Sanjiva Jataka (#150)

The Bodhisatta was once a teacher. He taught one of his students the spell for raising the dead. While out gathering wood in the forest with fellow students they came across a dead tiger. Wanting to show off, the learned student told his companions he could bring the tiger to life again. After the others climbed up a tree for safety, the student spoke his charm and hit the tiger with a piece of broken pottery. The tiger immediately lunged for the student’s throat, killing him instantly. Then the tiger suddenly dropped dead again.

The other students went back and told the Bodhisatta what had happened. He explained to them that you always bring misfortune on yourself when you help the wicked.

In the Lifetime of the Buddha

A king who supported Devadatta, a disciple of the Buddha who became his nemesis, took the throne by killing his virtuous father. After the earth swallowed Devadatta, sending him to hell, the king feared he would suffer the same fate and he could not put his mind at rest. He wanted to ask guidance from the Buddha, but because of what he had done, he was afraid to go. Then one night at a festival he saw the Buddha’s doctor and thought he could muster the courage to approach the Buddha if the doctor introduced him. So he sat down amidst the group of men and asked all of them which religious teacher they respected. They all named different people, and after the doctor praised the Buddha, he urged the king to go meet him. The king, feigning ignorance of the Buddha, agreed.

The king listened to the Buddha explain the path of righteousness and then, finally feeling peaceful again, returned to the palace. The Buddha, knowing everything the king had done, told his disciples that had the king not done such terrible things in his life he would have attained the first path of understanding, but because he followed Devadatta, he was destined to further misery.

The student killed by the tiger was an earlier birth of the king and the Buddha told this story so his disciples knew this was not the first time the king had suffered for aiding the wicked.

previous arrow                next arrow

Share this page.