Ja 315 Maṁsajātaka
The Story about (the Merchant’s Son) (who received all) the Meat (4s)
Alternative Title: Sabbamaṁsalābhajātaka (Cst)
In the present when some monks are ill Ven. Sāriputta manages to get some good food for them and they recover. The Buddha tells a story of how four youths had spoken successively in dearer terms to a hunter and had received due rewards accordingly.
The Bodhisatta = the wealthy man’s son who received all the meat (sabbamaṁsalābhī seṭṭhiputto),
Sāriputta = the hunter (luddaka).
Keywords: Merit, Sweet speech.
“For one who is asking.” This was a story told by the Teacher, while living at Jetavana, as to how the elder Sāriputta procured dainty fare for some sick monks under medical treatment. The story goes that certain of the monks at that time at Jetavana, after taking oil as a purgative, wished for some dainty food. Those who ministered to them in their sickness went into Sāvatthi to fetch some dainties, but after going their round for alms in a street in the cooks’ quarters, had to come back without getting what they wanted. Later on in the day the elder was going into the town for alms and meeting these monks asked them why they had returned so soon. They told him
So one day a discussion was started in the Dhamma Hall how that when some servants were leaving a town, without being able to get dainty fare for their sick masters, the elder took them with him on his round for alms in a street in the cooks’ quarters, and sent them home with abundant dainties. The Teacher came up and inquired the nature of their discussion, and on being told what it was he said: “Not only now, monks, did Sāriputta alone obtain food. Formerly also wise men who had a soft voice and knew how to speak pleasantly obtained the same.” And then he told a tale of the olden time.
In the past when Brahmadatta reigned in Benares, the Bodhisatta was born as the son of a wealthy merchant.
Now one day a certain deer-stalker had taken venison, and filling his cart with the meat, returned to the city with the intention of selling it. At this time four sons of rich merchants who were living in Benares sallied out of the city, and meeting at some cross roads they sat down and conversed with one another about whatever they had seen or heard. One of these youths on seeing the cart full of meat proposed to go and get a piece of venison from the hunter. The others bade him go and try. So he went up to the hunter, and said: “Hi, sir, give me a piece of meat.” The hunter replied, “A man who begs somewhat from another ought to speak with a gentle voice: you shall receive a piece of meat appropriate to your manner of speech.” Then he uttered the first verse:
1. “For one who is asking a favour, my friend, your language is coarse in its tone,
Such language deserves coarse fare in return, so I offer you mere skin and bone.”
Then one of his companions asked him what language he had used in begging for a piece of meat. “I said, Hi, sir!” he replied. “I too,” said the other, “will beg of him.”
2. “The name of a brother a strong link is found, to join those akin to each other,
As your kind words suggest the gift I should make, so a joint I present to my brother.”
And with these words he took up and threw him a joint of venison. Then a third youth inquired with what words the last had begged for the meat. “I addressed him as brother,” he replied. “Then I too will beg of him,” he said. So he went to the hunter and cried, “Dear father, give me a piece of venison.” The hunter replied, “You shall receive a
3. “As a parent’s fond heart to pity is moved, the cry of “Dear father” to hear,
So I too respond to your loving appeal, and give you the heart of the deer.”
And with these words he picked up and gave him a savoury piece of meat, heart and all. Then the fourth of the youths asked the third youth, with what words he had asked for the venison. “Oh I called him ‘Dear father,’ ” he answered. “Then I too will beg a piece,” said the other, and he went to the hunter and said: “My friend, give me a piece of meat.” Said the hunter, “According to the words you have spoken, shall you receive.” And he repeated the fourth verse:
4. “A world without friends, I venture to think, a wilderness surely must be,
In that title of friend all that’s dear is implied, so I give all the deer unto you.”
Moreover he said: “Come, friend, I will convey all this cartful of meat to your house.”
The Teacher, having ended his lesson, identified the Jātaka, “At that time Sāriputta was the Hunter, and I myself was the merchant’s son who had all the venison given to him.”
last updated: November 2021