Bahiya Jataka (#108)

temple painting of Bahiya Jataka

The Bodhisatta was once a king’s advisor. One day, while looking out his window, the king saw a fat, badly-dressed country woman stop to pee while she walked past the palace. The king was impressed by how quickly and modestly she managed her business and figured she must be healthy and tidy. So after confirming she was not already married, he made her his queen. They soon had a son, and because she maintained an immaculate house, he grew up wholly virtuous and became a universal monarch. One day the Bodhisatta commented how this turn of events was a good lesson to remind people that being modest and following the proper observances was the wise choice in life.

In the Lifetime of the Buddha

A pious prince hosted the Buddha and some of his disciples at his home. When the Buddha later heard the disciples discussing their surprise that the prince had married and was deeply in love with a fat, badly dressed woman, he told them this story so they knew that this same couple had also been married in earlier births.

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