Ja 443 Cullabodhijātaka
The Story about Little Wisdom (10s)
Alternative Title: Cūḷabodhijātaka (Cst)
In the present one monk is quick to anger. The Buddha tells a story of a couple who became ascetics together. The husband refused to let anger arise, even when the king carried off his ex-wife; and he explained to the king how dangerous anger is.
The Bodhisatta = the wanderer (paribbājaka),
Rāhulamātā = the female wanderer (paribbājikā),
Ānanda = the king (of Benares) (rājā).
Past Compare: Past Compare: Ja 328 Ananusociya, Ja 443 Cullabodhi, Cp 14, Cullabodhicariya, Jm 21, Cullabodhi.
Keywords: Anger, Restraint, Devas.
“If one seize.” This story the Teacher told in Jetavana, about a passionate man. This man, after having become an ascetic in this dispensation which leads to safety with all its blessings, was unable to control his passion: passionate he was, full of resentment; but little said, and he grew angry, flew in a passion, was bitter and obstinate. The Teacher, hearing of his passionate behaviour, sent for him and asked, was it true that he was passionate, as rumour had it. “Yes, sir,” replied the man. “Monk,” the Teacher said, “passion must be restrained; such an ill-doer has no place either in this world or the next. After embracing the dispensation of the Supreme Buddha, who knows not passion, why do you show thyself passionate? Wise men of old, even those who embraced an outside dispensation, bāhiraāsane is doubtless a misprint for bāhirasāsane. have refrained from anger.” And he told him a story of the past.
In the past, when Brahmadatta was king of Benares, there was in a certain town of Kāsi a brahmin rich, wealthy, and of great possessions, but he was childless; and his wife longed for a son. At that time the Bodhisatta, descending from the Brahmā Realm, was conceived in the womb of that lady; and on his name-day they gave him the name of Bodhikumāra, or Wiseman. When he came of age he repaired to Taxila, where he studied all sciences; and after his homecoming, much against his will, his parents found him a damsel to wife from a family of the same caste. She too had descended to this world from the Brahmā Realm, and was of surpassing beauty, like a Devaccharā. These two were married together, though neither of them desired it. Never had either done any wrong, and in the way of passion neither so much as cast a look at the other; never even in sleep had they done the deed of kind, so pure were they.
Now it happened that after a while, when his parents were dead, and he had decently disposed of their bodies, the Great Being calling his wife, said to her, “Now, lady, you
“Very good, lady,” said he. And they both distributed a great quantity of alms; and setting forth, in a pleasant spot they made a hermitage. There living upon any wild fruits which they could glean, they dwelt for ten whole years, yet did not attain Absorption.
And after living there in the happiness of the ascetic life for ten years, they traversed the countryside to get salt and seasoning, and in due course came to Benares, where they resided in the royal park.
Now one day the king, espying the park-keeper who came with a present in his hand, said: “We will make merry in our park, therefore set it in order,” and when the park was cleansed and made ready, he entered it along with a great retinue. At that time these two were also sitting in a certain part of the park, spending their time in the bliss of the ascetic life. And the king in passing through the park, perceived them both sitting there; and as his eye fell on this amiable and very beautiful lady, he fell in love. Trembling with desire, he determined to ask what she was to the ascetic; so approaching the Bodhisatta, he put the question to him. “Great king,” he said, “she is nothing to me; she only shares my ascetic life, but when I lived in the world she was my wife.” On hearing this the king thought within him, “So he says she is nothing to him. but in his worldly life she was his wife. Well, if I
1. “If one seize the large-eyed lady, and carry her off from you, Sammillabhāsini, which is an epithet in the first verse here, is a proper name in Ja 328 Ananusociyajātaka.
The dear one that sits there smiling, brahmin, what would you do?”
In answer to this question, the Great Being repeated the second verse:
2. “Once risen, it never would leave me my life long, no, never at all:
As a storm of rain lays the dust again, quench it while yet it be small.”
Thus did the Great Being make answer, loud as a lion’s roar. But the king, though he heard it, was yet unable for blind folly to master his enamoured heart, and gave orders to one of his suite that he should take the lady into the palace. The courtier, obedient, led her away, in spite of her complaints and cries that lawlessness and wrong were the world’s way. The Bodhisatta, who heard her cries, looked once but looked no more. So weeping and wailing she was conveyed to the palace.
And the king of Benares made no delay in his park, but quickly returned indoors, and sending for the woman, showed her great honour. And she spoke of the worthlessness of such honour, and the sole worth of the solitary life. The king, finding that by no means could he win her mind over, caused her to be placed in a room apart, and began to think, “Here is an ascetic woman who cares not for all this honour, and that ascetic never cast an angry look even when the man led away so beauteous a dame! Deep are the wiles of ascetics; he will lay a plot doubtless and work me some harm.
The Bodhisatta sat stitching his cloak. The king, almost alone, came up without sound of footfall, softly. Without one look at the king, the other went on with his sewing. “This fellow,” thought the king, “will not speak to me because he is angry. This ascetic, humbug that he is, first roars out, “I will not let anger arise at all, but if it does, I will crush it while it is small,” and then is so obstinate in wrath that he won’t speak to me!” With this idea the king repeated the third verse:
3. “You that were loud in boasting only awhile ago,
Now dumb for very anger there you sit and sew!”
When the Great Being heard this, he perceived that the king thought him silent from anger; and desirous to show that he was not influenced by anger, repeated the fourth verse:
4. “Once risen, it never had left me, it never would leave me at all:
As a storm of rain lays the dust again, I quenched it while it was small.”
On hearing these words, the king thought: “Is it anger of which he
5. “What is it that never has left you your life long, never at all?
As a storm of rain lays the dust again, what quenched you while it was small?”
Said the other, “Great king, anger brings much wretchedness, and much ruin; it just began within me, but by cherishing kindly feelings I quenched it,” and then he repeated the following verses to declare the misery of anger.
6. “That without which a man sees clearly, with which he goes blindly ahead,
Arose within me, but was not left free – anger, on foolishness fed.
7. What causes our foes satisfaction, who wish to bring woes on our head,
Arose within me, but was not left free – anger, on foolishness fed.
8. That which if it rises within us blinds all to our spiritual good,
Arose within me, but was not left free – anger, with folly for food.
9. That which, supreme, destroys each great blessing,
Which makes its dupes forsake each worthy thing,
Mighty, destructive, with its swarm of fears –
Anger – refused to leave me, O great king!
10. The fire will rise the higher, if the fuel be stirred and turned;
And because the fire uprises, the fuel itself is burned.
11. And thus in the mind of the foolish, the man who cannot discern,
From wrangling arises anger, and with it himself will burn.
12. Whose anger grows like fire with fuel and grass that blaze,
As the moon in the dark fortnight, so his honour wanes and decays.
13. He who quiets his anger, like a fire that fuel has none,
As the moon in the light fortnight, his honour waxes well grown.”
When the king had listened to the Great Being’s discourse, he was well pleased, and bade one of his courtiers lead the woman back; and invited the passionless recluse to stay with her in that park, in the enjoyment of their solitary life, and he promised to watch over them and defend them as he ought. Then asking pardon, he politely took leave, and the two of them dwelt there. By and by the woman died, and after her death, the man returned to the Himālayas, and cultivating the Super Knowledges and Attainments, and causing the Divine Abidings to spring up within him, he became destined for Brahmā’s Realm.
When the Teacher had ended his discourse, he declared the Truths, and identified the Jātaka; now at the conclusion of the Truths the passionate monk became established in the fruit of the Third Path. “At that time Rāhula’s mother was the ascetic lady, Ānanda was the king, and I myself was the ascetic.”
last updated: November 2021