Vatagga-Sindhava Jataka (#266)

The Bodhisatta was once a king’s state horse. His grooms regularly bathed him in the Ganges, River and while there a donkey saw him and fell in love so deeply that she stopped eating and drinking and became very thin and ill. Her son asked what was the matter. At first she was too embarrassed to admit it, but eventually told him about her infatuation. Her son promised to bring them together.

The next time the Bodhisatta went out to bathe, the son approached him to explain about his mother and asked him to meet her so her health would be restored. He agreed and told the son to have his mother wait for him along the river bank and he would join her after he finished bathing. She went to the meeting place and when the Bodhisatta approached and began to sniff her she decided she did not want to appear cheap and easy by letting him have his way with her right away. So to make it appear she was giving in to him reluctantly, she kicked the Bodhisatta in the jaw and ran away. The kick broke his jaw and injured him severely, so instead of pursuing her, he just left. The donkey felt terrible and lied down in grief. When her son came and asked why she did that, she explained that it is feminine nature.

In the Lifetime of the Buddha

The donkey was an earlier birth of a beautiful woman who fell in love at first sight with a handsome landowner so passionately that she stopped eating and spent all her time laying down hugging her bed frame. When she finally admitted to her friends and servants what the problem was, they said they would try to bring him to meet her and eventually they were able to persuade him. Excited by the good news, she put on her best clothes and waited on her bed.

The landowner arrived at the scheduled time and sat down beside her. Then suddenly, not wanting to lose honor by being too cheap and easy, she changed her mind and decided she would reject him today and give herself freely to him tomorrow. So when he touched her playfully she grabbed his hand and rudely told him to get out. The other women told her she was a fool to send him away, and it turned out that they were right. The landowner never returned to see her and she soon died of a broken heart.

After the landowner heard about her death, he took some flowers and perfumes as offerings to the Buddha, who asked why he had not come for such a long time. He told what had happened with this woman and said he stayed away because he felt guilt about what he had done. The Buddha told him this story so he knew the woman had done the same thing in the past and that he had no reason to feel ashamed.

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