Ja 391 Dhajaviheṭhajātaka
The Story about the Sign of Oppression (6s)

Alternative Title: Vijjādharajātaka (Cst)

In the present the monks talk about the effort the Buddha makes to help and save others. The Buddha tells a story of how the behaviour of a bad ascetic had gotten all ascetics banned from a kingdom, and what Sakka did to expose the culprit and get the others reinstated.

The Bodhisatta = (the King of the Devas) Sakka,
Ānanda = the king (of Benares) (rājā).

Present Source: Ja 469 Mahākaṇha,
Quoted at: Ja 50 Dummedha, Ja 347 Ayakūṭa, Ja 391 Dhajaviheṭha.

Keywords: Cheating, Deceit, Appearances, Devas.

“Noble of face.” [3.189] The Teacher told this while dwelling in Jetavana, concerning his going about for the whole world’s good. The occasion will appear in the Mahākaṇhajātaka [Ja 469].

One day, they say, the monks as they sat in the Dhamma Hall, were talking together. “Sirs,” one would say, “the Teacher, ever practising friendship towards the multitudes of the people, has forsaken an agreeable abode, and lives just for the good of the world. He has attained supreme wisdom, yet of his own accord takes bowl and robe, and goes on a journey of eighteen leagues or more. For the five elders he set rolling the Wheel of the Dhamma; on the fifth day of the half-month he recited the Anattalakkhaṇa discourse, and made them Arahats; he went to Uruveḷa, and to the ascetics with matted hair he showed three and a half thousand miracles, and persuaded them to join the Saṅgha; at Gayāsīsa he taught the Discourse upon Fire, and made a thousand of these ascetics Arahats; to Mahākassapa, when he had gone forward three miles to meet him, after three discourses he gave the higher ordination; all alone, after the noon-day meal, he went a journey of forty-five leagues, and then established in the Fruit of the Third Path Pukkusa (a youth of very good birth); to meet Mahākappina he went forward a space of two thousand leagues, and made him an Arahat; alone, in the afternoon he went a journey of thirty leagues, and made that cruel and harsh man Aṅgulimāla an Arahat; thirty leagues also he traversed, and established Āḷavaka in the Fruit of the First Path, and saved the prince; in the Heaven of the Thirty-Three he dwelt three months, and taught Abhidhamma to eight hundred millions of deities; to the Brahmā Realm he went, and destroyed the false Dhamma of Baka Brahmā, and made ten thousand Brahmās Arahats; every year he goes on pilgrimage in three districts, and to such men as are capable of receiving, he gives the Refuges, the Precepts, and the Fruits of the different stages; he even acts for the good of Nāgas and Garuḷas and the like, in many ways.”

In such words they praised the goodness and worth of the One with Ten Powers’ life for the good of the world. The Teacher came in, and asked what they talked about as they sat there? They told him.

Then the Teacher said: “Monks, this is not the first time the Tathāgata has gone about for the world’s good,” and so told a story of the past.

In the past when Brahmadatta was king in Benares, the Bodhisatta was Sakka. At that time a wizard, using his magic, came at midnight and corrupted the chief queen of Benares. Her handmaids knew of this. She herself went to the king and said: “Your majesty, some man enters the royal chamber at midnight and corrupts me.” “Could you make any mark on him?” “I can.” So she got a bowl of real vermilion, and when the man came at night and was going away after enjoyment, she set the mark of her five fingers on his back and in the morning told the king. The king gave orders to his men to go and looking everywhere bring a man with a vermilion mark on his back.

Now the wizard after his misconduct at night stands by day in a cemetery on one foot worshipping the sun. The king’s men saw him and surrounded him, but he, thinking that his action had become known to them, {3.304} used his magic and flew away in the air. The king asked his men when they came back from seeing this, “Did you see him?” “Yes, we saw him.” “Who is he?” “An ascetic, your majesty.” For after his misconduct at night he lived by day in the guise of an ascetic. The king thought: “These men go about by day in ascetic’s garb and misconduct themselves at night,” so being angry with the monks, he adopted heretical views, and sent round a proclamation by drum that all the monks must depart from his kingdom and that his men would punish them wherever found.

All the ascetics fled from the kingdom of Kāsi, which was three hundred leagues in extent, to other royal cities, and there was no one, righteous ascetic or brahmin, to preach to the men of all Kāsi; so that the men without preaching became savage, and being averse to Generosity and the Precepts were born in a state of punishment for the most part as they died, and never got birth in heaven.

Sakka, not [3.190] seeing any new Devaputtas, reflected on what the reason might be, and saw that it was the expulsion of the monks from the kingdom by the king of Benares owing to his adopting heretical views in anger about the wizard, then he thought: “Except myself there is no one who can destroy this king’s heresy; I will be the helper of the king and his subjects,” so he went to the Paccekabuddhas in the Nandamūla cave and said: “Sirs, give me an old Paccekabuddha, I wish to convert the kingdom of Kāsi.” He got the senior among them. When he took his bowl and robes Sakka set him before and came himself after, making respectful salutation and venerating the Paccekabuddha: himself becoming a beautiful young monk he went thrice round the whole city from end to end, and then coming to the king’s gate he stood in the air. They told the king, “Your majesty, there is a beautiful young monk with an ascetic standing in the air {3.305} at the king’s gate.” The king rose from his seat and standing at the lattice said: “Young monk, why do you, who are beautiful, stand venerating that ugly monk and holding his bowl and robes?” and so talking with him he spoke the first verse:

1. “Noble of face, you make obeisance low;
Behind one mean and poor to sight you go:
Is he your better or your equal, say,
Declare to us your name and his, we pray.”

The Sakka answered, “Great king, ascetics are in the place of teachers; It is wrong to tell the name of a saintly teacher. cf. Mahāvagga i. 74. 1. therefore it is not right that I should utter his name, but I will tell you my own name,” so he spoke the second verse:

2. “Gods do not tell the lineage and the name
Of saints devout and perfect in the way;
As for myself, my title I proclaim,
Sakka, the lord whom thirty gods obey.”

The king hearing this asked in the third verse what was the blessing of venerating the monk:

3. “He who beholds the saint of perfect merits,
And walks behind him with obeisance low; {3.306}
I ask, O king of gods, what he inherits,
What blessings will another life bestow?”

Sakka replied in the fourth verse:

4. “He who beholds the saint of perfect merits,
Who walks behind him with obeisance low:
Great praise from men in this world he inherits,
And death to him the path of heaven will show.”

The king hearing Sakka’s words gave up his own heretical views, and in delight spoke the fifth verse: [3.191]

5. “Oh, fortune’s sun on me today does rise,
Our eyes have seen your majesty divine:
Your saint appears, O Sakka, to our eyes,
And many a virtuous deed will now be mine.”

Sakka, hearing him praising his master, spoke the sixth verse:

6. “Surely ’tis good to venerate the wise,
To knowledge who their learned thoughts incline:
Now that the saint and I have met thine eyes,
O king, let many a virtuous deed be thine.” {3.307}

Hearing this the king spoke the last verse:

7. “From anger free, with grace in every thought,
I’ll lend an ear whenever strangers sue:
I take your counsel good, I bring to nought
My pride and serve you, Lord, with homage due.”

Having said so he came down from the terrace, saluted the Paccekabuddha and stood on one side. The Paccekabuddha sat cross-legged in the air and said: “Great king, that wizard was no monk, henceforward recognise that the world is not vanity, that there are good ascetics and brahmins, and so give gifts, practise morality, keep the holy-days,” preaching to the king. Sakka also by his power stood in the air, and preaching to the townsfolk, “Henceforward be zealous,” he sent round proclamation by drum that the ascetics and brahmins who had fled should return. Then both went back to their own place. The king stood firm in the admonition and did good works.

After the lesson, the Teacher declared the Truths and identified the Jātaka, “At that time the Paccekabuddha reached Nibbāna, the king was Ānanda, Sakka was myself.”