Anabhirati Jataka (#65)

painting of Anabhirati Jataka

The Bodhisatta was once a teacher. He was famed across the world and had five hundred students. One of his students discovered that his wife had been unfaithful, and he was so upset about it that he missed several days of classes.

When the Bodhisatta learned why the student was absent, he explained to him that this was the nature of all women—like highways, rivers, courtyards, and taverns, they make themselves public property—therefore wise men do not demean themselves by getting upset about their wives’ adultery. After listening to the Bodhisatta’s advice, the student stopped caring what women did. And when his wife heard what the Bodhisatta had said about her, she ceased having affairs.

In the Lifetime of the Buddha

A layman who was deeply devoted to the Buddha did not visit for over a week, and the Buddha asked why he had been away so long. He told the Buddha he had been distraught after finding that his wife had been unfaithful. The Buddha told him that he and the same woman had been a married couple with the same issue in earlier births, and then he told him this story to give him the same advice about women’s infidelity. As they had done in their previous lives, the man stopped worrying about his wife’s behavior and his wife ceased having affairs.

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