Makasa Jataka (#44)

painting of Makasa Jataka

The Bodhisatta was once a merchant. One day he stopped at a carpenter’s home in a faraway border village. While the carpenter was planing wood, a mosquito bit him on the head and he told his son to swat it. The boy picked up an axe and hit the mosquito, splitting open his father’s head and killing him instantly. The Bodhisatta told those around him that smart enemies are better than stupid friends because the fear of vengeance stops a smart enemy from killing someone.

In the Lifetime of the Buddha

While out on an alms pilgrimage, the Buddha came to a village with many wounded men. He asked people what had happened. They explained that the mosquitoes in the forest bothered them immensely, so many of the villagers declared war on the mosquitoes and went to attack them. When they fired their bows, the arrows struck each other, not the mosquitoes.

The carpenter and his idiot son were earlier births of two of these stupid villagers, and the Buddha told them this story so they knew that this was not the first time they had attacked each other rather than mosquitoes.

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