Asatarupa Jataka (#100)

temple painting of Asatarupa Jataka

The Bodhisatta was once a king. Another king conquered the city and killed him. The victorious king took the Bodhisatta’s queen as a wife, though the Bodhisatta’s son escaped. The son raised an army and soon returned to fight, but his mother sent a message that he should lay siege to the city instead of attacking. He took her advice, and after seven days of no water, firewood, or food getting inside, the angry citizens cut off the king’s head and brought it to the son, who took the throne.

In the Lifetime of the Buddha

One of the king’s daughters carried a child in her womb for seven years and was in painful labor for seven days. She was a loyal supporter of the Buddha and sent her husband to give him a greeting since she had not seen him for a long time. The Buddha gave a blessing for a healthy child, and as these words were spoken, her son was born. Following this, the relieved princess honored the Buddha with seven days of hospitality. During this time, Sariputta, one of the Buddha’s top disciples, asked the boy how he felt. “Not great,” he answered, “since I had to wallow in blood for seven long years.” The boy ordained as a novice under the Buddha at age seven and became a full disciple at age twenty. Through his righteousness, he became an arahant.

The son who became king and his mother were earlier births of this child and his mother. One day, when the Buddha heard some of his disciples discussing the seven-year pregnancy, he told them this story so they knew that it was a result of the boy and his mother blockading the city in past lives.

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