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Tipitaka >> Sutta Pitaka >> Khuddaka Nikaya >> Jataka >>Makkaṭa-Jātaka

Source: Adapted from Archaic translation by W.H.D. RouseEdit

JATAKA No. 173


"Father, see! a poor old fellow," etc.--This story the Master told while staying in Jetavana monastery, about a rogue.--The circumstances will be explained in the Uddala Birth (*1), Book xiv. Here too the Master said, "Brethren(Monks), not this once only has the fellow turned out a rogue; in days of past, when he was a monkey, he played tricks for the sake of a fire." And he told a tale of days long gone by.

Once upon a time, when Brahmadatta was reigning in Benares, the Bodhisattva was born in a brahmin family in a village of Kasi.. When he came of years, he received his education at Taxila, and settled down in life.

His lady in time had a son; and when the child could just run to and fro, she died. The husband performed her funeral rites, and then, said he, "What is home to me now? I and my son will live the life of hermits." Leaving his friends and family in tears, he took the boy to the Himalaya, became a religious hermit(ascetic), and lived on the fruits and roots which the forest yielded.

On a day during the rainy season, when there had been a downpour, he kindled some sticks, and lay down on a straw mattress, warming himself at the fire. And his son sat beside him touching his feet.

Now a wild Monkey, miserable with cold, saw the fire in the leaf-hut of our hermit. "Now," thought he, "suppose I go in: they'll cry out Monkey! Monkey! and beat me back: I shall not get a chance of warming myself.--I have it!" he cried. "I'll get an ascetic's dress, and get inside by a trick!" So he put on the bark dress of a dead ascetic, lifted his basket and crooked stick, and took his stand by the hut door, where he crouched down beside a palm tree. The boy saw him, and cried to his father (not knowing he was a monkey) "Here's an old hermit, sure enough, miserably cold, come to warm himself at the fire." Then he addressed his father in the words of the first stanza, begging him to let the poor fellow in to warm himself:

  "Father, see! a poor old fellow huddled by a palmtree there!
   Here we have a hut to live in; let us give the man a share."

When the Bodhisattva heard this, up he got and went to the door But when he saw the creature was only a monkey, he said, "My son, men have no such face as that; it is a monkey, and he must not be asked in here." Then he repeated the second stanza:

  "He would but defile our living if he came inside the door;
   Such a face--it is easy telling--no good brahmin ever had."

The Bodhisattva seized a brand, crying--"What do you want there?"--throw it at him, and drove him away. Mr Monkey dropped his bark garments, sprang up a tree, and buried himself in the forest.

Then the Bodhisattva cultivated the Four Excellences until he came unto Brahma's upper heaven.

When the Master had ended this discourse, he identified the Birth: "This tricky Brother(Monk) was the Monkey of those days; Rahul was the hermit's son, and I myself was the hermit." '


(1)No. 487.

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