Kalakanni Jataka (#83)

temple painting of Kalakanni Jataka

The Bodhisatta was once a treasurer. One of his childhood friends, whose name was Curse, came upon hard times, and the Bodhisatta hired him to look after his property. The Bodhisatta’s friends thought it was inappropriate to speak such a name around the house, especially for a wretch such as this man, and said he should be fired. The Bodhisatta insisted superstitions about names were pure folly, and he rejected their advice.

One time while the Bodhisatta was traveling, a band of armed thieves who knew about his trip surrounded his house to break in. But Curse, who was there alone, suspected that thieves were coming, so he stayed up all night waiting. When he heard the thieves arrive, Curse ran around the house making loud noises to convince them there were actually many people there, so they threw down their weapons and left. The next morning, the people who had wanted Curse banished now glorified him for being so wise. When the Bodhisatta returned home, he mocked his friends because if he had listened to their advice, he would be a beggar now.

In the Lifetime of the Buddha

Anathapindika, a wealthy supporter of the Buddha known for his extreme generosity, told him a story about how his friend named Curse had cleverly saved all his wealth from thieves while he was away from home. The Buddha told him this story so he knew that the exact same thing had happened in the past to a man also named Curse.

Curse from the past was an earlier birth of Ananda, one of the Buddha’s top disciples.

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