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

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


JATAKA No. 167

SAMIDDHI-JATAKA

"Begging Brother, do you know," etc.--This story was told by the Master while he was staying in Tapoda Park near Rajgraha city, about Elder Monk Samiddhi, or Goodluck.

Once Elder Monk Goodluck had been wrestling in the spirit all night long. At sunrise he bathed; then he stood with his under garment on, holding the other in his hand, as he dried his body, all yellow as gold. Like a golden statue of exquisite workmanship he was, the perfection of beauty; and that is why he was called Goodluck.

A daughter of the gods, seeing the Elder Monk's surpassing beauty, fell in love with him, and addressed him thus. "You are young, Monk, and fresh, youthful, with black hair, bless you! you have youth, you are lovely and pleasant to the eyes. Why should a man like you turn religious(ascetic) without a little enjoyment? Follow your desires first, and then you shall become religious (ascetic) and do what the hermits do!" He replied, "Nymph, at some time or other I must die, and the time of my death I know not; that time is hid from me. Therefore in the freshness of my youth I will follow the solitary life, and make an end of pain."

Finding she received no encouragement, the goddess at once vanished. The Elder Monk went and told his Master about it. Then the Master said, "Not now alone, Goodluck, are you tempted by a nymph. In olden days, as now, nymphs tempted ascetics." And then at his request the Master told an old-world tale.


Once upon a time, when Brahmadatta was king in Benares, the Bodhisattva became a brahmin's son in a village of Kasi. Coming of years, he attained perfection in all his studies, and embraced the religious(ascetic) life; and he lived in Himalaya, hard by a natural lake, cultivating the Faculties and the Attainments.

All night long he had wrestled in the spirit(meditated); and at sunrise he bathed himself, and with one bark garment on and the other in his hand, he stood, letting the water dry off his body. At the moment a daughter of the gods(angels) observed his perfect beauty, and fell in love with him. Tempting him, she repeated this first stanza:-

 "Begging monk, do you know
  What of joy the world can show?
  Now's the time there is no other:
  Pleasure first, then begging, monk!"

The Bodhisattva listened to the nymph's address, and then replied, stating his set purpose, by repeating the second stanza:-

 "The time is unknown, I cannot know
  When is the time that I must go:
  Now is the time: there is no other:
  So I am now a begging monk (*1)."

When the nymph heard the Bodhisattva's words, she vanished at once.


After this discourse the Master identified the Birth: "The nymph is the same in both stories, and the hermit at that time was I myself."

Footnotes:

(1)The commentator, in explaining this passage, adds another couplet:

 "Life, sickness, death, the putting off the flesh,
 Re-birth--these five are hidden in this world."

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