The Bodhisatta was once a king’s advisor. When a man fell madly in love with the queen, the king gave her to him for a week of pleasure, then they ran away together. This depressed the king, so the Bodhisatta arranged a sword-swallowing performance to teach him that giving something away without regret was more difficult than swallowing swords. This got the king over his sorrow.
The Bodhisatta was once a king’s advisor. A tree fairy cryptically warned an old brahmin that if he went home his wife would die, and if he stayed out another night he would die. The Bodhisatta realized this meant there was a snake in his bag. After this, the lover of his young, unsatisfied wife stole the old brahmin’s money, and the Bodhisatta devised a plan that got it back.
The Bodhisatta was once an ascetic. He lived in the Himalayas, and one time he visited a city and the king took care of him. The king repeatedly offered to give the Bodhisatta anything he wanted, but he always refused to take anything.
The Bodhisatta was once a monkey. A mischievous monkey defecated on the king’s chaplain, who vowed revenge. The Bodhisatta told the monkeys to move away, but only half went with him. When some elephants suffered severe burns, the chaplain suggested using monkey fat as medicine and had the remaining monkeys killed.
(Duplicate of Jataka #346) The Bodhisatta was once an ascetic. After spending a rainy season in the king’s park, the band’s elder master stayed behind when the rest of the group returned to the Himalayas. But he did not like living alone and got ill. He returned to the mountains, and when he saw his friend the Bodhisatta, his health was quickly restored.
The Bodhisatta was once an ascetic. He and another ascetic lived together in the Himalayas, and one time they went down to stay temporarily in a village. The other ascetic had saved some salt from an earlier meal to eat later, and the Bodhisatta criticized him for hoarding.
The Bodhisatta was once a king of monkeys. A human king discovered the Bodhisatta’s troop’s special mango tree and wanted to kill all the monkeys to stop them from eating the fruit. The Bodhisatta died saving them, and this impressed the king, so he turned the Bodhisatta’s skull into a shrine.
The Bodhisatta was once a potter. After meeting four private Buddhas (those who reach enlightenment on their own and do not teach the path to others), both the Bodhisatta and his wife were inspired to become ascetics. The wife snuck out of their home so she could convert first. When their children were older, the Bodhisatta gave them to a relative and started his ascetic life.
The Bodhisatta was once a king’s top advisor. When one of his esteemed elephants grew old, the king forced her to haul dung carts. The Bodhisatta told the king it was wrong to remove someone’s honor and convinced him to bring her back to a good life in the palace.
The Bodhisatta was once Indra, king of the gods. An ascetic became depressed when his pet elephant died, and the Bodhisatta came to earth to remind him that grief is pointless.
The Bodhisatta was once a king. The queen mother fell in love with the much younger Bodhisatta, and felt she would die if she could not have him. To save her life, the king told the Bodhisatta he could be king if he married her. He agreed, but was soon so unhappy he left and became an ascetic.
The Bodhisatta was once a tree fairy. A garuda killed a naga and laid it on the Bodhisatta’s tree to eat it. The Bodhisatta paid this no mind, but when a tiny bird landed on its tree, he shook with fear because this bird could defecate a banyan tree seed onto it, and banyans kill the trees they grow on.
The Bodhisatta was once a king’s chaplain. The king favored new soldiers over old, and this resulted in losing a battle. The Bodhisatta told him about a goatherder whose goats died after he gave his attention to some newly arrived wild deer.
The Bodhisatta was once an ascetic. He did walking meditation all night long, and when a tree fairy asked how he did it, he answered that he was dedicated to living a virtuous life.
The Bodhisatta was once a king. He knew that he had become king in this life because as a poor laborer in his previous life he gave gruel to four private Buddhas (those who reach enlightenment on their own and do not teach the path to others). During his coronation, he wrote a song of joy about his change in luck, and his queen asked him to explain its meaning.
The Bodhisatta was once a prince. Because of a spell that let him talk to animals, he found out that he was destined to die in an upcoming battle. By acting outside of expectations, he won the battle and survived. During this battle, his unpopular father fled to the forest with his pregnant queen, chaplain, and a servant. The queen had an affair with the servant, and they killed the king. When the prince grew up, he killed the servant and returned to the city.
The Bodhisatta was once Indra, king of the gods. A man was dedicated to caring for his mother, but his wife treated her badly in a scheme to get rid of her. Eventually the wife told her husband that either his mother had to leave or she would. He chose his wife, but the Bodhisatta made them all reconcile.
The Bodhisatta was once an ascetic. The king heard eight ominous sounds and his brahmins, seeking to make money, told him this foretold danger, and he must perform a large animal sacrifice. The Bodhisatta told the king the benign source of the sounds, and the king canceled the sacrifice.
The Bodhisatta was once a tree fairy. A high-class prostitute fell in love with a thief about to be executed and she had an innocent man killed in his place so the thief could become her husband. Eventually the thief tired of her and decided to rob and kill her. But when she heard this, she killed him first. The Bodhisatta noted that sometimes women can act wisely.
The Bodhisatta was once a king. His park-keeper accidentally killed a private Buddha (those who reach enlightenment on their own and do not teach the path to others) who the king supported, so he fled in fear of retribution. Not wanting to act in anger, the king waited three years to decide the park-keeper’s fate, and then did not punish him because it was an accident.
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