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 that she must be healthy and tidy. He confirmed she was not married and 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

The Buddha and some disciples were hosted at the home of a pious prince. 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 the same thing had happened to this same couple in earlier births.

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