Nakkhatta Jataka (#49)

temple painting of Nakkhatta Jataka

The Bodhisatta was once a wise and respected man. Some townspeople had arranged a marriage to a country girl and set a date with her family. After this, they asked a naked ascetic if the chosen day was lucky or not. Upset that they picked a day without consulting him first, he lied and said the stars were not favorable and there would be great misfortune if they had a marriage on that day. So when the appointed day came, the family stayed home.

The countryfolk were quite upset when the townspeople did not show up on the day that they themselves had chosen, so they married the girl off to someone else. The townspeople showed up in the village the next day for the marriage, and an argument broke out when they learned what had happened. The Bodhisatta, who lived in the city but was in the village on business, heard the commotion. He told the townspeople, with contempt, that they were fools because there is no luck to be found in the stars. They went home without a new bride.

In the Lifetime of the Buddha

A marriage was foiled by a resentful naked ascetic in the Buddha’s time almost exactly as it had been in the past, with the only difference being that the bride’s family lived in the town and the husband’s family in the countryside and were the ones who consulted the ascetic.

When the Buddha heard some of his disciples discussing the failed marriage, he told them this story so they knew that the same thing had happened to earlier births of the same two families and the ascetic.

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