The Bodhisatta was once a king’s chaplain. A jackal overheard him practicing the powerful Subduing the World Spell, and he memorized it. The jackal used it to become the leader of all animals, and then he wanted to be the leader of humans too. He surrounded the Bodhisatta’s city, but when a 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 him up. The Bodhisatta told the dog to chew through the leash and escape. The dog answered that he was waiting for the right time, and that night he returned to his former 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 said he needed to 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 the Bodhisatta and tried to catch him in a misstatement about the Ganges River. But when the Bodhisatta answered, 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 prince as the next king. The Bodhisatta held two mock trials to test him, and these showed that the boy was an idiot. So the Bodhisatta was crowned 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: With buds, with green leaves, with flowers, and with 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 grain 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. Though the snake charmer promised to be kinder, the monkey ran away.
(Duplicate of Jataka #173) The Bodhisatta was once an ascetic. During heavy rain, a monkey dressed up in an ascetic’s clothes, hoping to be invited to warm up by the Bodhisatta’s fire. The Bodhisatta’s young son was tricked by the disguise and wanted to let him in, but the Bodhisatta said no and shooed the monkey away.
The Bodhisatta was once an ascetic. While staying in the royal park one time, he saw the queen naked and, 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 Bodhisatta 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 the brother before departing, and this bothered him immensely. The Bodhisatta told him to ask the naga for his jewel, which annoyed the naga so much that 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 it could have a life of luxury. After seeing how fast he ran, the king paid half his kingdom to buy the horse.
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 eat 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 looking for 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.
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 ever 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, so the king took care of the Bodhisatta for the rest of his life. The king’s advisors disapproved until they heard why he gave the Bodhisatta such honor.
The Bodhisatta was once a king. He only ate extravagant food and he dined in front of his subjects so they could see it. Once a man ran up and took some rice off his plate, saying the food looked so good that he couldn’t help himself. The Bodhisatta understood this insatiable desire, so instead of punishing this man, he rewarded him.
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