Kimpakka Jataka (#85)

temple painting of Kimpakka Jataka

The Bodhisatta was once a merchant, and he took many oxcarts to trade with distant lands. During one trip through a vast forest the Bodhisatta warned his men that some poisonous fruit grew there, so they should not to eat any unfamiliar fruit until they checked with him. Some of his men came upon a kimpakka tree, which resembled a mango tree. Some men ate the fruit, while others decided to wait and check with the Bodhisatta first. When the Bodhisatta arrived he told them this was not a mango tree and he gave the men who ate the fruit a medicine to make them vomit. Some survived, but those who had eaten the fruit first died.

In the Lifetime of the Buddha

While on his alms round, one of the Buddha’s disciples saw a beautifully dressed woman and was aroused. The Buddha told him this story to teach him that desires are sweet in the beginning, but lead to ruin, just like the kimpakka fruit.

The people of the caravan were earlier births of the Buddha’s disciples.

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