Radha Jataka (#198)

temple painting of Radha Jataka

The Bodhisatta was once a parrot. He and his brother lived in the home of a brahmin who treated them like his own children. Unfortunately, his wife was a thoroughly wicked woman, and when he had to go away on business, the brahmin asked his parrot pair to keep watch over her and report if she brought any men to the house.

During the brahmin’s absence, his wife had a steady stream of lovers come to the house, both day and night. Despite the Bodhisatta warning against doing it, his brother asked her why she did bad things. She hid her anger and feigned remorse so she could get near the brother—then she wrung his neck and threw him into the oven. When the brahmin returned, he asked the Bodhisatta whether his wife had had sex with other men. The Bodhisatta refused to answer, explaining that he did not want to end up dead like his brother. Then he said he could no longer live in the house and flew away to the forest.

In the Lifetime of the Buddha

One of the Buddha’s disciples began lusting for a woman he saw wearing beautiful clothes, and he could no longer focus on studying dharma. The Buddha reminded this disciple that women are inherently wicked and told him this story so he knew that even women who are watched carefully will betray their husbands. This convinced him to remain a disciple.

The Bodhisatta’s brother was an earlier birth of Ananda, one of the Buddha’s top disciples.

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