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

Source: Adapted from Archaic translation by Robert ChalmersEdit


JATAKA No. 30

MUNIKA-JATAKA

"Then envy not poor Munika."

--This story was told by the Master while at Jetavana monastery about being seduced by a plump young woman, as will be told in the Thirteenth Book in the Culla-Narada-Kashyapa-jataka (*1).

Then the Master asked that Brother(Monk), saying, "Is it true, Brother(Monk), as they say, that you are passion-struck?" "It is true, sir," was the reply. "Brother," said the Master, "she is your weakness; even in past days, you met your end and were made into a relish for the company on her marriage-day." And 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 an ox, named Big Red, on an official's estate in a certain village. And he had a younger brother who was known as Little Red. There were only these two brothers to do all the pulling-work of the family. Also, the official had an only daughter, whose hand was asked in marriage for his son by a gentleman of the town. And the parents of the girl, with a view to providing elegant treats for the wedding guests, began to fatten up a pig named Munika.

Observing this, Little Red said to his brother, "All the loads that have to be drawn for this household are drawn by you and me, my brother; but all they give us for our pains is sorry grass and straw to eat. Yet here is the pig being fed on rice! What can be the reason why he should be treated to such manner?"

Said his brother, "My dear Little Red, envy him not; for the pig eats the food of death. It is but to provide a relish for the guests at their daughter's wedding, that the family are feeding up the pig. Wait but a little time and the guests will be coming. Then will you see that pig lugged out of his quarters by the legs, killed, and in process of conversion into curry." And so saying, he repeated this stanza:-

Then envy not poor Munika; it is death
He eats. Contented munch your frugal chaff, 
The pledge and guarantee of length of days.

Not long afterwards the guests did arrive; and Munika was killed and cooked into all manner of dishes. Said the Bodhisattva to Little Red, "Did you see Munika, dear brother?" "I have indeed seen, brother, the outcome of Munika's feasting. Better a hundred, no a thousand, times than such food is ours, though it be but grass, straw, and chaff;--for our treatment, harms us not, and is a pledge that our lives will not be cut short."


When he had ended his lesson to the effect that the Brother had thus in past days been brought to his doom by that young woman and had been made into a relish for the company , he preached the Truths, at the close of which the passion-struck Brother (Monk)reached the First Path(Trance) of Nirvana (Salvation). Also the Master explained the relation and identified the Birth by saying, "The passion-struck Brother was the pig Munika of those days, the young woman is the same in both cases, Ananda was Little Red, and I myself Big Red."

Footnotes:

(1)No. 477.

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