Ja 258 Mandhātujātaka See Divyāvadāna, p. 210; Thibetan Tales, p. 1-20, King Māndhātar. This king is named as one of the four persons who have attained in their earthly bodies to glory in the city of the gods; Milinda, iv. 8. 25 (ii. p. 145 in the translation, Sacred Books of the East).
The Story about (the Ancient King) Mandhātu (3s)
In the present one monk sees a woman and finds discontent in his monk’s life. The Buddha tells him a story of a king of old, who, no matter how rich and powerful he became, over earth and heaven, was still dissatisfied. Finally he conceived the idea to kill Sakka, King of the Devas, and was thrown back down to earth, where he died.
The Bodhisatta = king Mandhātu (Mandhāturājā).
Keywords: Greed, Desire.
“Wherever sun and moon.”
We are told that this monk, in traversing Sāvatthi for his alms, saw a finely dressed woman and fell in love with her. Then the monks led him to the Dhamma Hall, and informed the Teacher that he was discontent. The Teacher asked whether it were true; and was answered, yes, it was.
Long ago, in the early ages of the world, there lived a king named Mahāsammata, and he had a son Roja, who had a son Vararoja, who had a son Kalyāṇa, who had a son Varakalyāṇa, and Varakalyāṇa had a son named Uposatha, and Uposatha had a son Mandhātā. Mandhātā was endowed with the Seven Jewels and the four Supernormal Powers; and he was a great monarch. When he clenched his left hand, and then touched it with his right, there fell a rain of seven kinds of jewels, knee-deep, as though a celestial rain-cloud had arisen in the sky; so wondrous a man was he. Eighty-four thousand years he was a prince, the same number he took some share in ruling the kingdom, and even so many years he ruled as supreme king; his life lasted for countless ages.
One day, he could not satisfy some desire, so he showed signs of discontent. “Why are you cast down, my lord?” the courtiers asked him. “When the power of my merit is considered, what is this kingdom? Which place seems worth desiring?” “Heaven, my lord.”
So rolling along the Wheel Jewel, with his suite
“Why, mighty king,” said the four monarchs, “are you unsatisfied? “And the king replied, “What place is more lovely than this heaven?”
They answered, “My lord, we are like servants. The Heaven of the Thirty-Three is more lovely than this!”
Mandhātā set the Wheel Jewel rolling, and with his court all round him turned his face to the Heaven of the Thirty-Three. And Sakka, King of the Gods, bearing celestial flowers and perfumes, in the midst of a great throng of gods, came to meet him in state, and taking charge of him showed him the way he should go. At the time when the king was marching amidst the throng of gods, his eldest son took the Wheel Jewel, and descending to the paths of men, came to his own city.
Sakka led Mandhātā into the Heaven of the Thirty-Three, and gave him half of his own kingdom. After that the two of them ruled together. Time went on, until Sakka had lived for sixty times a hundred thousand years, and thirty millions of years, then was born on earth again; another Sakka grew up, and he too reigned, and lived his life, and was born on earth. In this way six and thirty Sakkas followed one after another. Still Mandhātā reigned with his crowd of courtiers round him. As time went on, the force of his passion and desire grew stronger and stronger.
“What is half a realm to me?” said he in his heart, “I will kill Sakka, and reign alone!” But kill Sakka he could not. This desire and greed of his was the root of his misfortune. The power of his life began to wane; old age seized upon him;
The courtiers asked him, “My lord, what word shall we take from you?”
“Take from me,” said he, “this message to the people: ‘Mandhātā, king of kings, having ruled supreme over the four quarters of the globe, with all the two thousand islands round about, for a long time having reigned over the people of the Four Great Kings, having been king of Heaven during the lifetime of six and thirty Sakkas, now lies dead.’ ” With these words he died, and went to fare according to his deeds.
This tale ended, the Teacher after Fully Awakening uttered the following verses:
1. “Wherever sun and moon their courses run
All are Mandhātā’s servants, every one:
Where’er earth’s quarters see the light of day,
There king Mandhātā holds imperial sway.
2. Not though a rain of coins fall from the sky See Dhp verses 186 and 187, which are the last two of these verses.
Could anything be found to satisfy.
Pain is desire, and sorrow is unrest:
He that knows this is wise, and he is blessed.
3. Where longing is, there pleasure takes his wings,
Even though desire be set on heavenly things.
Disciples of the Supreme Buddha try
To crush out all desire eternally.”
When the Teacher had ended this discourse, he declared the Four Truths, and identified the Jātaka, at the conclusion of the Truths the discontented monk and many others attained to the Fruit of the First Path. “At that time, I was the great king Mandhātā.”
last updated: November 2021