Ja 444 Kaṇhadīpāyanajātaka This story, with the first verse, is briefly given in the Cariyāpiṭaka, p 99f.
The Story about (the Ascetic) Kaṇhadīpāyana (10s)

In the present one monk is discontented with the monastic life and declares his wish to leave it. The Buddha tells a story of how an ascetic used his declaration of a secret truth to partially cure a child who was bitten by a snake, and how the family used the same method to cure him completely.

The Bodhisatta = (the ascetic) Kaṇhadīpāyana (Kaṇhadīpāyano),
Sāriputta = (the ascetic) Maṇḍavya the Peg (Āṇimaṇḍavya),
Rāhula = the son (putta),
Visākhā = the wife (bhariyā),
Ānanda = (the householder) Maṇḍavya.

Present Source: Ja 531 Kusa,
Quoted at: Ja 444 Kaṇhadīpāyana, Ja 458 Udaya, Ja 488 Bhisa,
Past Compare: Cp 31 Kaṇhadīpāyanacariyā.

Keywords: Truth, Modesty, Devas.

“Seven days.” [4.17] This story the Teacher told in Jetavana, about a certain discontented monk. The occasion will be explained under the Kusajātaka [Ja 531].

The story tells that he was of noble birth and lived at Sāvatthi, and on his heartily embracing the dispensation he adopted the ascetic life. Now one day as he was going his rounds for alms in Sāvatthi, he met a fair lady and fell in love with her at first sight. Overcome by his passion he lived an unhappy life, and letting his nails and hair grow long and wearing soiled robes, he pined away and became quite sallow, with all his veins standing out on his body. And just as in the Deva world, the Devaputtas who are destined to fall from their heavenly existence manifest five well-known signs, that is to say, their garlands wither, their robes soil, their bodies grow ill-favoured, perspiration pours from their armpits, and they no longer find pleasure in their Deva home, so too in the case of worldly monks, who fall from the Dhamma, the same five signs are to be seen: the flowers of faith wither, the robes of righteousness soil, through discontent and the effects of an evil name their persons grow ill-favoured, the sweat of corruption streams from them and they no longer delight in a life of solitude at the foot of forest trees – all these signs were to be found in him. So they brought him into the presence of the Teacher, saying: “Venerable sir, this fellow is discontented.”

When the Teacher had enquired whether this report was true, and the man answered that it was true, {4.28} he said: “Monk, wise men in days long gone by, before the Buddha had arisen, even men who had entered upon an outside sect, for more than fifty years, walking in holiness without caring for it, from the scruples of a sensitive nature never told any one that they had fallen back; and why have you, who have embraced such a dispensation as ours, that leads to safety, and who stand in presence of a venerable Buddha such as I am, why have you declared your discontent before the four kinds of disciples? Why do you not preserve your scruples?” Thus saying, he told a story of the past.

In the past, in the kingdom of Vaṁsa, reigned in Kosambī On the Ganges. a king named Kosambika. At that time there were two brahmins in a certain town, each possessed of eighty crores, and dear friends one of the other; who, having perceived the mischief which lies in lust, and distributed much goods in generosity, both forsook the world, and amid the weeping and wailing of many people, departed to the Himālayas, and there built them a hermitage. There for fifty years they lived as ascetics, feeding upon the fruits and roots of the forests where they might chance to glean them; but unto Absorption they were unable to attain.

After these fifty years had passed by, they went on pilgrimage through the countryside to get salt and seasoning, and came to the kingdom of Kāsi. In a certain town of this kingdom lived a householder named Maṇḍavya, who had been a lay friend in householder days of the ascetic Dīpāyana. To this Maṇḍavya came our two friends; who when he saw them, enraptured, built them a hut of leaves, and provided them both with the four necessaries of life. Three or four seasons they dwelt there, and then taking leave of him proceeded on pilgrimage to Benares, where they lived in a cemetery grown over with the Hiptage shrub. When Dīpāyana had remained there as long as he wished, he returned to his old comrade again; Maṇḍavya the other ascetic still dwelt in the same place. In this confusing tale, Maṇḍavya is the name of one of the ascetics and also of the householder, Dīpāyana is the name of the other ascetic. [4.18]

Now it happened that one day a robber had committed robbery in the town, and was returning from the fact with a quantity of spoil. The owners of the house, and the watchmen, aroused, set up a cry of, “Thief!” and the thief, pursued by these, escaped through the sewer, and as he ran swiftly by the cemetery dropped his bundle at the door of the ascetic’s hut of leaves. When the owners saw this bundle, they cried, “Ah, you rascal! {4.29} you are a robber by night, and in the daytime you go about in the disguise of an ascetic!” So, with reviling and blows, they carried him into the presence of the king.

The king made no enquiry, but only said: “Off with him, impale him upon a stake!” To the cemetery they took him, and lifted him up on a stake of acacia wood; but the stake would not pierce the ascetic’s body. Next they brought a nimb stake, but this too would not pierce him; then an iron spike, and no more would that pierce his body. The ascetic wondered what past deed of his could have caused this, and surveyed the past; then there arose in him the knowledge of former existences, and by this as he surveyed the past he saw what he had done long ago; and this it was – the piercing of a fly upon a splinter of ebony.

It is said that in a former existence he had been the son of a carpenter. Once he went to the place where his father was wont to hew trees, and with an ebony splinter pierced a fly as if impaling it. And it was just this wrong that found him out when he came to that supreme moment. He perceived that here then was no getting free from wrong; so to the king’s men he said: “If you wish to impale me, take a stake of ebony wood.” This they did, and spitted him upon it, and leaving a guard to watch him they went away.

The watchmen from a place of concealment observing all that came to look upon him. Now Dīpāyana, thinking: “It is long since I saw my comrade the ascetic,” came to find him; and having heard that he had been hanging a whole day impaled by the roadside, he went up to him, and standing on one side, asked what he had done. “Nothing,” said he. “Can you guard against ill feeling, or not?” asked the other. “Good friend,” said he, “neither against those who have seized me, nor against the king, either, is there any ill feeling in my mind.” “If that is so, the shadow of one so virtuous is delightful to me,” and with these words he sat down by the side of the stake. Then upon his body from the body of Maṇḍavya fell gouts of gore; and these as they fell upon the golden skin, and dried there, became black spots upon it; which gave him the name of Kaṇha or Black Dīpāyana from thenceforth. And he sat there all the night.

Next day the watchmen went and told the matter to the king. “I [4.19] have acted rashly,” said the king; and with speed he hastened to the spot, {4.30} and asked Dīpāyana what made him sit by the stake. “Great king,” answered he, “I sit here to guard him. But say, what has he done, or what left undone, that you treat him thus?” He explained that the matter had not been investigated. The other replied, “Great king, a king ought to act with circumspection; an idle layman who loves pleasure is not good, etc.,” See Ja 351 Maṇikuṇḍalajātaka [There it reads in verse: The idle sensual layman I detest, The false ascetic is a rogue confessed. A bad king will a case unheard decide, Wrath in the sage can ne’er be justified. The warrior prince a well-weighed verdict gives, Of righteous judge the fame for ever lives.] and with other such admonitions he discoursed to him.

When the king found that Maṇḍavya was innocent, he ordered the stake to be drawn out. But try as they would, it would not come out. Said Maṇḍavya, “Sire, I have received this dire disgrace for a fault done long ago, and it is impossible to draw the stake from my body. But if you wish to spare my life, bring a saw, and cut it off flush with the skin.” So the king had this done; and the part of the stake within his body remained there. For on that previous occasion they say that he took a little piece of diamond, and pierced the fly’s duct, so that it did not die then, nor until the proper end of its life; and therefore also the man did not die, they say.

The king saluted these ascetics, and craved pardon; and settling them both in his park, he looked after them there. And from that time Maṇḍavya was called Maṇḍavya the Peg. And he lived in this place near the king; and Dīpāyana, after healing his friend’s wound, went back to his friend Maṇḍavya the householder. When they saw him enter the leaf-hut, they told it to his friend. When he heard it, he was delighted; and with wife and child, taking plenty of scents, garlands, oil, and sugar, and so forth, he came to the leaf hut; greeting Dīpāyana, washing and anointing his feet, and giving him to drink, he sat listening to the tale of Maṇḍavya the Peg.

Then his son, a young man named Yaññadatta, was playing with a ball at the end of the covered walk. There a snake lived in an ant-hill. The lad’s ball, thrown upon the ground, ran into the hole of the ant-hill and fell upon the snake. Not knowing this, the lad put his hand into the hole. The enraged snake bit the boy’s hand; down he fell in a faint because of the strength of the snake’s poison. {4.31} Thereupon his parents, finding their son snake-bitten, lifted him up and took him to the ascetic; laying him at the ascetic’s feet, they said: “Sir, ordained people know medicines and charms; please cure our son.” “I know no medicines; I do not ply the physician’s trade.” “You are a man of dispensation. Have pity then, sir, upon this lad, and do the Assertion of Truth.” “Good,” said the ascetic, “an Assertion of Truth I will do.”And laying hands upon the head of Yaññadatta, he recited the first verse: [4.20]

1. “Seven days serene in heart
Pure I lived, desiring merit:
Since then, for fifty years apart,
Self-absorbed, I do declare it,
Here, unwillingly, I live:
May this truth a blessing give:
Poison baulked, the lad revive!”

This Assertion of Truth was no sooner made, out from the chest of Yaññadatta the poison came, and sank into the ground. The lad opened his eyes, and with a look at his parents, cried, “Mother!” then turned over, and lay still. Then Black Dīpāyana said to the father, “See, I have used my power; now is the time to use yours.” He answered, “So will I do an Assertion of Truth,” and laying a hand upon his son’s breast, he repeated the second verse:

2. “If for gifts I cared no jot,
All chance comers entertaining, {4.32}
Yet still the good and wise knew not
I was my true self restraining;
If unwillingly I give,
May this truth a blessing give,
Poison baulked, the lad revive!”

After the making of this Assertion of Truth, out from his back came the poison, and sank into the ground. The lad sat up, but could not stand. Then the father said to the mother, “Lady, I have used my power; now it is yours by an Assertion of Truth to cause your son to arise and walk.” Said she, “I too have a Dhamma to tell, but in your presence I cannot declare it.” “Lady,” said he, “by all and any means make my son whole.” She answered, “Very well,” and her Assertion of Truth is given in the third verse:

3. “The serpent that bit you today
In yonder hole, my son,
And this your father, are, I say,
In my indifference, one:
May this Truth a blessing give:
Poison baulked, the lad revive!” {4.33}

No sooner done was this Assertion of Truth, than all the poison fell and sank into the ground; and Yaññadatta, rising with all his body purged of the poison, began to play. When the son had in this way risen up, Maṇḍavya asked what was in Dīpāyana’s mind by the fourth verse:

4. “They leave the world who are serene, subdued,
Save Kaṇha, all in no unwilling mood;
What makes you shrink, Dīpāyana, and why
Unwilling walk the path of sanctity?”

To answer this, the other repeated the fifth verse: [4.21]

5. “He leaves the world, and then again turns back;
An idiot, a fool! So might one think:
’Tis this that makes me shrink,
Thus walk I holy, though the wish I lack,
The cause why I do well, is this –
Praised of the wise the good man’s dwelling is.” Or, Praised of the wise and good religion is.

Thus having explained his own thought, he asked Maṇḍavya yet again in the sixth verse: {4.34}

6. “This your house was like a mere, The word may possibly mean public-house: either is a “drinking place” (avapāna).
Food and drink in store supplying:
Sages, travellers, brahmins here
Thirst and hunger satisfying.
Did you fear some scandal, still
Giving, yet against your will?”

Then Maṇḍavya explained his thoughts by the seventh verse:

7. “Sire and grandfather holy were,
Lords of gifts most free in giving;
And I followed with all care
Our ancestral way of living;
Lest degenerate I should be
I gave gifts unwillingly.”

After saying this, Maṇḍavya asked his wife a question in the words of the eighth verse: {4.35}

8. “When, a young girl, with undeveloped sense,
I brought you from your home to be my wife,
You did not tell me your indifference,
How without love you lived all your life.
Then why, O fair-limbed lady, did you stay
And live with me in this unloving way?”

And she replied to him by repeating the ninth verse:

9. “ ’Tis not the custom in this family
For wedded wife to take a newer mate,
Nor ever has been; and this custom I
Would keep, lest I be called degenerate.
’Twas fear of such report that bade me stay
And live with you in this unloving way.” {4.36}

But when this was said, a thought passed through her mind, “My secret is told to my husband, the secret never told before! He will be angry with me; I will crave pardon in the presence of this ascetic, our confidant.” And to this end she repeated the tenth verse:

10. “Now I have spoken what should be unsaid:
For our son’s sake may it be pardoned.
Stronger than parents’ love is nothing here;
Our Yaññadatta lives, who was but dead!” [4.22]

“Arise, lady,” said Maṇḍavya, “I forgive you. Henceforth do not be hard to me; I will never grieve you.” And the Bodhisatta said, addressing Maṇḍavya, “In gathering ill-gotten gains, and in disbelieving that when you give liberally, the deed is a seed that brings fruit, in this you have done wrong. For the future believe in the merit of gifts, and give them.” This the other promised, and in his turn said to the Bodhisatta, “Sir, you have yourself done wrong in accepting our gifts when walking the path of holiness against your will. Now in order that your deeds may bear abundant fruit, do you for the future walk in holiness with a tranquil heart and pure, delighting in Absorption.” Then they took leave of the Great Being and departed.

From that time forward the wife loved her husband; Maṇḍavya with tranquil heart gave gifts with faith; the Bodhisatta, dispelling his unwillingness, cultivated the Absorptions and Super Knowledges, and became destined for Brahmā’s Realm.

This discourse ended, the Teacher declared the Truths; now at the conclusion of the Truths the discontented monk was established in the fruit of the First Path; and identified the Jātaka, “At that time Ānanda was Maṇḍavya, {4.37} Visākhā the wife, Rāhula the son, Sāriputta was Maṇḍavya the Peg, and I was myself Black Dīpāyana.”