|Structure of the Tipitaka|
Source: Adapted from Archaic translation by Robert ChalmersEdit
JATAKA No. 85
"As they who ate."--This story was told by the Master while at Jetavana monastery, about a passion struck Brother(Monk). Tradition says there was a scion of a good family who gave his heart to the Buddha's teaching and joined the Brotherhood(Monks Order). But one day as he was going his round for alms in Shravasti city, he was there stirred to desire by the sight of a beautifully dressed woman. Being brought by his teachers and advisors before the Master, he admitted in answer to the enquiries of the Lord Buddha that the lust had entered into him. Then said the Master, "Truly the five lusts of the senses are sweet in the hour of actual enjoyment, Brother; but this enjoyment of them (in that it follows the miseries of re-birth in hell and the other evil states) is like the eating of the fruit of the What-fruit tree. Very fair to view is the What-fruit, very fragrant-and sweet; but when eaten, it attacks the inner parts and brings death. In other days, through ignorance of its evil nature, a lot of men, seduced by the beauty, fragrance and sweetness of the fruit, ate of that so that they died." So saying, he told this story of the past.
Once upon a time when Brahmadatta was reigning in Benares, the Bodhisattva came to life as the leader of a caravan. Once when journeying with five hundred carts from East to West, he came to the outskirts of a forest. Assembling his men, he said to them:-"In this forest grow trees that bear poisonous fruit. Let no man eat any unfamiliar fruit without first asking me." When they had moved across the forest, they came at the other border on a What-fruit tree with its branches bending low with their burden of fruit. In form, smell and taste, its trunk, branches, leaves and fruit resembled a mango. Taking the tree, from its misleading appearance and so on, to be a mango, some picked the fruit and ate; but others said, "Let us speak to our leader before we eat." And these latter, picking the fruit, waited for him to come up. When he came, he ordered them to throw away the fruit they had picked, and had a vomiting agent administered to those who had already eaten. Of these latter, some recovered; but such as had been the first to eat, died. The Bodhisattva reached his destination in safety, and sold his wares at a profit, after which he travelled home again. After a life spent in charity and other good works, he passed away to fare according to his deeds.
It was when he had told this story, that the Master, as Buddha, uttered this stanza:-
As they who ate the What-fruit died, so Lusts, When ripe, kill him who knowing not the suffering They breed hereafter, stoops to lustful deeds.
Having thus shown that the Lusts, which are so sweet in the hour of fruition, end by killing their votaries, the Master preached the Four Truths, at the close of which the passion-struck Brother(Monk) was converted and won the Fruit of the First Path(Trance). Of the rest of the Buddha's following some won the First, some the Second, and some the Third Path(Trance), while others again became Arhats(Enlightened equal to Buddha).
His lesson ended, the Master identified the Birth by saying, "My disciples were the people of the caravan in those days, and I their leader."