Ja 435 Haliddirāgajātaka
The Story about being Dyed with Passion (9s)
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 dissatisfied monk = the young ascetic (tāpasakumāra),
the sensual woman = the young woman (kumārikā).
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),
Past Source: Ja 477 Cullanāradakassapa,
Past Quoted at: Ja 106 Udañcani, Ja 435 Haliddirāga.
Keywords: Lust, Sensuality, Women.
“In lonesome forest.” This story the Teacher at Jetavana told about a youth who was tempted by a certain coarse maiden. The introductory story will be found in the Thirteenth Book in the Cullanāradajātaka [Ja 477]. [I include the Introductory story here, and part of the actual Jātaka, which is missing otherwise.]
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 king in Benares, the Bodhisatta was born into a brahmin family of great wealth, and after his education was finished managed the estate. Then his wife brought forth a son, and died. He thought: “As with my beloved wife, so with me death shall not be ashamed; i.e. it shall master me too one day. what is a home to me? I will become an ascetic.” So forsaking his sensual desires, he went with his son to the Himālayas; and there with him entered upon the ascetic life, developed the Absorptions and Super Knowledges, and dwelt in the woods, supporting life on fruits and roots.
At that time the borderers raided the countryside; and having assailed a town, and taken prisoners, laden with spoil they returned to the border. Amongst them was a maiden, beautiful, but endowed with all a deceitful person’s cunning. This girl thought to herself, “These men, when they have carried us off home, will use us as slaves; I must find some way to escape.” So she said: “My lord, I wish to retire; let me go and stay away for a moment.” Thus she deceived the robbers, and fled.
Now the Bodhisatta had gone out to fetch fruits and the like, leaving his son in the hut.
Now in the old legend this maiden knew that if the young ascetic should break the moral law, he would be in her power, and thinking to cajole him and bring him back to the haunts of men, she said: “Virtue that is safe-guarded in a forest, where the qualities of sense such as beauty and the like have no existence, does not prove very fruitful, but it bears abundant fruit in the haunts of men, in the immediate presence of beauty and the like. So come with me and guard your virtue there. What have you to do with a forest?” And she uttered the first verse:
1. “In lonesome forest one may well be pure,
’Tis easy there temptation to endure;
But in a village with seductions rife,
A man may rise to a far nobler life.”
On hearing this the young ascetic said: “My father is gone into the forest. When he returns, I will ask his leave and then accompany you.” She thought,
2. “This doubt, [Verses 2-5 correspond to verses 1-4 in Ja 328. 6-8 are additional.] 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 spoke and repeated the rest of the verses:
3. “One that can gain your confidence and love,
Can trust your word, and with you patient prove,
4. In thought and word and deed will ne’er offend –
Take to your heart and cling to him as friend.
5. To men capricious as the monkey kind,
And found unstable, be not you inclined,
6. Though to some wilderness your lot’s confined.
Eschew foul ways, e’en as you would keep clear
7-8. Of angry serpent, or as charioteer
Avoids a rugged road. Sorrows abound
Whene’er a man in folly’s train is found:
9. Consort not you with fools – my voice obey –
The fool’s companion is to grief a prey.”
Being thus admonished by his father, the youth said: “If I should go to the haunts of men, I should not find sages like you. I dread going there. I will dwell here in your presence.” Then his father admonished him still further and taught him how to focus on the Meditation Object. And before long, the son developed the Super Knowledges and Attainments, and with his father became destined to birth in the Brahmā World.
The Teacher, his lesson ended, proclaimed the Truths and identified the Jātaka. At the conclusion of the Truths the monk who longed for the world attained to fruition of the First Path, “In those days the young ascetic was the worldly-minded monk, the maiden then is the maiden now, but the father was myself.”
last updated: November 2021