The Bodhisatta was once a king’s chaplain. A jackal heard him practicing reciting the very powerful Subduing the World spell and memorized it. The jackal used it to become leader of all the animals and then wanted to be the leader of humans too. He surrounded the city and thought that making all the lions roar would scare them into surrender. But when the first lion roared, the other animals panicked and trampled each other to death.
The Bodhisatta was once a wealthy man. A villager bought a dog from a man in the city and tied it up. The Bodhisatta told the dog to chew through its leash and escape. The dog answered that he was waiting for the right time, and that night he returned to his master’s home.
The Bodhisatta was once a musician. A student of his was offered a job with the king, but demanded pay equal to the Bodhisatta. The king demanded he demonstrate equal skill, so an exhibition was arranged. The Bodhisatta worried he might lose and contemplated suicide, but Indra, king of the gods, intervened to make sure the Bodhisatta played the best. Then Indra invited the Bodhisatta to come play his lute in heaven.
The Bodhisatta was once an ascetic. A man came to debate him and tried to catch the Buddha in a misstatement about the Ganges River. But when the Buddha replied, the man had no response, so he went away defeated.
The Bodhisatta was once a teacher. Some of his young students felt they had become equal to him. So he humbled them with a question they could not answer.
The Bodhisatta was once an ascetic. One time a rich man served the Bodhisatta a meal with fish and then accused him of doing wrong for eating it. The Bodhisatta answered that eating flesh that is offered is okay, only the killing is wrong.
The Bodhisatta was once a king’s advisor. When the king died his advisors planned to choose his lazy young son as the next king. But the Bodhisatta held two mock trials to test him and these showed he was an idiot, so the Bodhisatta became king instead.
The Bodhisatta was once a king. His four sons wanted to see a flame of the forest tree and the charioteer took them to see one, but at four different times: when the buds were sprouting, when the leaves were green, when the flowers were blossoming, and when it was bearing fruit. Later the four sons each described the tree differently and the Bodhisatta told them they should have asked the charioteer what it was like at other times.
The Bodhisatta was once a corn merchant. A snake-charmer used a trained monkey in his show and he once had the Bodhisatta take care of him while he was away. When the owner returned, he beat his monkey with a stick. Soon after this the monkey escaped and though the snake-charmer promised to be kinder, the monkey chose to run away.
(Duplicate of Jataka #173) The Bodhisatta was once an ascetic. During a heavy rain a monkey dressed up in an ascetic’s clothes, hoping to be invited to warm up by his fire. The Bodhisatta’s young son was tricked by the disguise and wanted to let him in, but the Bodhisatta said no and drove the monkey away.
The Bodhisatta was once an ascetic. While staying in the royal park one time he saw the queen naked and, suddenly overcome with lust, lost his insight. But after suffering for a week, he did a mystic trance and recovered.
The Bodhisatta was once a teacher. One of his students, a prince, stole some seeds to eat and the Buddha caned him as punishment. Later, when the student had become king, he wanted to kill the Bodhisatta in revenge, but the Bodhisatta explained that without this punishment, the prince would have become a criminal instead of a king. The king’s anger changed into gratitude.
The Bodhisatta was once an ascetic. A naga, taking human form, became close friends with the Bodhisatta’s brother. Eventually the naga started to cast off his human form and hug him before departing, and this bothered the brother immensely. So the Buddha told him to ask the naga for its jewel, and this annoyed the naga so much he stopped visiting.
The Bodhisatta was once a horse merchant. A poor old woman sold him a magical horse that she loved very much so he could have a life of luxury. When the king saw how fast the horse ran and his other powers, he paid half his kingdom to buy him.
The Bodhisatta was once a parrot. When his eyesight faded, he relied on his only son to care for him. He told his son not to bring mangoes from a particular island because of the danger, but he ignored this advice and died. Soon after, the Bodhisatta starved to death.
The Bodhisatta was once a merchant. One time a group of men found buried treasure, but not content with it they dug further to find more; except for the Bodhisatta who told them they already had enough. The digging irritated a naga king and he killed everyone except the Bodhisatta, who he gave extra treasure for being righteous.
The Bodhisatta was once a king. He was very wise, once resolving fourteen problems at the same time. A former servant of his father had some terrible luck and four people tried to take advantage of him to get rich, but the Bodhisatta ruled creatively in the servant’s favor. Then he explained the cause of misery for ten beings the servant had met on his way to the palace.
The Bodhisatta was once a king. He was powerful and wealthy, but his desires were unsatisfied, so he went to rule in heaven. Yet even this did not satisfy him and he fell to Earth, dying without every finding true peace.
The Bodhisatta was once an ascetic. The king had fled from a losing battle and got trapped in the Bodhisatta’s well. The Bodhisatta gave him a ladder to get out and so the king took care of the Bodhisatta for the rest of his life. His advisors did not approve until they heard the reason why he gave the Bodhisatta such honor.
The Bodhisatta was once a king. He only ate extravagant food and dined in front of his subjects so they could see it. Once a man ran up and took some off his plate, saying the food looked so good that he just couldn’t help himself. The Bodhisatta understood this insatiable desire, so instead of punishing this man, he rewarded him with a thousand cattle.
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