The Bodhisatta was once a tree fairy. A lion and a tiger were friends. A jackal wanted to eat them, so he told the animals that they each spoke poorly of the other, hoping this would make them fight to the death. But the jackal’s plan failed. The Bodhisatta saw all this happen.
The Bodhisatta was once a king’s chaplain. He wanted to know if the king respected him because of his virtue or his education, so he stole some coins. The king sentenced him to death, and from this the Bodhisatta knew he was judged on virtue. He was forgiven and became an ascetic.
(Duplicate of Jataka #90) The Bodhisatta was once a wealthy merchant. A merchant from the border region sent a caravan to the Bodhisatta for trade, and he gave the workers food and lodging. When the Bodhisatta sent a caravan to the border merchant, his men were not looked after. When the border merchant sent another caravan, the Bodhisatta’s men looted their goods because of the ingratitude they had been shown.
(Told in Jataka #546) The Bodhisatta was once a king’s advisor. After the Bodhisatta was framed for theft by the king’s four other advisors, and he fled to safety, a goddess living in the royal parasol told the king she would kill him if he did not solve four riddles. The king could not do it, so he invited the wise Bodhisatta back to solve them and save him.
(Duplicate of Jataka #249) 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.
The Bodhisatta was once a merchant. During an oxcart caravan trip he warned his men to check with him before eating any food they found along the road. Some of his men ignored the warning and died after eating honey that a demon had poisoned.
The Bodhisatta was once a son of a village householder. A poor doctor saw a snake in a tree and wanted it to bite the Bodhisatta so he could make money curing him. He told the Bodhisatta it was a hedgehog. But once he picked it up and realized it was a snake, the Bodhisatta threw it down where it bit and killed the doctor.
The Bodhisatta was once a son of a village householder. A poor doctor saw a snake in a tree and wanted it to bite the Bodhisatta so he could make money curing him. He told the Bodhisatta it was a hedgehog. But once he picked it up and realized it was a snake, the Bodhisatta threw it down where it bit and killed the doctor. The doctor’s friends had the boys arrested, but they kept a positive attitude and impressed the king, who judged them innocent.
(Duplicate of Jataka #439) The Bodhisatta was once Indra, king of the gods. A merchant who rejected religion and mistreated his mother sailed out to sea on a trading voyage. Soon after, he was set adrift on a raft for bringing bad luck to the ship. He spent time on several islands with blissful spirits, then he arrived in hell and had to carry a heavy razor wheel on his head. The Bodhisatta told him this was his punishment for a life of greed.
The Bodhisatta was once a goose. He saw a banyan seedling growing on his tree fairy friend’s home and told him to pick it off because banyans kill every tree they grow on. The tree fairy ignored his advice, and later his tree died.
The Bodhisatta was once a prince. A king had conquered the Bodhisatta’s kingdom and killed his parents. To seek revenge, he became this king’s assistant. When the opportunity arrived, the Bodhisatta threatened to kill him, but didn’t. The king repented and gave him back the family kingdom.
The Bodhisatta was once Indra, king of the gods. An ascetic became depressed when his pet deer died, and the Bodhisatta reminded him that grief is pointless.
The Bodhisatta was once a teacher. He divined that someday the son of one of his students, a prince, would try to harm him. So he wrote three verses and told the future king when to recite them. In all three cases, the son heard the verses and stopped his assassination attempts.
The Bodhisatta was once Indra, king of the gods. An archer’s wife fell in love at first sight with a thief and helped him kill her husband. They ran off together, but he stole her jewelry and left her behind. The Bodhisatta came to earth as a jackal and mocked her stupidity.
(Duplicate of Jataka #42) The Bodhisatta was once a pigeon. A greedy crow wanted to eat fish from the kitchen where the Bodhisatta lived, so he befriended him and moved in. The Bodhisatta knew the crow’s intention and told him not to do it, but the crow didn’t listen. When he tried to steal some fish, he was caught and killed.
The Bodhisatta was once an ascetic. He was respected and supported by the king, who appreciated his advice about ruling righteously. One time when the Bodhisatta was traveling, he gave the ferryman advice in lieu of money. The ferryman got angry and assaulted the Bodhisatta.
The Bodhisatta was once a teacher. One of his students was arrogant about being of the brahmin caste, and after being outsmarted by an untouchable he was so ashamed he fled and joined a band of ascetics. He temporarily tricked a king into supporting the ascetics, but the king’s chaplain saw through his charade.
The Bodhisatta was once a king. After the Bodhisatta took the throne, his close friend went off to be an ascetic. After fifty years they met again, and the friend convinced the Bodhisatta to become an ascetic.
The Bodhisatta was once a golden goose. One day they visited a mountain where all animals were honored equally. He thought this was a terrible thing and left right away.
The Bodhisatta was once an ascetic. He found a baby in a lotus and raised her as his daughter. The Bodhisatta said the king could marry her if he guessed her name. With her encouragement, the king tried unsuccessfully for three years until finally she gave him a clue and he guessed it.
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