Ja 203 Khandhavattajātaka See Cullavagga v. 6 (iii. 75 in Vinaya Texts, Sacred Books of the East), where the verses occur again. The verses partly recur in the ‘Bower MS,’ a Sanskrit MS lately found in the
The Story about the Vow (that Protects) the Constituent Parts (2s)
Alternative Title: Khandajātaka (Cst)
In the present one monk dies of a snake bite. The Buddha tells a story about sages of old who learned a protection charm, and were kept safe from snakes and other dangerous animals.
The Bodhisatta = the teacher of a group (gaṇasatthā),
the Buddha’s disciples = the seer’s followers (isigaṇa).
Past Compare: Vin Cv 5 (2.109).
Keywords: Danger, Protection, Animals.
“Virūpakkha snakes I love.” This story the Teacher told while living at Jetavana, about a certain monk.
As he sat, we are told, at the door of his living room, chopping sticks, a snake crept out of a rotten log, and bit his toe; he died on the spot. All the monastery learned how he had come by his sudden death.
In the Dhamma Hall
In the past, during the reign of Brahmadatta king of Benares, the Bodhisatta came into the world as a young brahmin of Kāsi. When he came of age, he quelled his passions and took upon him the life of an ascetic; he developed the Super Knowledges and Attainments; he built a hermitage by the bend of the Ganges near the foot of the Himālayas, and there he dwelt, surrounded by a band of ascetics, lost in the rapture of meditation.
At that time there were many kinds of snakes upon the Ganges bank, which did mischief to the ascetics, and many of them perished by snake-bite. The ascetics told the matter to the Bodhisatta. He summoned all the ascetics to meet him, and thus addressed them, “If you showed goodwill to the four royal races of snakes, no serpents would bite you. Therefore from this time forward do you show goodwill to the four royal races.” Then he added this verse:
1. “Virūpakkha snakes I love,
Erāpatha snakes I love,
Chabbyāputta snakes I love,
Kaṇhāgotamas I love.”
After thus naming the four royal families of the snakes, he added, “If you can cultivate goodwill towards these, no snake creature will bite you or do you harm.” Then he repeated the second verse:
2. “Creatures all beneath the sun,
Two feet, four feet, more, or none
How I love you, every one!”
Having declared the nature of the love within him, he uttered another verse by way of prayer:
3. “Creatures all, two feet or four,
You with none, and you with more,
Do not hurt me, I implore!”
Then again, in general terms, he repeated one verse more:
4. “All you creatures that have birth,
Breathe, and move upon the earth,
Happy be you, one and all,
Never into mischief fall.” All the verses hitherto given match, and are to be taken together as the “first gāthā.” The other is in a different metre, and is the “second gāthā.” [An ingenious idea, which I reject.]
Thus did he set forth how one must show love and goodwill to all creatures without distinction; he reminded his hearers of the virtues of the Three Jewels, saying: “Infinite is the Buddha, infinite the Dhamma, and infinite the Saṅgha.” He said: “Remember the quality of the Three Jewels,” and thus having shown them the infinity of the Three Jewels, and wishing to show them that all beings are finite, he added, “Finite and measurable are creeping things, snakes, scorpions, centipedes, spiders, lizards, mice.” Then again, “As the passions and sensual desires in these creatures are the qualities which make them finite and limited, let us be protected night and day against these finite things by the power of the Three Jewels, which are infinite: wherefore remember the worth of the Three Jewels.” Then he recited this verse:
5. “Now I am guarded safe, and fenced around;
Now let all creatures leave me to my ground.
All honour the Fortunate One I pay,
And the seven Buddhas who have passed away.”
And bidding them also remember the seven Buddhas For the seven Buddhas, see Wilson, Select Works, ii. 5. while they did honour, the Bodhisatta composed this guardian charm and delivered it to his band of sages. Thenceforward the sages bore in mind the Bodhisatta’s admonition, and cherished loving-kindness, and remembered the Buddha’s virtues. As they did this, all the snake kind departed from them. And the Bodhisatta cultivated the Divine Abidings, and attained to Brahmā’s Realm.
When the Teacher had ended this discourse, he identified the Jātaka, “The Buddha’s followers were then the followers of the sage; and their Teacher was I myself.”
last updated: November 2021