Samiddhi Jataka (#167)

The Bodhisatta was once an ascetic who lived deep in the Himalayas. One morning, after having wrestled in the spirit all night long, he bathed himself in a lake. While drying off, wearing just his undergarment, a nymph saw him and fell in love at first sight. She tried to tempt him by telling him he should enjoy a life of pleasure first, then live out his later years religiously. But the Bodhisatta replied that nobody knows when they will die and so he would not take the risk. When she heard the Bodhisatta’s answer, the nymph left.

In the Lifetime of the Buddha

One morning, after having wrestled in the spirit all night long, one of the Buddha’s disciples took a bath. While drying off, wearing just his undergarment, a nymph saw him and fell in love at first sight. She tried to tempt him by telling him he should enjoy a life of pleasure first and live out his later years religiously. But the disciple replied that nobody knows when they will die, so he would not take the risk. When she heard the disciple’s answer, the nymph left.

The disciple told the Buddha about this and the Buddha told him this story so he knew that in the past he himself had once been similarly tempted by an earlier birth of this same nymph.

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