Ja 348 Araññajātaka
The Story about the Wilderness (4s)

In the present one monk is in danger of falling away from the monastic life through the temptations of a young woman. The Buddha tells a story of a woman who seduced a young ascetic who was then tempted to leave his way of life, until his father persuaded him otherwise.

The Bodhisatta = the father ascetic (pitā tāpaso),
the son and daughter = the same in the past (putto ca kumārikā ca).

Present Source: Ja 477 Cullanāradakassapa,
Quoted at: Ja 30 Muṇika, Ja 106 Udañcani, Ja 286 Sālūka, Ja 348 Arañña, Ja 435 Haliddirāga,
Present Compare: Vin Mv 1 (1.35).

Keywords: Lust, Sensuality, Women.

“This doubt, my father.” [3.98] This story the Teacher told when dwelling at Jetavana, concerning the seduction of a youth by a certain sensual girl. The incident that led up to the story will be set forth in the Cullanāradakassapajātaka [Ja 477].

This story the Teacher told, while dwelling at Jetavana, about the allurements of a sensual girl.

There was then, we learn, a girl of about sixteen, daughter of a citizen of Sāvatthi, such as might bring good luck to a man, yet no man chose her. So her mother thought to herself, “This my daughter is of full age, yet no one chooses her. I will use her as bait for a fish, and make one of those Sākiyan ascetics come back to the world, and live upon him.”

At the time there was a young man of good birth living in Sāvatthi, who had given his heart to the dispensation and went forth. But from the time when he had received full ordination he had lost all desire for learning, and lived devoted to the adornment of his person.

The lay sister used to prepare in her house rice gruel, and other food hard or soft, and standing at the door, as the monks walked along the streets, looked out for someone who could be tempted by the craving for delicacies. Streaming by went a crowd of monks who upheld the Three Baskets, including the Abhidhamma and the Vinaya; but among them she saw none ready to rise to her bait. Among the figures with bowl and robe, preachers of the Dhamma with honey-sweet voice, moving like fleecy scud before the wind, she saw not one.

But at last she perceived a man approaching, the outer corners of his eyes anointed, hair hanging down, wearing an under-robe of fine cloth, and an outer robe shaken and cleansed, bearing a bowl coloured like some precious gem, and a sunshade after his own heart, a man who let his senses have their own way, his body much bronzed. “Here is a man I can catch!” thought she; and greeting him, she took his bowl, and invited him into the house. She found him a seat, and provided rice gruel and all the rest; then after the meal, begged him to make that house his resort in future. So he used to visit the house after that, and in course of time became intimate.

One day, the lay sister said in his hearing, “In this household we are happy enough, only I have no son or son-in-law capable of keeping it up.” The man heard it, and wondering what reason she could have for so saying, in a little while he was as it were pierced to the heart. She said to her daughter, “Tempt this man, and get him into your power.” So the girl after that time decked herself and adorned herself, and tempted him with all women’s tricks and wiles. Then the man, being young and under the power of passion, thought in his heart, “I cannot now hold on to the Buddha’s dispensation,” and he went to the monastery, and laying down bowl and robe, said to his spiritual teachers, “I am discontented.”

Then they conducted him to the Teacher, and said: “Sir, this monk is discontented.” “Is this true which they say,” asked he, “that you are discontented, monk?” “Yes, sir, true it is.” “Then what made you so?” “A sensual girl, sir.” “Monk,” said he, “long, long ago, when you were living in the forest, this same girl was a hindrance to your holiness, and did you great harm; then why are you again discontented on her account?” Then at the request of the monks he told a story of the past.

In the past when Brahmadatta was reigning in Benares, the Bodhisatta was born in a brahmin household. And when he grew up and was learned in all the arts at Taxila, his wife died and he adopted the ascetic life and went with his son to dwell in the Himālayas. There leaving his son in a hermitage, he went forth to gather all kinds of fruit. At that time as some brigands were harrying a border village, and were going off with their prisoners, a certain damsel fled for refuge to this hermitage {3.148} and by her seductions corrupted the virtue of the youth. She said to him, “Come, let us begone.”

“Let my father first return,” he said, “and after I have seen him, I will go with you.”

“Well, when you have seen him, come to me,” she said. And going out she sat herself down in the middle of the road. The young ascetic, when his father had come, spoke the first verse:

1. “This doubt, my father, solve for me, I pray;
If to some village from this wood I stray,
Men of what school of morals, or what sect
Shall I most wisely for my friends affect?”

Then his father, by way of warning him, repeated three verses:

2. “One that can gain your confidence and love,
Can trust your word, and with you patient prove,

3. In thought and word and deed will ne’er offend –
Take to your heart and cling to him as friend.

4. To men capricious as the monkey-kind
And found unstable, be not you inclined,
Though to some desert you should be confined.” {3.149}

On hearing this the young ascetic said: “Dear father, how shall I find a man possessed of these virtues? I will not go. With you only will I live.” And so saying he turned back. Then his father taught him how to [3.99] focus on the Meditation Object. And both father and son, without falling away from Absorption, became destined to birth in the Brahmā Realm.

The Teacher, his lesson ended, thus identified the Jātaka, “At that time the youth and the maiden were the same as in the later story. The ascetic was myself.”