hid – I cannot know
When is the time that I must go:
Now is the time: there is no other:
So I am now a begging brother.” The commentator, in explaining this passage, adds another couplet: “Life, sickness, death, the putting off the flesh, Rebirth – these five are hidden in this world.”
When the Devadhītā heard the Bodhisatta’s words, she vanished at once.
After this discourse the Teacher identified the Jātaka, “The Devadhītā is the same in both stories, and the ascetic at that time was I myself.”
last updated: November 2021