08 09 2010 FREE ONLINE eNālandā Research and Practice UNIVERSITY JATAKA TALES PART V
LESSON – 24
We are shaped by our thoughts; we become what we think. When the mind is pure, joy follows like a shadow that never leaves.
EDUCATE (BUDDHA)! MEDITATE (DHAMMA)! ORGANISE (SANGHA)!
WISDOM IS POWER
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JATAKA TALES- PART V
Bas relief of the Jataka Tales
Jataka Tales chronicled the Bodhisatta’s journey from life to life to perfect the 10 Paramis (10 Great Virtues) before Buddhahood.
One day while they were at work an Elephant came limping on three feet to them. He held up one foot and the carpenters saw that it was swollen and sore. Then the Elephant lay down and the men saw that there was a great splinter in the sore foot. They pulled it out and washed the sore carefully so that in a short time it would be well again.
Thankful for the cure, the Elephant thought: “These carpenters have done so much for me, I must be useful to them.”
So after that the Elephant used to pull up trees for the carpenters. Sometimes when the trees were chopped down he would roll the logs down to the river.  Other times he brought their tools for them. And the carpenters used to feed him well morning, noon and night.
Now this Elephant had a son who was white all over—a beautiful, strong young one. Said the old Elephant to himself, “I will take my son to the place in the forest where I go to work each day so that he may learn to help the carpenters, for I am no longer young and strong.”
 So the old Elephant told his son how the carpenters had taken good care of him when he was badly hurt and took him to them. The white Elephant did  as his father told him to do and helped the carpenters and they fed him well.
When the work was done at night the young Elephant went to play in the river. The carpenters’ children played with him, in the water and on the bank. He liked to pick them up in his trunk and set them on the high branches of the trees and then let them climb down on his back.
 One day the king came down the river and saw this beautiful white Elephant working for the carpenters. The king at once wanted the Elephant for his own and paid the carpenters a great price for him. Then with a last look at his playmates, the children, the beautiful white Elephant went on with the king.
The king was proud of his new Elephant and took the best care of him as long as he lived.
The Sutta Pitaka is the second part of the three-part Tripitaka, or (Three baskets [of texts]), the primary canon of Buddhism.The Sutta Pitaka contains more than 10,000 suttas delivered by the Buddha around the time of his 45 year teaching career. It also contains many additional suttas from members of the sangha. (sangha are groups of Buddhist monks)
There are five nikayas (collections) in the Sutta Pitaka. Looking at the nikayas you’ll notice Khuddaka Nikaya, which is “the division of short books”. This consists of 15 books (eighteen in the Burmese edition) with many Buddhist stories and verses inside. Book 10 of the Khuddaka Nikaya is the Jataka.
The Jātaka is a collection of 547 stories, from the Sutta Pitaka division of the Tripitaka. Like the rest of the Tripitaka, the Jataka is in Pali, a north Indian dialect related to Sanskrit, which appears to be the literary language of early Buddhism.
In ancient times the Pali Canon was written on thin slices of wood. The ‘pages’ are kept on top of each other by two thin sticks, which go through little holes in the scripture. The scripture is wrapped in cloth and stored inside the box Click thumbn
Jataka means “the story of a birth,” and the Jatakas are stories, in a mixture of prose and verse, of the 550 lives through which Gautama Buddha is said to have passed before his birth as Prince Siddhartha of the Sakya clan in northern India (563 B.C.)
In his earlier births Gautama is said to have been a Pali Bodhisatta (a being destined to acheive enlightenment), who in each life, born as an animal, person, or god, moves a step closer to perfect wisdom. The perfect wisdom being the attainment of Buddha (an “Enlightened Being”).
As the tale begins, you find the Buddha in conversation with his Buddhist monks or lay followers. A question from one of them will bring to the teacher’s mind a story of the past (that is, of one of his past lives as a Bodhisattva), which he then tells to illustrate a point of conduct. This is the main narrative, with its most dramatic moments highlighted by one or more stanza (gatha) spoken by a character or characters within it. At the end, the Buddha comments on his role as the Bodhisattva hero of the tale. The rebirth theme, together with the specifically Buddhist ideals of conduct expounded, mark the story as a Jataka.
Once upon a time when Brahmadatta was reigning in Benares, The Bodhisattva came to life as a young hare and lived in a wood. On one side of this wood was the foot of a mountain, on another side a river, and on the third side a border-village. The hare had three friends — a monkey, a jackal, and an otter. These four wise creatures lived together and each of them got his food on their own hunting ground, and in the evening they again came together. The hare in his wisdom by way of admonition preached the truth to his three companions, teaching that alms are to be given, the moral law to be observed, and holy days to be kept. They acceped his admonition and went each to his own part of the jungle and dwelt there.
And so in the course of time, the Bodhisattva one day observing the sky and looking at the moon knew that the next day would be a fast-day, and addressing his three companions he said, “Tomorrow is a fast-day. Let all three of you take upon you the moral precepts, and observe the holy day. To one that stands fast in moral practice, almsgiving brings a great reward. Therefore feed any beggars that come to you by giving them food from your own table.” They readily assented, and abode each in his own place of dwelling.
On the morrow quite early in the morning, the otter sallied forth to seek his prey and went down to the bank of the Ganges. Now it came to pass that a fisherman had landed seven red fish, and stringing them together on a withe, he had taken and buried them in the sand on the river’s bank. He then dropped down the stream, catching more fish. The otter, scenting the buried fish, dug up the sand till he came upon them, and pulling them out cried three times, “Does anyone own these fish?” Lacking a reply and not seeing any owner he took hold of the withe with his teeth and laid the fish in the jungle where he dwelt, intending to eat them at a fitting time. Laying down, he thought of how virtuous he was!
The jackal too set forth in quest of food and found in the hut of a field-watcher two spits, a lizard, and a pot of milk-curd. And after thrice crying aloud, “To whom do these belong?” and not finding an ownder, he put on his neck the rope for lifting the pot, and grasping the spits and lizard with his teerth, he brought and laid them in his own lair, thinking, “In due season I will devour them,” and so lay down, reflecting how virtuous he had been.
The monkey also entered the clump of trees, and gathering a bunch of mangoes laid them up in his part of the jungle, meaning to eat them in due season, and then lay down, thinking how virtuous he was.
The Bodhisattva in due time came out, intending to browse on the kusa-grass, and as he lay in the jungle, the thought occurred to him, “It is impossible for me to offer grass to any beggars that may chance to appear, and I have no sesame, rice, and such like. If any beggar shall appeal to me, I shall have to give him my own flesh to eat.”
At this splendid display of virtue, Sukka’s white marble throne manifested signs of heat. Sakka on reflection discovered the cause and resolved to put this royal hare to the test. First of all he went and stood by the otter’s dwelling-place, disguised as a brahmin, and being asked why he stood there, he replied, “Wise Sir, if I could get something to eat, after keeping the fast, I would perform all my ascestic duties.” The otter replied, “Very well. I will give you some food,” and as he conversed with him he repeated the first stanza:
Seven red fish I safely brought to land from Ganges flood,
O brahmin, eat thy fill, I pray, and stay within this wood.
The brahmin said, “Let be till tomorrow. I will see to it by and by.” Next he went to the jackal, and when asked by him why he stood there, he made the same answer. The jackal too, readily promised him some food, and in talking with him repeated the second stanza:
A lizard and a jar of curds, the keeper’s evening meal,
Two spits of roasted flesh withal I wrongfully did steal:
Such as I have to give to thee: O brahmin, eat, I pray,
If thou shouldst deign within this wood a while with us to stay.
Said the brahmin, “Let be till tomorrow. I will see to it by and by.” Then he went to the monkey, and when asked what he meant by standing there, he answered just as before. The monkey readily offered him some food, and in conversing with him gave utterance to the third stanza:
An icy stream, a mango ripe, and pleasant greenwood shade,
‘Tis thine to enjoy, if thou canst dwell content in forest glade.
Said the brahmin, “Let be till tomorrow. I will see it by and by.” Then he went to the wise hare, and on being asked by him why he stood there, he made the same reply. The Bodhisattva on hearing what he wanted was highly delighted, and said, “Brahmin, you have done well in coming to me for food. This day will I grant you a boon that I have never granted before, but you shall not break the moral law by taking animal life. Go, friend, and when you have piled together logs of wood, and kindled a fire, come and let me know, and I will sacrifice myself by falling into the midst of the flames, and when my body is roasted, you shall eat my flesg and fulfil all your ascetic duties.” And in thus addressing him the hare uttered the fourth stanza:
Nor sesame, nor beans, nor rice have I as food to give,
But roast with fire my flesh I yield, if thou with us wouldst live.
Sakka, on hearing what he said, by his miraculous power caused a heap of burning coals to appear, and came and told the Bodhisattva. Rising from his bed of kusa-grass and coming to the place, he thrice shook himself that if there were any insects within his coat they might escape death. Then offering his whole body as a free gift he sprang up, and like a royal swan, alighting on a cluster of lotuses, in an ectasy of joy he fell on the heap of live coals. But the flame failed even to heat the pores of the hear on the body of the Bodhisatta, and it was as if he had entered a region of frost. Then he addressed Sakka in these words: “Brahmin, the fire you have kindled is icy-cold: it fails to heat even the pores of the hair on my body. What is the meaning of this?”
“Wise Sir,” he replied, “I am no brahmin. I am Sakka, and I have come to put your virtue to the test.” The Bodhisatta then said, “If not only thou, Sakka, but all the inhabitants of the world were to try me in this matter of almsgiving, they would not find in me any unwillingness to give,” and with this the Bodhisatta uttered a cry of exultation like a lion roaring. Then said Sakka to the Bodhisatta, “O wise hare, be thy virtue known throughout a whole aeon.” And squeezing the mountain, with the essence thus extracted, he daubed the sign of a hare on the orb of the moon. And after depositing the hare on a bed of young kusa-grass, in the same wooded part of the jungle, Sakka returned to his own place in heaven. And these four wise creatures dwelt happily and harmoniously together, fulfilling the moral law and observing holy days, till they departed to fare according to their deeds.
Translated by H. T. Francis and E. J. Thomas.
Fast-day — In the lunisolar calendar followed by Buddhism,Hinduism, and Jainism, some days, corresponding to particular phases of the moon, are set aside for keeping fasts.
“Therefore feed any beggars” — Begging is part of the vow of poverty observed by Buddhist monks and many hindu ascetics.
Kusa-grass — Used in Hindu rituals
Sakka — Indra, king of gods, who rewards those who display extraordinary virtue.
Stanza — The traditional stanza known as gatha. The formula by which the stanzas are introduced shows that they were meant to be memorized. The Pali stanzas in the Jātaka tales are very old, stylistically more archaic than the stanzas of the Hindu epics, and seem to have been used by monks as keys to memorize and summarize the tales.
Once on a time when Brahmadatta was reigning in Benares, The Bodhisatta was born into a merchant’s family and on name-day was named “Wise.” When he grew up he entered into partnership with another merchant named “Wisest,” and traded with him. So, these two took five hundred wagons of merchandise from Benares to the country-districts, where they unloaded their wares, returning afterwards with the profits to the city.
When it came time to divide their proceeds, Wisest said, “I must have a double share.” “Why so?” asked Wise. “Because while you are Wise, I am Wisest; and Wise ought to have only one share to Wisest’s two. “But we both had an equal interest in the stock-in-trade and in the oxens and wagons. Why should you have two shares?” “Because I am Wisest.” And so they talked away till they fell to quarrelling.
“Ah!” thought Wisest, “I have a plan.” He then bade his father to hide in a hollow tree, enjoining the old man to say, when the two came, “Wisest should have a double portion.” This arranged, he went to the Bodhisatta and proposed to him to refer the claim for a double share to the competent decision of the Tree-Sprite. Then he made his appeal in these words: “Lord Tree-Sprite, decide our cause!” Hereupon the father, who was hiding in the tree, in a changed voice asked them to state the case.
The cheat addressed the tree as follows: “Lord, here stands Wise, and here stand I Wisest. We have been partners in trade. Declare what share each should receive.”
“Wise should receive one share, and Wisest two” was the response.
Hearing this decision, the Bodhisatta resolved to find out whether it was indeed a Tree-Sprite or not. So he filled the hollow trunk with straw and set it on fire. Wisest’s father was half roasted by the rising flames and clambered up by clutching hold of a bough. Then falling to the ground he uttered this stanza:
Wise rightly, Wisest wrongly got his name;
Through Wisest, I’m nigh roasted in the flame.
Then the two merchants made an equal division and each took half; and at their death passed away to fare according to their deserts.
“Thus you see,” said the Master, “that your partner was as great a cheat in past times as now.” Having ended his story, he identified the Birth by saying,”The cheating merchant of today was the cheating merchant in the story, and I the honest merchant named Wise.”
Translated by E.B. Cowell
Once on a time when Brahmadatta was reigning in Benares — Many Jātaka tales begin this way, though there is no known king named Brahmadatta
Because Benares is the place where Gautama Buddha preached his first sermon (the “Deer-Park Sermon”) and as it is situated on the sacred river Ganges, it is the great holy city of the Hindus
Bodhisatta — “A being on the path to enlightenment.” or a buddha-to-be; more commonly known by the Sanskrit equivalent Bodhisattva. In the Jātaka the term always connotes Gautama Buddha in one of his previous incarnations.
Tree Sprite — One of the many demigods whose worship was absorbed into early Buddhism from popular cults of tree worship (male and female tree deities are abundantly represented in early Buddhist art).
Buddhist beliefs are evidenced in the stories at moments like that of the hare’s self sacrifice. In the Buddhist doctrine utterly selfless acts and attitudes are a crucial component of the path to enlightenment and thus to liberation from the cycle of birth and death.The basic decider of one’s liberation is karma. Good deeds, like that of the hare’s self sacrifice, will bring one good fortune. While bad deeds, such as the jackal’s theft, will return later as bad fortune. Even if the act is severely detrimental to the actor it will bring positive karma if it’s done for the benefit others.
Tortoise from Kaccapavadana
As Buddhism spread, the jatakas spread with it to become a part of literature, art, and culture of Sri Lanka, Burma, Tibet, China, Japan, and other countries in East and Southeast Asia.
The arrangement of the Jataka as we have it today may have been made as late as the fourth century A.D. based on the text preserved by Sri Lankan Buddhist monks. Many Jatakas are also sculpted on the north Indian relic shrines (stupa) of the Buddha at Bharhut and Sanchi (Second century B.C. to A.D. first century) the earliest surviving Buddhist monuments in India, thus confirming the antiquity and importance of these tales in tradition.
Northern Sanchi Gateway (stupa)
The Chinese Diamond Sutra, the oldest known dated printed book in the world, printed in the 9th year of Xiantong Era of the Tang Dynasty (Buddhist)
The 5 Abilities are Caused by Conditions!
The origin of the ability of Faith is the desire to make a decision!
The origin of the ability of Energy is the longing for exertion!
The origin of the ability of Awareness is the wanting to establish!
The origin of the ability of Concentration is yearning for non-distraction!
The origin of the ability of Understanding is the wish to see!
On The Five Mental Abilities (indriya) see:
1: Faith (saddhā): The Initiating Key!
2: Energy (viriya): The Motor & Fuel!
3: Awareness (sati): The Light to See with!
4: Concentration (samādhi): The Focus to Drill & Catch with!
5: Understanding (pañña): The Resultant Aloof State!
The Experience of Change uproots Egoism!
At Savatthi the blessed Buddha said:
Bhikkhus, when the perception of impermanence is developed & cultivated,
then it eliminates all sense desire, it eliminates all lust for becoming into
something else, it also eliminates all ignorance, and finally it uproots even
this deep self-deception that “I Am”…
Just as, bhikkhus, in the autumn, when the sky is ultra clear and cloudless,
then the rising sun dispels all darkness from all the space where it shines,
so too when the perception of impermanence is developed and cultivated,
then it eliminates all sense desire, it eliminates lust for renewed becoming
into something else, and it also evaporates and eliminates all ignorance…
Finally it even uproots this core conceit that “I Am”!
And how, bhikkhus, is perception of impermanence developed & cultivated
so that it eliminates all sense desire, lust for becoming, ignorance & egoism?
Such is form, such is the arising of form, such is the ceasing of form..
Such is feeling, such is the arising of feeling, such is the ceasing of feeling..
Such is perception, such is the arising of perception, such is its cessation..
Such is construction, such is the arising of construction, & such its ceasing.
Such is consciousness, such is the arising of consciousness, & such its ceasing.
That is how the perception of impermanence is developed and cultivated so
that it eliminates all sense desire, all lust for becoming something else,
all ignorance, and so that it finally uproots this conceit that “I Am”…
Causes cause emergence when present, while ceasing when they are absent:
Body is caused by food, ignorance, form lust, & intention resulting in form.
Feeling arises from contact, ignorance, desire for feeling, & prior intention.
Perception is caused by contact, ignorance, lust for perception, and kamma.
Mental Construction arises caused by contact, past ignorance, desire for
mental construction, and prior intention = kama resulting in construction.
The causes of consciousness are mentality-&-materiality, prior ignorance,
desire for being conscious, and kammic intention resulting in consciousness.
Ignorance is Not Knowing: Suffering, Craving as the cause of Suffering,
No Craving as the End of Suffering, and the Noble Way to end Suffering…
Whether going along, above, across or back, wherever he goes in this world
let him carefully scrutinize the arising & ceasing of all constructed things…
More on the Universal Fact of Impermanence:
The Grouped Sayings by the Buddha. Samyutta Nikāya 22:102 III 155-7
Have a nice & noble day!
Press Information Bureau
(C.M. Information Campus)
Information & Public Relations Department, U.P.
C.M. decides to provide various additional facilities to farmers affected by land acquisition for their rehabilitation
U.P.’s new land acquisition policy most progressive in country
Acquisition affected farmers to get better facilities than Haryana
Lucknow: 03 September 2010
Holding all the Central Governments responsible for the poor
condition of farmers and the problem of naxalism, the Uttar Pradesh Chief
Minister, Ms. Mayawati said that owing to various flaws in the Land
Acquisition Act, the farmers of the country were forced to take to the roads
to get their problems solved. She said that her government and party were
totally against the forceful acquisition of farmers’ land.
The Cabinet Secretary Mr. Shashank Shekhar Singh informed the
media persons about the decisions of the Chief Minister Ms. Mayawati at a
press conference held at the Lal Bahadur Shastri Bhawan Media Centre
here today. He said that the Chief Minister, while considering the issues
like land acquisition and rehabilitation of farmers seriously, decided to
formulate a new system of rehabilitation of farmers for the future. Under it,
the affected farmers would be provided various facilities at the time of
acquisition of their land.
The Chief Minister decided that an amount of Rs. 20,000 per acre per
annum would be provided as annuity for a length of 33 years to the
affected farmer whose land had been acquired. It would be paid in addition
to the compensation. It would be increased by Rs. 600 every year and
would be payable in every July. He said that if a farmer did not want to
take the annuity, then he would be paid one time amount of Rs. 2,40,000
per hectare as rehabilitation subsidy. If a company acquired the land, then
the farmer would have the option to hold 25 per cent share of the land
acquired by the company.
Regarding the land development projects, the Chief Minister also
decided that the original land owners would be allotted 7 per cent of the
acquired land for residential purposes. The minimum area of this allotted
plot would be 120 sq. m. and the maximum limit would be decided by the
related authority. If a housing scheme was being implemented at the land
acquired by the authority, 17.5 per cent reservation would be applicable for
the affected farmers.
The Chief Minister said that the Congress party praised Haryana in
this regard, but the truth is that the Uttar Pradesh Government had made
arrangements to provide better facilities to the farmers of the State than
Haryana. In Haryana, the farmers were being provided an annuity of Rs.
15000 per acre per year for a length of 33 years in addition to the
compensation, while in UP the farmers were being provided an annuity of
Rs. 20,000 per acre per year for a period of 33 years. In Haryana, it was
being increased by Rs. 500 per year while in UP the same was being hiked
by Rs. 600 per year. There is no provision of one time payment of annuity
in Haryana, while in UP a provision of one time payment of Rs. 2.40 lakh
per acre had been made.
The Chief Minister said that there was no provision of providing
company’s shares in case of land acquisition for the companies, while the
farmer can opt to have 25 per cent of the one time amount as share.
Besides, under the land for development schemes, the farmers would be
provided 7 per cent of the acquired land for housing projects. There is no
such arrangement in Haryana. Thus, the new land acquisition policy of the
State Government had been formulated keeping in view the interests of the
farmers and it was the most progressive policy of the country.
Regarding the condition of the farmers getting landless because of
the acquisition of land by the State Government, the Chief Minister said
that it had issued orders on 17 August 2010 to provide one time labour
charges of Rs. 1.85 lakhs to every farmer family for 5 years equivalent to
the daily charges of agriculture labour. The State Government clearly
decided that if the farmers of Aligarh district (Tappal) did not want
township then the same would not be set up there. He said that as far as
the land related problem of the farmers of Aligarh and Agra was concerned,
the State Government had solved them. The farmers had been given
adequate compensation and they had also accepted it, but opposition
parties were trying to vitiate the law and order there.
The Chief Minister always said that all the Central Governments were
responsible for the poor plight of the farmers as they worked in the
interests of the industrialists and exploited forest land to benefit them. On
the other hand, the Chief Minister supported farmers’ demand of amending
Land Acquisition Act. Moreover, she also supported their programme to
gherao of the Parliament from outside to amend this Act.
The CM said that the farmers had been long demanding to amend the
Land Acquisition Act 1894, but the anti-farmer and pro-industrialist Central
Government did not hear the demands of the farmers and kept quiet for 6
The Chief Minister said that her Government always protected the
interests of the farmers and made all possible efforts to resolve the
problem of the farmers. She is of the opinion that without the prosperity of
the farmers the country could not forge ahead on the path of development.
The efforts were being made to solve the land acquisition related problems
of the farmers and also for their rehabilitation and the new policy
announced today by the CM would benefit the farmers.
The Principal Secretary Information Mr. Vijay Shankar Pandey was
also present on the occasion.