"Age cannot wither her, nor custom stale
Her infinite variety "
The Commentarial Introduction Entitled
THE STORT OF THE LINEAGE
Translated from Prof. V. Fausboll -s edition
of the Pali text by
T. W. RHYS DAVIDS
New and Revised Edition by
MRS RHYS DAVIDS, D.Lrrr., M.A.
GEORGE ROUTLEDGE fcf SONS LTD.
NEW YORK: E. P. DUTTON
PRINTED IN GKEAT BRITAIN BY
STEPHEN AUSTIN AND SONS, LTD., HERTFORD
GEHEIM-RATH PROFESSOR DOCTOR
MY FIEST GUIDE IN ORIENTAL STUDIES
IN CONGRATULATION ON HIS DOCTOR JUBILAUM
AND IN DEEP RESPECT FOR HIS PROFOUND SCHOLARSHIP
THIS WORK IS DEDICATED BY
HIS GRATEFUL PUPIL
TABLE OF CONTENTS
TRANSLATOR S INTRODUCTION . . i
The Book of Birth Stories, and their Migration to
Orthodox Buddhist belief concerning it.
Two reasons for the value attached
to it . . . . . . i
Selected Stories :
1. The Ass in the Lion s Skin . iv
2. The Talkative Tortoise . . viii
3. The Jackal and the Crow . . xi
4. The Birth as " Great Physician " xiii
5. Sakka s Presents ... xv
6. A Lesson for Kings . . . xxi
The Kalilag and Damnag Literature . xxvii
Origin of ^Esop s Fables . . . xxix
The Barlaam and Josaphat Literature . xxxiii
Other Migrations of the Buddhist Tales xxxix
Greek and Buddhist Fables . . xl
Solomon s Judgment .... xlii
Summary of Part I .... xlv
vi TABLE OF CONTENTS
The Birth Stories in India
Jatakas derived from the Pali Pitakas . xlvii
in the Cariya Pitaka and Jataka
Mala . . . xlviii
,, in the Buddhavamsa
at the Council of Vesall . li
on the Ancient Sculptures . liv
The Pali Names of the Jatakas . lv
The Jatakas one of the Navangani Ivi
Authorship of our present Collection . Ivii
Jatakas not included in our present
Collection . . Ixi
Jatakas in post-Buddhistic Sanskrit
Literature . . Ixii
Form of the Jatakas :
The Introductory Stories Ixvii
The Conclusions . . Ixviii
The Abhisambuddha - gatha, or
Verses in the Conclusion Ixx
Divisions of the Jataka Book Ixxii
Actual Number of the Stories Ixxii
Summary of the Origin of the Present
Collection . Ixxiv
Special Lessons inculcated by the Birth
Stories . - lxxvii
Special Historical Value of the Birth
Stories . - -
TABLE OF CONTENTS vii
THE CEYLON COMPILER S INTRODUCTION,
called the Niddna-Kathd
Story of Sumedha, the First Bodisat . 82
The Successive Bodisats in the Times 01
the Previous Buddhas . . . 115
Life of the Last Bodisat (who became
Buddha) . . 144
His Descent from Tusita . . . 145
His Birth ... 154
Song of the Devas .... 156
Prophecy of Kala Devala . . 157
Prophecy of the Brahmin Priests . . 161
The Ploughing Festival . . . 163
The Young Bodisat s Skill and Wisdom 165
The Four Visions . . . . 166
The Bodisat s Son is Born ... 168
Kisa Gotami s Song . . . . 169
The Great Renunciation ... 172
The Great Struggle against Sin . . 181
The Great Victory over Mara . . 190
The Bliss of Nirvana . . . . 199
The Hesitation whether to Publish the
Good News . 206
The Foundation of the Kingdom of
Righteousness . . . . 209
Uruvela Kassapa s Conversion . . 210
Triumphal Entrance into Rajagaha . 212
Foundation of the Order 214
viii TABLE OF CONTENTS
Return Home ..... 217
Presentation of the First Monastery to
the Buddha . . . . 229
I. Indian Works .... 233
II. The Kalilag and Damnag Litera
III. The Barlaam and Josaphat
Literature . . . 239
IV. The Cariya Pitaka and the Jataka
Mala . .... 243
V. Alphabetical List of Jataka Stories
in the Mahavastu . . . 244
VI. Places at which the Tales were
VII. The Bodisats .... 246
VIII. Jatakas Illustrated in Bas-relief on
the Ancient Monuments . 247
IX. Former Buddhas ... 249
fTlHIS essay and the following translation were
J- published in 1880 as a volume in Triibner s
Oriental Series. That volume contained, further,
the beginning of a much longer work, namely
the translation of the so-called Jataka. This is
a collection of upwards of 550 folk-lore tales
which forms part of the Buddhist canonical
scriptures. The tales are in prose, each explaining
a much more ancient poem of two or more lines.
The allusions in the verses cannot be understood
without the explanation given in the prose. Over
and above this explanation there is added to each
story an episode said to be from the life of the
founder of what is now called Buddhism. Some
thing has occurred which the founder likens to
an episode in the long past, when, in a former life
the actors in the present episode and he himself
were engaged. In this way a moral, something
like those in our fables, is drawn. At the same
time the immensely long evolution in the full life
or lives of all men and in particular of such a
superman as the founder is brought out.
The original volume has long been out of print.
The writer, passing on to other pioneer work,
handed over the long task of the Jataka transla
tion to the late Professor E. B. Cowell. Under
his editorship and up to his death the work was
carried out by a group of translators and was
issued during 1895-1907 by the Cambridge
University Press. Naturally the remainder of
x EDITORIAL NOTE
the original volume herewith re-issued could not
take its proper place at the head of the complete
It has long been out of print. But neither the
introductory essay nor the translation of the
Nidana-katha or Jataka introductory chronicle
has been superseded. Hence it has seemed good
to the house of Routledge, in taking up the mantle
of the house of Triibner, to issue a fresh edition
of both. Hereby a service is rendered to all
inquirers into the history of Indian literature,
and especially into a phase of it which has held
much significance in the Buddhist tradition and
is of no small interest for the general mind of
Jataka means birth-let , birth-er , or collec
tively birth-anea . And the * story of the
lineage is a biography of Gotama Buddha so
far as it includes those earth-lives which he was
said to have lived under preceding Buddhas, and
also the life he lived as himself a Buddha down
to the time when his new church had won a
footing. It is not from a modern standpoint
a logically necessary preface. We should deem
ourselves* better instructed had the compilers
of prefaces and following stories told us something
about the sources of story and verse and episode.
But for the old-world orthodox Buddhist, rapt
in contemplation of his Great Man (mahd-purisa)
the chief end of the work discounting the end
less entertainment afiorded then (and even now)
by the stories was to throw light on that notable
object of his worship. The stories were episodes
in the founding and grounding, down an im
memorial past, of that wonderful product, the
EDITORIAL NOTE xi
character of a Tathagata of him-who-had-thus-
come . The introductory narrative is chiefly
concerned with the two great milestones in his
career : the milestone when the conscious will
to become a helper of men first awoke, and the
milestone when that will had reached such per
fection that he could become such a helper.
This narrative came to be called the Discourse
of the Nidana. In translating Nidana by
lineage V a verbal difficulty has been solved
more by the spirit of the contents than by the
letter of the title. The word niddna is usually
rendered by cause, source, base, origin. None of
these would convey a meaning to English readers.
In Buddhist perspective the narrative reveals a
long, long line of ancestors. These are not
ancestors after the flesh . These are not
ancestors by what we reckon as heredity. We
merge the individual in the family, the tribe, the
race. In Buddhism the line of the individual
stands out much more strongly, in startling
incongruity with its church s rejection of the
man . These are ancestors of dead selves
through whom, again and again reborn, the
man whose will is set on the best he knows,
may rise as on stepping-stones to higher things .
Dead selves is a poor wording, but by it
Tennyson meets the Buddhist point of view not
inaptly. The word niddna suggests something
serial, or connected in line. La is to bind ; ni
means * along . And so we get the notion of
chain or series of antecedents. And that, in the
matter of living ascent or descent, is lineage.
1 Rhys Davids left the word untranslated.
xii EDITORIAL NOTE
The Nidana Katha, as forming a running
commentary on the Buddhavamsa (chronicle of
the Buddhas), itself a canonical book, is a later
comer into the Canon. In its treatment of the
Buddha-legend and the story of the life of the
very real founder had by that time become
legendary it occupies a midway house between
the biographical fragments in Vinaya and chief
Nikayas, and those later more highly embroidered
* lives of which there are not a few. The
nimbus and the rays and the beauty of the figure
have come in. But the narrative is still relatively
simple. The historical question of Jat^ka
literature may be followed up in Rhys Davids s
Buddhist India, 2nd ed., 1903, in Oldenberg s
The Akhyana Type and the Jatakas , Jl. Pali
Text Society, 1912, and in Dr. Winternitz s
art : Jataka, Ency. Religion and Ethics and his
Geschichte der Indischen Litter atur II, pt. 1, p. 89,
and 149, 1913.
The revising in this re-issue has been solely
of a number of small details in transliteration,
in closer accuracy of translation, and in dis
carding certain renderings in this, his earliest
published translation, which Rhys Davids had
in later works himself discarded.
C. A. F. RHYS DAVIDS.
IT is well known that amongst the Buddhist
Scriptures there is one book in which a large number
of old stories, fables, and fairy-tales lie enshrined in
an edifying commentary ; and have thus been pre
served for the study and amusement of later times.
How this came about is not at present quite certain.
The belief of orthodox Buddhists on the subject
is this : The Buddha, as occasion arose, was
accustomed throughout his long career to explain
and comment on the events happening around him
by telling of similar events that had occurred in his
own previous births. The experience, not of one life
time only, but of many lives, was always present to
his mind ; and it was this experience he so often used
to point a moral, or adorn a tale. The stories so told
are said to have been reverently learned and repeated
by his disciples ; and after his death 550 of them were
gathered together in one collection, called the Book
of the 550 Jatakas or Birthlets. The commentary to
these gives for each Jataka, or Birth Story, an account
of the event in Gotama s life which led to his first
telling that particular story. Both text and com
mentary were then handed down, in the Pali language
in which they were composed, to the time of the
Council of Patna (held in or about the year 250 B.C.) ;
BUDDHIST BIRTH STORIES
and they were carried in the following year to Ceylon
by the great missionary Mahinda, the son of Asoka.
There the commentary was written down in Singhalese,
the Aryan dialect spoken in Ceylon ; and was re
translated into its present form in the Pali language
in the fifth century of our era. But the text of the
Jataka stories themselves has been throughout
preserved in its original Pali form.
Unfortunately this orthodox Buddhist belief as to
the history of the Book of Birth Stories rests on a
foundation of quicksand. The Buddhist belief, that
most of their sacred books were in existence im
mediately after the Buddha s death, is not only
not supported, but is contradicted by the evidence of
those books themselves. It may be necessary to
state what that belief is, in order to show the im
portance which the Buddhists attach to the book ;
but in order to estimate the value we ourselves should
give it, it will be necessary by critical, and more
roundabout methods to endeavour to arrive at some
more reliable conclusion. Such an investigation
cannot, it is true, be completed until the whole series
of the Buddhist Birth Stories shall have become
accessible in the original Pali text, and the history of
those stories shall have been traced in other sources.
With the present inadequate information at our
command, it is only possible to arrive at probabilities.
But it is therefore the more fortunate that the course
of the inquiry will lead to some highly interesting
and instructive results.
In the first place, the fairy tales, parables, fables,
riddles, and comic and moral stories, of which the
Buddhist Collection known as the Jdtaka Book
consists, have been found, in many instances, to bear
a striking resemblance to similar ones current in the
West. Now in many instances this resemblance is
simply due to the fact that the Western stories were
borrowed from the Buddhist ones.
To this resemblance much of the interest excited
by the Buddhist Birth Stories is, very naturally, due.
As, therefore, the stories translated in the body of this
volume do not happen to contain among them any of
those most generally known in England, I insert here
one or two specimens which may at the same time
afford some amusement, and also enable the reader to
judge how far the alleged resemblances do actually
It is absolutely essential for the correctness of such
judgment that the stories should be presented exactly
as they stand in the original. I am aware that a close
and literal translation involves the disadvantage of
presenting the stories in a style which will probably
seem strange, and even wooden, to the modern reader.
But it cannot be admitted that, even for purposes of
comparison, it would be sufficient to reproduce the
stories in a modern form which should aim at com
bining substantial accuracy with a pleasing dress.
And the Book of Birth Stories has a value quite
independent of the fact that many of its tales have
been transplanted to the West. It contains a record
of the every-day life, and every-day thought, of the
people among whom the tales were told : it is the
BUDDHIST BIRTH STORIES
oldest, most complete, and most important collection of
The whole value of its evidence in this respect would
be lost, if a translator, by slight additions in some
places, slight omissions in others, and slight modifica
tions here and there, should run the risk of conveying
erroneous impressions of early Buddhist beliefs, and
habits, and modes of thought. It is important, there
fore, that the reader should understand, before
reading the stories I intend to give, that while trans
lating sentence by sentence, rather than word by
word, I have never lost sight of the importance of
retaining in the English version, as far as possible,
not only the phraseology, but the style and spirit of
the Buddhist story-teller.
The first specimen I propose to give is a half-moral
half -comic story, which runs as follows.
THE ASS IN THE LION S SKIN
(Fausboll, no. 189)
Once upon a time, while Brahma-datta was reigning
in Benares, the future Buddha was born one of a
peasant family ; and when he grew up, he gained his
living by tilling the ground.
At that time a hawker used to go from place to
place, trafficking in goods carried by an ass. Now at
each place he came to, when to took the pack down
from the ass s back he used to clothe him in a lion s
skin, and turn him loose in the rice and barley-fields,
and when the watchmen in the fields saw the ass, they
dared not go near him, taking him for a lion.
So one day the hawker stopped in a village ; and
whilst he was getting his own breakfast cooked, he
dressed the ass in a lion s skin, and turned him loose
in a barley-field. The watchmen in the field dared
not go up to him ; but going home, they published
the news. Then all the villagers came out with
weapons in their hands ; and blowing chanks, and
beating drums, they went near the field and shouted.
Terrified with the fear of death, the ass uttered a cry
the cry of an ass !
And when he knew him then to be an ass, the future
Buddha pronounced the First Stanza :
This is not a lion s roaring,
Nor a tiger s, nor a panther s ;
Dressed in a lion s skin,
Tis a wretched ass that roars ! "
But when the villagers knew the creature to be an
ass, they beat him till his bones broke ; and, carrying
off the lion s skin, went away. Then the hawker came,
and seeing the ass fallen into so bad a plight, pro
nounced the Second Stanza :
" Long might the ass,
Clad in a lion s skin,
Have fed on barley green.
But he brayed !
And that moment he came to ruin."
And even while he was yet speaking the ass died on
the spot !
This story will doubtless sound familiar enough to
English ears ; for a similar tale is found in our modern
BUDDHIST BIRTH STORIES
collections of so-called M sop s Fables. 1 Professor
Benfey has further traced it in mediaeval French,
German, Turkish, and Indian literature. 2 But it may
have been much older than any of these books ; for
the fable possibly gave rise to a proverb of which we
find traces among the Greeks as early as the time of
Plato. 3 Lucian gives the fable in full, localizing it
at Kume, in South Italy, 4 and Julien has given us a
Chinese version in his Avaddnas. 5 Erasmus, in his
work on proverbs, 6 alludes to the fable ; and so also
does our own Shakespeare in King John. 7 It is
worthy of mention that in one of the later story-books
in a Persian translation, that is, of the Hitopadesa
there is a version of our fable in which it is the vanity
of the ass in trying to sing which leads to his disguise
being discovered, and thus brings him to grief. 8 But
Professor Benfey has shown, 9 that this version is
simply the rolling into one of the present tale and of
1 James s ^Estop s Fables (London, Murray, 1852), p. Ill ;
La Fontaine, Book v, no. 21 ; ^Esop (Greek text, ed. Furia,
141, 262 ; ed. Corite, 113) ; Babrius (Lewis, vol. ii, p. 43).
2 Benfey s PancJia Tantra, Book iv, no. 7, in the note 011 which,
at vol. i, p. 462, he refers to Halm, p. 333 ; Robert, in the Fables
inedites du Moyen Age, vol. i, p. 360 ; and the Turkish Tutl-
namah (Rosen, vol. ii, p. 149). In India it is found also in the
Northern Buddhist Collection called Kathd Sarit Sagara, by
Somadeva ; and in Hitopadesa (iii, 2, Max Miiller, p. 110).
3 Kratylos, 411 (ed. Tauchnitz, ii, 275).
4 Lucian, Piscator, 32
5 Vol. ii, no. 91.
6 Adagia, under Asinus apud Cumanos.
7 Act ii, scene 1 ; and again, Act iii, scene 1.
8 De Sacy, Notes et Extraits, x, 1, 247.
9 loc. cit., p. 463.
another also widely prevalent, where an ass by trying
to sing earns for himself, not thanks, but blows. 1
I shall hereafter attempt to draw some conclusions
from the history of the story. But I would here point
out that the fable could scarcely have originated in
any country in which lions were not common ; and
that the Jataka story gives a reasonable explanation
of the ass being dressed in the skin, instead of saying
that he dressed himself in it, as is said in our Msop s
The reader will notice that the " moral " of the tale
is contained in two stanzas, one of which is put into
the mouth of the Bodisat or future Buddha. This
will be found to be the case in all the Birth Stories,
save that the number of the stanzas differs, and that
they are usually all spoken by the Bodisat. It should
also be noticed that the identification of the peasant s
son with the Bodisat, which is of so little importance
to the story, is the only part of it which is essentially
Buddhistic. Both these points will be of importance
The introduction of the human element takes this
story, perhaps, out of the class of fables in the most
exact sense of that word. I therefore add a story
containing a fable proper, where animals speak and
act like men.
1 Pancha Tantra, v, 7. Professor Weber (Indische Studien, iii,
352) compares Phsedrus (Dressier, A pp. vi. 2) and Erasmus s A dagia
under Asinus ad Lyrum. See also Tuti-ndmah (Bosen ii, 218) ;
and I would add Varro, in Aulus Gellius, iii, 16 ; and Jerome,
Ep. 27 : Ad Marcellam.
BUDDHIST BIRTH STORIES
THE TALKATIVE TORTOISE
(Fausboll, no. 215)
Once upon a time, when Brahma-datta was reigning
in Benares, the future Buddha was born in a minister s
family ; and when he grew up, he became the king s
adviser in things temporal and spiritual.
Now this king was very talkative : while he was
speaking, others had no opportunity for a word. And
the future Buddha, wanting to cure this talkativeness
of his, was constantly seeking for some meana of
At that time there was living, in a pond in the
Himalaya mountains, a tortoise. Two young hangsas
(i.e. wild ducks l ) who came to feed there, made
friends with him. And one day, when they had
become very intimate with him, they said to the
" Friend tortoise ! the place where we live, at the
Golden Cave on Mount Beautiful in the Himalaya
country, is a delightful spot. Will you come there
with us ? "
" But how can I get there ? "
" We can take you, if you can only hold your
tongue, and will say nothing to anybody." 2
1 Often rendered swan, a favourite bird in Indian tales, and
constantly represented in Buddhist carvings. It is the original
Golden Goose. See Jataka, no. 136.
2 There is an old story of a Fellow of Magdalen College, Oxford,
who inherited a family living. He went in great trouble to
Dr. Routh, the Head of his College, saying that he doubted
whether he could hold, at the same time, the Living and the
Fellowship. " You can hold anything," was the reply, " if you
can only hold your tongue." And he held all three.
" ! that I can do. Take me with you."
" That s right," said they. And making the
tortoise bite hold of a stick, they themselves took the
two ends in their teeth, and flew up into the air. 1
Seeing him thus carried by the hangsas, some
villagers called out, " Two wild ducks are carrying a
tortoise along on a stick ! " Whereupon the tortoise
wanted to say, " If my friends choose to carry me,
what is that to you, you wretched slaves ! " So just
as the swift flight of the wild ducks had brought him
over the king s palace in the city of Benares, he let
go of the stick he was biting, and falling in the open
courtyard, split in two ! And there arose a universal
cry : "A tortoise has fallen in the open courtyard,
and has split in two ! "
The king, taking the future Buddha, went to the
place, surrounded by his courtiers, and looking at the
tortoise, he asked the Bodisat : " Teacher ! how
comes he to be fallen here ? "
The future Buddha thought to himself : " Long
expecting, wishing to admonish the king, have I
sought for some means of doing so. This tortoise
must have made friends with the wild ducks ; and
they must have made him bite hold of the stick, and
have flown up into the air to take him to the hills.
But he, being unable to hold his tongue when he hears
any one else talk, must have wanted to say something,
and let go the stick ; and so must have fallen down
from the sky, and thus lost his life." And saying
" Truly, king ! those who are called chatter-boxes
people whose words have no end come to grief
like this," he uttered these verses :
1 In the Vinlla JdtaJca (no. 160) they similarly carry a crow to
the Himalaya mountains.
BUDDHIST BIRTH STORIES
" Verily the tortoise killed himself
Whilst uttering his voice ;
Though he was holding tight the stick,
By a word himself he slew.
" Behold him then, excellent by strength !
And speak wise words, not out of season.
You see how, by his talking overmuch,
The tortoise fell into this wretched plight ! "
The king saw that he was himself referred to, and
said : "0 Teacher ! are you speaking of us ? "
And the Bodisat spake openly, and said : " great
king ! be it thou, or be it any other, whoever talks
beyond measure meets with some mishap like this."
And the king henceforth refrained himself, and
became a man of few words.
This story too is found also in Greek, Latin, Arabic,
Persian, and in most European languages, 1 though,
strangely enough, it does not occur in our books of
M sop s Fables. But in the M sop s Fables is usually
included a story of a tortoise who asked an eagle to
teach him to fly ; and being dropped, split in two ! 2
1 Panca Tantra, vol. 1, p. 13, where Professor Benfey (i, 239-41)
traces also the later versions in different languages. He mentions
Wolff s German translation of the Kalilah and Dimnah, vol. i,
p. 91 ; Knatchbull s English version, p. 146 ; Simeon Seth s
Greek version, p. 28 ; John of Capua s Directorium Humance Vitce
1), 5 b ; the German translation of this last (Ulm, 1483), F. viii,
6 ; the Spanish translation, xix a ; Firenzuola, 65 ; Doni, 93 ;
Anvnr i Suhaili, p. 159 ; Le Lime des Lumieres (1664, 8vo), 124;
Le Cabinet des Fees, xvii, 309. See also Conies et Fables Indiennes
de Bidpai et de LoJcman, ii, 112 ; La Fontaine, x, 3 (where the
ducks fly to America !) ; and Bickell s Kalilag und Dimnag, p. 24.
In India it is found in Somadeva, and in the Hitopadesa, iv, 2
(Max Mtiller, p. 126). See also Julien, i, 71.
2 This version is found in Babrius (Lewis, i, 122) ; Pbcedrus,
ii, 7, and vii, 14 (Orelli, 55, 128) ; and in the ^sopsean collections
(Fur. 193 ; Corise, 61) and in Abstemius, 108.
It is worthy of notice that in the Southern recension
of the Panca Tantra it is eagles, and not wild ducks
or swans, who carry the tortoise ; x and there can,
I think, be little doubt that the two fables are
Another fable, very familiar to modern readers, is
stated in the commentary to have been first related in
ridicule of a kind of Mutual Admiration Society
existing among the opponents of the Buddha. Hear
ing the monks talking about the foolish way in which
Devadatta and Kokalika went about among the
people ascribing each to the other virtues which
neither possessed, he is said to have told this tale.
THE JACKAL AND THE CROW
(Fausboll, no. 294)
Long, long ago, when Brahma-datta was reigning
in Benares, the Bodisat had come to life as a tree-
fairy, dwelling in a certain grove of jambu- trees.
Now a crow was sitting there one day on the branch
of a jambu-tree, eating the jambu-fruits, when a
jackal coming by, looked up, and saw him.
" Ha ! " thought he. " I ll natter that fellow, and
get some of those j ambus to eat." And thereupon
he uttered this verse in his praise :
" Who may this be, whose rich and pleasant notes
Proclaim him best of all the singing-birds ?
Warbling so sweetly on the jambu-branch,
Where like a peacock he sits firm and grand ! "
1 Dubois, p. 109.
BUDDHIST BIRTH STORIES
Then the crow, to pay him back his compliments,
replied in this second verse :
" Tis a well-bred young gentleman, who understands
To speak of gentlemen in terms polite !
Good Sir ! whose shape and glossy coat reveal
The tiger s offspring eat of these, I pray ! "
And so saying, he shook the branch of the jambu-
tree till he made the fruit to fall.
But when the fairy who dwelt in that tree saw the
two of them, now they had done nattering one another,
eating the j ambus together, he uttered a third verse :
" Too long, forsooth, I ve borne the sight
Of these poor chatterers of lies
The refuse-eater and the offal-eater
Belauding each other ! "
And making himself visible in awful shape, he
frightened them away from the place !
It is easy to understand that, when this story had
been carried out of those countries where the crow and
the jackal are the common scavengers, it would lose
its point ; and it may very well, therefore, have been
shortened into the fable of the Fox and the Crow and
the piece of cheese. On the other hand, the latter is
so complete and excellent a story that it would
scarcely have been expanded, if it had been the
original, into the tale of the Jackal and the Crow. 1
The next tale to be quoted is one showing how a wise
1 See La Fontaine, Bk. i, no. 2, and the current collections of
Msop s Fables (e.g. James s ed., p. 136). It should be added that
the Jambukfiadaka-sangyutta in the Sangyutta Nikaya has nothing
to do with our fable. The j ambu-eater of that story is an ascetic,
who lives on j ambus, and is converted by a discussion on Nirvana.
man solves a difficulty. I give it from a Singhalese
version of the fourteenth century, which is nearer to the
Pali than any other as yet known. 1 It is an episode
in the long Jataka called
THE BIRTH AS "GREAT PHYSICIAN" 2
(Fausboll, no. 546)
A woman, carrying her child, went to the future
Buddha s tank to wash. And having first bathed the
child, she put on her upper garment and descended
into the water to bathe herself.
Then a Yakshini, 3 seeing the child, had a craving
to eat it. And taking the form of a woman, she drew
near, and asked the mother :
" Friend, this is a very pretty child, is it one of
yours ? "
And when she was told it was, she asked if she might
nurse it. And this being allowed, she nursed it a little,
and then carried it off.
But when the mother saw this, she ran after her,
and cried out : " Where are you taking my child to ? "
and caught hold of her.
1 The Singhalese text will be found in the Sidat Sangardtva,
2 Literally " the great medicine ". The Bodisat of that time
received this name because he was born with a powerful drug in
his hand an omen of the cleverness in device by which, when he
grew up, he delivered people from their misfortunes. Compare
my Buddhism, p. 187.
3 The Yakshas, products of witchcraft and cannibalism, are
beings of magical power, who feed on human flesh. The male
Yaksha occupies in Buddhist stories a position similar to that of
the wicked geni in the Arabian Nights ; the female Yakshini,
who occurs more frequently, usually plays the part of siren.
BUDDHIST BIRTH STORIES
The Yakshini boldly said ; " Where did you get the
child from ? It is mine ! " And so quarrelling, they
passed the door of the future Buddha s Judgment
He heard the noise, sent for them, inquired into the
matter, and asked them whether they would abide by
his decision. And they agreed. Then he had a line
drawn on the ground ; and told the Yakshini to take
hold of the child s arms, and the mother to take hold
of its legs ; and said : " The child shall be hers who
drags him over the line."
But as soon as they pulled at him, the mother,
seeing how he suffered, grieved as if her heart would
break. And letting him go, she stood there weeping.
Then the future Buddha asked the bystanders :
" Whose hearts are tender to babes ? those who have
borne children, or those who have not ? "
And they answered : "0 Sire ! the hearts of
mothers are tender."
Then he said : " Who, think you, is the mother ?
she who has the child in her arms, or she who has
let go ? "
And they answered : " She who has let go is the
And he said : " Then do you all think that the
other was the thief ? "
And they answered : " Sire ! we cannot tell."
And he said : " Verily this is a Yakshini, who took
the child to eat it."
And they asked : " Sire ! how did you know it ? "
And he replied : " Because her eyes winked not,
and were red, and she knew no fear, and had no pity,
I knew it."
And so saying, he demanded of the thief : " Who
are you ?
And she said : " Lord ! I am a Yakshini."
And he asked : " Why did you take away this
child 1 "
And she said : " I thought to eat him, my Lord ! "
And he rebuked her, saying : "0 foolish woman !
For your former sins you have been born a Yakshim,
and now do you still sin ! " And he laid a vow upon
her to keep the Five Commandments, and let her go.
But the mother of the child exalted the future
Buddha, and said : " my Lord ! Great Physician !
may thy life be long ! " And she went away, with
her babe clasped to her bosom.
The Hebrew story, in which a similar judgment is
ascribed to Solomon, occurs in the Book of Kings,
which is probably older than the time of Gotama.
We shall consider below what may be the connexion
between the two.
The next specimen is a tale about lifeless things
endowed with miraculous powers ; perhaps the oldest
tale in the world of that kind which has been yet
published. It is an episode in
SAKKA S PRESENTS
(Fausboll, no. 186)
Once upon a time, when Brahma-datta was reigning
in Benares, four brothers, Brahmans, of that kingdom,
devoted themselves to an ascetic life ; and having
built themselves huts at equal distances in the region
BUDDHIST BIRTH STORIES
of the Himalaya mountains, took up their residence
The eldest of them died, and was reborn as the god
Sakka. 1 When he became aware of this, he used to go
and render help at intervals every seven or eight days
to the others. And one day, having greeted the
eldest hermit, and sat down beside him, he asked him :
" Reverend Sir, what are you in need of ? "
The hermit, who suffered from jaundice, answered :
" I want fire ! " So he gave him a double-edged
But the hermit said : " Who is to take this, and
bring me firewood ? "
Then Sakka spake thus to him : " Whenever,
reverend Sir, you want firewood, you should let go
the hatchet from your hand and say : * Please fetch
me firewood : make me fire ! And it will do so."
So he gave him the hatchet ; and went to the
second hermit, and asked : " Reverend Sir, what are
you in need of ? "
Now the elephants had made a track for themselves
close to his hut. And he was annoyed by those
elephants, and said : "I am much troubled by
elephants ; drive them away."
Sakka, handing him a drum, said : " Reverend
Sir, if you strike on this side of it, your enemies will
take to flight ; but if you strike on this side, they will
1 Not quite the same as Jupiter. Sakka is a very harmless and
gentle kind of god, not a jealous god, nor given to lasciviousness or
spite. Neither is he immortal : he dies from time to time ; and,
if he has behaved well, is reborn under happy conditions. Mean
while somebody else, usually one of the sons of men who has
deserved it, succeeds, for a hundred thousand years or so, to his
name and place and glory. Sakka can call to mind his experiences
in his former birth, a gift in which he surpasses most other beings.
He was also given to a kind of practical joking, by which he
tempted people, and has become a mere beneficent fairy.
become friendly, and surround you on all sides with
an army in fourfold array." l
So lie gave him the drum ; and went to the third
hermit, and asked : " Keverend Sir, what are you in
need of ? "
He was also affected with jaundice, and said, there
fore : "I want sour milk."
Sakka gave him a milk-bowl, and said : "If you
wish for anything, and turn this bowl over, it will
become a great river, and pour out such a torrent,
that it will be able to take a kingdom, and give it to
And Sakka went away. But thenceforward the
hatchet made fire for the eldest hermit ; when the
second struck one side of his drum, the elephants ran
away ; and the third enjoyed his curds.
Now at that time a wild boar, straying in a forsaken
village, saw a gem of magical power. When he
seized this in his mouth, he rose by its magic into the
air, and went to an island in the midst of the ocean.
And thinking " Here now I ought to live ", he
descended, and took up his abode in a convenient
spot under an Udumbara-tree. And one day, placing
the gem before him, he fell asleep at the foot of the
Now a certain man of the land of Kasi had been
expelled from home by his parents, who said : " This
fellow is of no use to us." So he went to a seaport,
and embarked in a ship as a servant to the sailors.
And the ship was wrecked ; but by the help of a
plank he reached that very island. And while he was
looking about for fruits, he saw the boar asleep ; and
going softly up, he took hold of the gem.
1 That is, infantry, cavalry, chariots of war, and elephants of
war. Truly a useful kind of present to give to a pious hermit !
BUDDHIST BIRTH STORIES
Then by its magical power he straightway rose
right up into the air ! So, taking a seat on the
Udumbara-tree, he said to himself : " Methinks this
boar must have become a sky-walker through the
magic of this gem. That s how he got to be living here !
It s plain enough what I ought to do ; I ll first of all
kill and eat him, and then I can get away ! "
So he broke a twig off the tree, and dropped it on
his head. The boar woke up, and not seeing the gem,
ran about, trembling, this way and that way. The
man seated on the tree laughed. The boar, looking
up, saw him, and dashing his head against the tree,
died on the spot.
But the man descended, cooked his flesh, ate it, and
rose into the air. And as he was passing along the
summit of the Himalaya range, he saw a hermitage ;
and descending at the hut of the eldest hermit, he
stayed there two or three days, and waited on the
hermit ; and thus became aware of the magic power
of the hatchet.
" I must get that ", thought he. And he showed
the hermit the magic power of his gem, and said :
" Sir, do you take this, and give me your hatchet."
The ascetic, full of longing to be able to fly through the
air, 1 did so. But the man, taking the hatchet, went
a little way off, and letting it go, said : " hatchet !
cut off that hermit s head, and bring the gern to me ! "
And it went, and cut off the hermit s head, and
brought him the gem.
Then he put the hatchet in a secret place, and went
to the second hermit, and stayed there a few days.
1 The power of going through the air is usually considered in
Indian legends to be the result, and a proof, of great holiness, and
long-continued penance. So the hermit thought he would get
a fine reputation cheaply.
And having thus become aware of the magic power
of the drum, he exchanged the gem for the drum ;
and cut off his head too in the same way as before.
Then he went to the third hermit, and saw the
magic power of the milk-bowl ; and exchanging the
gem for it, caused his head to be cut off in the same
manner. And taking the gem, and the hatchet, and
the drum, and the milk-bowl, he flew away up into
Not far from the city of Benares he stopped, and
sent by the hand of a man a letter to the king of
Benares to this effect : " Either do battle, or give
me up your kingdom ! "
No sooner had he heard that message than the king
sallied forth, saying : " Let us catch the scoundrel ! "
But the man beat one side of his drum, and a four
fold army stood around him ! And directly he saw
that the king s army was drawn out in battle array,
he poured out his milk-bowl ; and a mighty river
arose, and the multitude, sinking down in it, were not
able to escape ! Then letting go the hatchet, he said :
" Bring me the king s head ! " And the hatchet
went, and brought the king s head, and threw it at
his feet ; and no one had time even to raise a weapon !
Then he entered the city in the midst of his great
army, and caused himself to be anointed king, under
the name of Dadhi-vahana (Bringer of Milk), and
governed the kingdom with righteousness. 1
The story goes on to relate how the king planted a
wonderful mango, how the sweetness of its fruit
turned to sourness through the too-close proximity
of bitter herbs (!), and how the Bodisat, then the king s
1 Compare Maha-bharata, xii, 1796.
BUDDHIST BIRTH STORIES
minister, pointed out that evil communications
corrupt good things. But it is the portion above trans
lated which deserves notice as the most ancient
example known of those tales in which inanimate
objects are endowed with magical powers ; and in
which the seven league boots, or the wishing cup,
or the vanishing hat, or the wonderful lamp, render
their fortunate possessors happy and glorious.
There is a very tragical story of a wishing cup in the
Buddhist Collection, 1 where the wishing cup, how
ever, is turned into ridicule. It is not unpleasant to
find that beliefs akin to, and perhaps the result of,
fetish-worship, had faded away, among Buddhist
story-tellers, into sources of innocent amusement.
In this curious tale the hatchet, the drum, and the
milk-bowl are endowed with qualities much more fit
for the use they were put to in the latter part of the
story, than to satisfy the wants of the hermits. It is
common ground with satirists how little, save sorrow,
men would gain if they could have anything they
chose to ask for. But, unlike the others we have
quoted, the tale in its present shape has a flavour dis
tinctively Buddhist in the irreverent way in which it
treats the great god Sakka, the Jupiter of the pre-
Buddhistic Hindus. It takes for granted too, that
the hero ruled in righteousness ; and this is as common
in the Jatakas as the lived happily ever after of
modern love stories.
This last idea recurs more strongly in the Birth
1 Fausboll, no. 291.
A LESSON FOR KINGS
(Fausboll, no. 151)
Once upon a time, when Bralimadatta was reigning
in Benares, the future Buddha returned to life in the
womb of his chief queen ; and after the conception
ceremony had been performed, he was safely born.
And when the day came for choosing a name, they
called him Prince Brahmadatta. He grew up in due
course ; and when he was sixteen years old, went to
Takkasila, 1 and became accomplished in all arts.
And after his father died he ascended the throne, and
ruled the kingdom with righteousness and equity.
He gave judgments without partiality, hatred,
ignorance, or fear. 2 Since he thus reigned with justice,
with justice also his ministers administered the law.
Lawsuits being thus decided with justice, there were
none who brought false cases. And as these ceased,
the noise and tumult of litigation ceased in the king s
court. Though the judges sat all day in the court,
they had to leave without any one coming for justice.
It came to this, that the Hall of Justice would have
to be closed !
Then the future Buddha thought : " From my
reigning with righteousness there are none who come
for judgment ; the bustle has ceased, and the Hall of
Justice will have to be closed. It behoves me, there
fore, now to examine into my own faults ; and if I
1 This is the well-known town in the Panjab, called by the
Greeks Taxila, and famed in Buddhist legend as the great
university of ancient India, as Nalanda was in later times.
2 Literally " without partiality and the rest ", that is, the rest
of the agatis, the actions forbidden to judges (and to kings as
BUDDHIST BIRTH STORIES
find that anything is wrong in me, to put that away,
and practise only virtue."
Thenceforth he sought for some one to tell him his
faults ; but among those around him he found no one
who would tell him of any fault, but heard only his
Then he thought : "It is from fear of me that these
men speak only good things, and not evil things," and
he sought among those people who lived outside the
palace. And finding no fault-finder there, he sought
among those who lived outside the city, in the
suburbs, at the four gates. 1 And there too finding
no one to find fault, and hearing only his own praise,
he determined to search the country places.
So he made over the kingdom to his ministers, and
mounted his chariot ; and taking only his charioteer,
left the city in disguise. And searching the country
through, up to the very boundary, he found no fault
finder, and heard only of his own virtue ; and so he
turned back from the outermost boundary, and
returned by the high road towards the city.
Now at that time the king of Kosala, Mallika by
name, was also ruling his kingdom with righteousness ;
and when seeking for some fault in himself, he also
found no fault-finder in the palace, but only heard of
his own virtue ! So seeking in country places, he too
came to that very spot. And these two came face
to face in a low cart-track with precipitous sides,
where there was no space for a chariot to get out of
the way !
Then the charioteer of Mallika the king said to the
charioteer of the king of Benares : " Take thy chariot
out of the way ! "
1 The gates opening towards the four " directions ", that is,
the four cardinal points of the compass.
But he said : " Take thy chariot out of the way,
charioteer ! In this chariot sitteth the lord over
the kingdom of Benares, the great king Brahma-
Yet the other replied : "In this chariot.
charioteer, sitteth the lord over the kingdom of
Kosala, the great king Mallika. Take thy carriage
out of the way, and make room for the chariot of our
king ! "
Then the charioteer of the king of Benares thought :
" They say then that he too is a king ! What is now
to be done ? " After some consideration, he said to
himself, " I know a way. I ll find out how old
he is, and then I ll let the chariot of the younger
be got out of the way, and so make room for the
And when he had arrived at that conclusion, he
asked that charioteer what the age of the king of
Kosala was. But on inquiry he found that the ages
of both were equal. Then he inquired about the
extent of his kingdom, and about his army, and his
wealth, and his renown, and about the country he
lived in, and his caste and tribe and family. And he
found that both were lords of a kingdom three hundred
leagues in extent ; and that in respect of army and
wealth and renown, and the countries in which they
lived, and their caste and their tribe and their family,
they were just on a par !
Then he thought : "I will make way for the most
righteous." And he asked : " What kind of righteous
ness has this king of yours ? "
And the other saying : " Such and such is
our king s righteousness", and so proclaiming his
king s wickedness as goodness, uttered the First
BUDDHIST BIRTH STORIES
The strong he overthrows by strength,
The mild by mildness, Mallika ;
The good by goodness he o ercomes,
The wicked by the wicked too.
Such is the nature of this king !
Move out of the way, charioteer !
But the charioteer of the king of Benares asked
him : " Well, have you told all the virtues of your
king ? "
" Yes ", said the other.
" If these are his virtues, where are then his faults ? "
The other said : " Well, for the nonce, they shall be
faults, if you like ! But pray, then, what is the kind of
goodness your king has ? "
And then the charioteer of the king of Benares
called unto him to hearken, and uttered the Second
Anger he conquers by not-anger,
By goodness he conquers what is not good ;
The stingy he conquers by giving gifts,
By truth he meets the speaker of lies.
Such is the nature of this king !
Move out of the way, charioteer ! "
And when he had thus spoken, both Mallika the
king and his charioteer alighted from their chariot.
And they took out the horses, and removed their
chariot, and made way for the king of Benares !
But the king of Benares exhorted Mallika the king,
saying : " Thus and thus is it right to do." And
returning to Benares, he practised charity, and did
other good deeds, and so when his life was ended he
passed away to heaven.
And Mallika the king took his exhortation to heart ;
and having in vain searched the country through for a
fault-finder, he too returned to his own city, and
practised charity and other good deeds ; and so at
the end of his life he went to heaven.
The mixture in this Jataka of earnestness with dry
humour is very instructive. The exaggeration in the
earlier part of the story ; the hint that law depends in
reality on false cases ; the suggestion that to decide
cases justly would by itself put an end not only to
" the block in the law courts ", but even to all law
suits ; the way in which it is brought about that two
mighty kings should meet, unattended, in a narrow
lane ; the cleverness of the first charioteer in getting
out of his difficulties ; the brand-new method of
settling the delicate question of precedence a method
which, logically carried out, would destroy the
necessity of such questions being raised at all ; all
this is the amusing side of the Jataka. It throws, and
is meant to throw, an air of unreality over the story ;
and it is none the less humour because it is left to be
inferred, because it is only an aroma which might
easily escape unnoticed, only the humour of naive
absurdity and of clever repartee.
But none the less also is the story-teller thoroughly
in earnest ; he really means that justice is noble, that
to conquer evil by good is the right thing, and that
goodness is the true measure of greatness. The
object is edification also, and not amusement only.
The lesson itself is quite Buddhistic. The first four
lines of the Second Moral are indeed included, as
BUDDHIST BIRTH STORIES
verse 223, in the Dhammapada or " Scripture Verses ",
perhaps the most sacred and most widely learnt book
of the Buddhist Bible ; and the distinction between
the two ideals of virtue is in harmony with all
Buddhist ethics. It is by no means, however,
exclusively Buddhistic. It gives expression to an
idea that would be consistent with most of the later
religions ; and is found also in the great Hindu Epic,
the Mahd Bhdrata, which has been called the Bible
of the Hindus. 1 It is true that further on in that poem
is found the opposite sentiment, attributed in our
story to the king of Mallika ; 2 and that the higher
teaching is in one of the latest portions of the Mahd
Bhdrata, and probably of Buddhist origin. But when
we find that the Buddhist principle of overcoming
evil by good was received, as well as its opposite, into
the Hindu poem, it is clear that this lofty doctrine
was by no means repugnant to the best among the
It is to be regretted that some writers on Buddhism
have been led away by their just admiration for the
noble teaching of Gotama into an unjust depreciation
of the religious system of which his own was, after
all, but the highest product and result. There were
1 Maha-Bharata, v, 1518. Another passage at iii, 13253, is
2 Maha-Bharata, xii,4052. See Dr. Muir s M etrical Translations
from Sanskrit Writers (1879), pp. xxxi, 88, 275, 356.
3 Similar passages will also be found in Lao Tse, Douglas s
Confucianism, etc., p. 197 ; PanchaTantra, i, 247 (277) = iv, 72 ;
in Stobaeus, quoted by Muir, p. 356 ; and in St. Matthew, v,
44-6 ; while the Mallika doctrine is inculcated by Confucius
(Legge, Chinese Classics, i, 152).
doubtless among the Brahmans uncompromising
advocates of the worst privileges of caste, of the most
debasing belief in the efficacy of rites and ceremonies ;
but this verse is only one among many others which
are incontestable evidence of the wide prevalence also
of a spirit of justice, and of an earnest seeking after
truth. It is, in fact, inaccurate to draw any hard-and-
fast line between the Indian Buddhists and their
countrymen of other faiths. After the first glow of
the Buddhist reformation had passed away, there
was probably as little difference between Buddhist
and Hindu as there was between the two kings in the
story which has just been told.
THE KALILAG AND DAMNAG LITERATURE
Among the other points of similarity between
Buddhists and Hindus, there is one which deserves
more especial mention here that of their liking for
the kind of moral-comic tales which form the bulk of
the Buddhist Birth Stories. That this partiality was
by no means confined to the Buddhists is apparent
from the fact that books of such tales have been
amongst the most favourite literature of the Hindus.
And this is the more interesting to us, as it is these
Hindu collections that have most nearly preserved
the form in which many of the Indian stories have been
carried to the West.
The oldest of the collections now extant is the one
already referred to, the PANCHA TANTRA, that is,
the Five Books , a kind of Hindu Pentateuch or Pen-
tamerone. In its earliest form this work is unfor-
BUDDHIST BIRTH STORIES
tunately no longer extant ; but in the sixth century
of our era a book very much like it formed part of a
work translated into Pahlavi, or Ancient Persian ;
and thence, about 750 A.D., into Syriac, under the
title of KALILAG AND DAMNAG, and into Arabic
under the title KALILAH AND DIMNAH. 1
These tales, though originally Buddhist, became
great favourites among the Arabs ; and as the Arabs
were gradually brought into contact with Europeans,
and penetrated into the South of Europe, they
brought the stories with them ; and we soon after
wards find them translated into Western tongues.
It would be impossible within the limits of this
preface to set out in full detail the intricate literary
history involved in this statement ; and while I must
refer the student to the Tables appended to this
Introduction for fuller information, I can only give
here a short summary of the principal facts.
It is curious to notice that it was the Jews to whom
we owe the earliest versions. Whilst their mercantile
pursuits took them much amongst the followers of
the Prophet, and the comparative nearness of their
religious beliefs led to a freer intercourse than was
usually possible between Christians and Moslems,
they were naturally attracted by a kind of literature
such as this Oriental in morality, amusing in style,
and perfectly free from Christian legend and from
Christian dogma. It was also the kind of literature
1 The names are corruptions of the Indian names of the two
jackals, Karatak and Damanak, who take a principal part in the
first of the fables.
which travellers would most easily become acquainted
with, and we need not therefore be surprised to hear
that a Jew, named Symeon Seth, about 1080 A.D.,
made the first translation into a European language,
viz. into modern Greek. Another Jew, about 1250,
made a translation of a slightly different recension of
the Kalilah and Dimnah into Hebrew ; and a third,
John of Capua, turned this Hebrew version into Latin
between 1263 and 1278. At about the same time
as the Hebrew version, another was made direct from
the Arabic into Spanish, and a fifth into Latin ; and
from these five versions translations were afterwards
made into German, Italian, French, and English.
The title of the second Latin version just mentioned
is very striking it is ".ZEsop the Old". To the
translator, Baldo, it evidently seemed quite in order
to ascribe these new stories to the traditional teller of
similar stories in ancient times ; just as witty sayings
of more modern times have been collected into books
ascribed to the once venerable Joe Miller. Baldo was
neither sufficiently enlightened to consider a good
story the worse for being an old one, nor sufficiently
scrupulous to hesitate at giving his new book the
advantage it would gain from its connexion with a
Is it true, then, that the so-called ^sop s Fables
so popular still, in spite of many rivals, among our
Western children are merely adaptations from tales
invented long ago to please and to instruct the child
like people of the East ? I think I can give an answer,
though not a complete answer, to the question,
BUDDHIST BIRTH STORIES
Msop himself is several times mentioned in classical
literature, and always as the teller of stories or fables.
Thus Plato says that Socrates in his imprisonment
occupied himself by turning the stories (literally
myths) of JEsop into verse : 1 Aristophanes four times
refers to his tales : 2 and Aristotle quotes in one form
a fable of his, which Lucian quotes in another. 3 In
accordance with these references, classical historians
fix the date of ^Esop in the sixth century B.C. ; 4 but
some modern critics, relying on the vagueness and
inconsistency of the traditions, have denied his
existence altogether. This is, perhaps, pushing
scepticism too far ; but it may be admitted that he
left no written works, and it is quite certain that if
he did, they have been irretrievably lost.
Notwithstanding this, a learned monk of Constan
tinople, named Planudes, and the author also of
numerous other works, did not hesitate, in the first
half of the fourteenth century, to write a work which
he called a collection of Msop s Fables. This was first
printed at Milan at the end of the fifteenth century ;
and two other supplementary collections have subse-
1 Phcedo, p. 61. Comp. Bentley, Dissertation on the Fables of
Mso<p, p. 136.
2 Vespce, 566, 1259, 1401 sqq. ; and Av&t, 651 sqq.
3 Arist., de part, anim., iii, 2 ; Lucian, Nigr., 32.
4 Herodotus (ii, 134) makes him contemporary with King Amasis
of Egypt, the beginning of whose reign is placed in 569 B.C. ;
Plutarch (Sept. Sap. Conv., 152) makes him contemporary with
Solon, who is reputed to have been born in 638 B.C. ; and Diogenes
Laertius (i, 72) says that he nourished about the fifty-second
Olympiad, i.e. 572-69 B.C. Compare Clinton, Fast. Hell., i, 237
(under the year B.C. 572), and i, 239 (under B.C. 534).
quently appeared. 1 From these, and especially from
the work of Planudes, all our so-called Msop s Fables
Whence then did Planudes and his fellow-labourers
draw their tales ? This cannot be completely answered
till the source of each one of them shall have been
clearly found, and this has not yet been completely
done. But Oriental and classical scholars have already
traced a goodly number of them ; and the general
results of their investigations may be shortly stated.
Babrius, a Greek poet, who probably lived in the
first century before Christ, wrote in verse a number of
fables, of which a few fragments were known in the
Middle Ages. 2 The complete work was fortunately
discovered by Mynas in the year 1824, at Mount
Athos ; and both Bentley and Tyrwhitt from the
fragments, and Sir George Cornewall Lewis in his
well-known edition of the whole work, have shown
that several of Planudes Fables are also to be found
in Babrius. 3
It is possible, also, that the ^Esopian fables of the
Latin poet Phsedrus, who in the title of his work calls
himself a freedman of Augustus, were known to
1 One at Heidelberg in 1610, and the other at Paris in 1810.
There is a complete edition of all these fables, 231 in number, by
T. Gl. Schneider, Breslau, 1812.
2 See the editions by De Furia, Florence, 1809 ; Schneider, in
an appendix to his edition of JEsop s Fables, Breslau, 1812 ;
Berger, Munchen, 1816; Knoch, Halle, 1835; and Lewis,
Philolog. Museum, 1832, i, 280-304.
3 Bentley, loc. cit. ; Tyrwhitt, De Babrio, etc., Lond., 1776.
The editions of the newly-found MS. are by Lachmann, 1 845 ;
Orelli and Baiter, 1845; G. C. Lewis, 1846; and Schneidewin,
BUDDHIST BIRTH STORIES
Planudes. But the work of Phsedrus, which is based
on that of Babrius, existed only in very rare MSS. till
the end of the sixteenth century, 1 and may therefore
have easily escaped the notice of Planudes.
On the other hand, we have seen that versions of
Buddhist Birth Stories, and other Indian tales, had
appeared in Europe before the time of Planudes in
Greek, Latin, Hebrew, and Spanish ; and many of
his stories have been clearly traced back to this
source. 2 Further, as I shall presently show, some of
the fables of Babrius and Phsedrus, found in Planudes,
were possibly derived by those authors from Buddhist
sources. And lastly, other versions of the Jatakas,
besides those which have been mentioned as coming
through the Arabs, had reached Europe long before
the time of Planudes ; and some more of his stories
have been traced back to Buddhist sources through
these channels also.
What is at present known, then, with respect to the
so-called Msop s Fables, amounts to this that none
of them are really ^Esopean at all ; that the collection
was first formed in the Middle Ages ; that a large
1 It was first edited by Pithou, in 1596 ; also by Orelli, Zurich,
1831. Comp. Oesterley, Phcedrus und die J3sop. Fabel im
2 By Silvestre de Sacy, in his edition of Kalilah and Dimnah,
Paris, 1816 ; Loiseleur Deslongchamps, in his Essai sur Us
Fables Indiennes, et sur leur Introd. en Europe, Paris, 1838 ;
Prof. Benfey, in his edition of the Panca Tantra, Leipzig, 1859 ;
Prof. Max Miiller, On the Migration of Fables, Contemporary
Review, July, 1870; Prof. Weber, Ueber den Zusammenhang
indischer Fabeln mit Griechischen, Indische Studien, iii, 337 sqq. ;
Adolf Wagener, Essai sur les rapports entre les apologues de rinde
et de la Grece, 1853 ; Otto Keller, Ueber die Geschichte der Grie-
cliischen Fabeln, 1862.
number of them have been already traced back, in
various ways, to our Buddhist Jataka Book ; and
that almost the whole of them are probably derived
in one way or another from Indian sources.
It is perhaps worthy of mention, as a fitting close to
the history of the so-called Msop s Fables, that those
of his stories which Planudes borrowed indirectly
from India have at length been restored to their
original home, and bid fair to be popular even in this
much-altered form. For not only has an Englishman
translated a few of them into several of the many
languages spoken in the great continent of India, 1
but Narayan Balkrishna Godpole, B.A., one of the
Masters of the Government High School at Ahmad-
nagar, has lately published a second edition of his
translation into Sanskrit of the common English
version of the successful spurious compilations of the
old monk of Constantinople !
THE BAELAAM AND JOSAPHAT
A complete answer to the question with which the
last digression started can only be given when each
one of the two hundred and thirty-one fables of
Planudes and his successors shall have been traced
back to its original author. But whatever that
complete answer may be the discoveries just pointed
1 J. Gilchrist, The Oriental Fabulist, or Polyglot Translations of
dZsop s and other Ancient Fables from the English Language into
Hindustani, Persian, Arabic, Bhakka, Bongla, Sanscrit, etc., in the
Roman Character, Calcutta, 1803.
BUDDHIST BIRTH STORIES
out are at least most strange and most instructive.
And yet, if I mistake not, the history of the Jataka
Book contains hidden amongst its details a fact
more unexpected and more striking still.
In the eighth century the Khalif of Bagdad was that
Almansur at whose court was written the Arabic book
Kalilah and Dimnah, afterwards translated by the
learned Jews I have mentioned into Hebrew, Latin,
and Greek. A Christian, high in office at his court, after
wards became a monk, and is well known, under the
name of St. John of Damascus, as the author in Greek
of many theological words in defence of the orthodox
faith. Among these is a religious romance called
Barlaam and Joasaph, giving the history of an Indian
prince who was converted by Barlaam and became a
hermit. This history, the reader will be surprised to
learn, is taken from the life of the Buddha ; and
Joasaph is merely the Buddha under another name,
the word Joasaph, or Josaphat, being simply a
corruption of the word Bodisat, that title of the future
Buddha so constantly repeated in the Buddhist
Birth Stories. 1 Now a life of the Buddha forms the
introduction to our Jataka Book, and St. John s
romance also contains a number of fables and stories,
most of which have been traced back to the same
1 Joasaph is in Arabic written also Yudasatf ; and this,
through a confusion between the Arabic letters Y and B, is for
Bodisat. See, for the history of these changes, Reinaud, Memotre
sur I lnde, 1849, p. 91 ; quoted with approbation by Weber,
Indische Streifen, iii, 57.
2 The Buddhist origin was first pointed out by Laboulaye in the
Dtbats, July, 1859 ; and more fully by Liebrecht, in the Jafirbuch
This book, the first religious romance published in
a Western language, became very popular indeed,
and, like the Arabic Kalilah and Dimnah, was trans
lated into many other European languages. It exists
in Latin, French, Italian, Spanish, German, English,
Swedish, and Dutch. This will show how widely it
was read, and how much its moral tone pleased the
taste of the Middle Ages. It was also translated as
early as 1204 into Icelandic, and has even been
published in the Spanish dialect used in the Philippine
Now it was a very ancient custom among Christians
to recite at the most sacred part of their most sacred
service (in the so-called Canon of the Mass, im
mediately before the consecration of the Host) the
names of deceased saints and martyrs. Religious
men of local celebrity were inserted for this purpose
in local lists, called Diptychs, and names universally
honoured throughout Christendom appeared in all
such catalogues. The confessors and martyrs so
honoured are now said to be canonized, that is, they
have become enrolled among the number of Christian
saints mentioned in the Canon , whom it is the
duty of every Catholic to revere, whose intercession
may be invoked, who may be chosen as patron saints,
filr romanische und englische Liter atur, 1860. See also Littre,
Journal des Savans, 1865, who fully discusses, and decides in
favour of the romance being really the work of St. John of
Damascus. I hope, in a future volume, to publish a complete
analysis of St. John s work ; pointing out the resemblances
between it and the Buddhist lives of Gotama, and giving parallel
passages wherever the Greek adopts not only the Buddhist
ideas, but also Buddhist expressions.
BUDDHIST BIRTH STORIES
and in whose honour images and altars and chapels
may be set up. 1
For a long time it was permitted to the local
ecclesiastics to continue the custom of inserting such
names in their Diptychs , but about 1170 a decretal
of Pope Alexander III confined the power of canoniza
tion, as far as the Roman Catholics were concerned, 2
to the Pope himself. From the different Diptychs
various martyrologies, or lists of persons so to be
commemorated in the * Canon , were composed to
supply the place of the merely local lists or Diptychs.
For, as time went on, it began to be considered more
and more improper to insert new names in so sacred
a part of the Church prayers ; and the old names
being well known, the Diptychs fell into disuse. The
names in the Martyrologies were at last no longer
inserted in the Canon, but are repeated in the service
called the Prime , though the term canonized
was still used of the holy men mentioned in them.
And when the increasing number of such Martyrologies
threatened to lead to confusion, and to throw doubt
on the exclusive power of the Popes to canonize,
Pope Sixtus the Fifth (1585-90) authorized a
particular Martyr ologium, drawn up by Cardinal
Baronius, to be used throughout the Western Church.
In that work are included not only the saints first
1 Pope Benedict XIV, in De servorum Dei beatificatione et
beatorum canonisatione, lib. i, cap. 45 ; Regnier, De ecclesid
Christi, in Migne s Theol. Curs. Com.pl., iv, 710.
2 Decret. Greg., lib. iii, tit. xlvi, confirmed and explained by
decrees of Urban VIII (13th March, 1625, and 5th July, 1634) and
of Alexander VII (1659).
canonized at Rome, but all those who, having been
already canonized elsewhere, were then acknowledged
by the Pope and the College of Rites to be saints of the
Catholic Church of Christ. Among such, under the
date of the 27th November, are included The holy
Saints Barlaam and Josaphat, of India, on the
borders of Persia, whose wonderful acts Saint John
of Damascus has described. 1
Where and when they were first canonized, I have
been unable, in spite of much investigation, to
ascertain. Petrus de Natalibus, who was Bishop of
Equilium, the modern Jesolo, near Venice, from 1370
to 1400, wrote a Martyr ology called Catalogus
Sanctorum ; and in it, among the * saints , he inserts
both Barlaam and Josaphat, giving also a short account
of them derived from the old Latin translation of
St. John of Damascus. 2 It is from this work that
Baronius, the compiler of the authorized Martyrology
now in use, took over the names of these two saints,
Barlaam and Josaphat. But, so far as I have been
able to ascertain, they do not occur in any martyr-
ologies or lists of saints of the Western Church older
than that of Petrus de Natalibus. 3
1 p. 177 of the edition of 1873, bearing the official approval of
Pope Pius IX, or p. 803 of the Cologne edition of 1610.
2 Cat. Sanct., Leyden ed. 1542, p. cliii.
3 The author added the following in his copy. They occur in
the works of Usnard, a Benedictine, who wrote about 875
(published by Greven in 1515, and by Molanus in 1568). In the
Month for 1881, p. 141, Father Coleridge, S.J., wrote that they
occur in a Slavonic calendar of the 15th century, preserved in the
Ecclesiastical Academy at Petrograd, and in several later Slavonic
martyrologies, but not in the Menologium drawn up by Cardinal
Girlet, from which the compilers of the Roman martyrology
BUDDHIST BIRTH STORIES
In the corresponding manual of worship still used
in the Greek Church, however, we find, under 26th
August, the name of the holy losaph, son of Abener,
king of India - 1 Barlaam is not mentioned, and is
not therefore recognized as a saint in the Greek
Church. No history is added to the simple statement
I have quoted ; and I do not know on what authority
it rests. But there is no doubt that it is in the East,
and probably among the records of the ancient church
of Syria, that a final solution of this question should
be sought. 2
Some of the more learned of the numerous writers
who translated or composed new works on the basis
of the story of Josaphat, have pointed out in their
notes that he had been canonized ; 3 and the hero of
the romance is usually called St. Josaphat in the titles
of these works, as will be seen from the Table of the
Josaphat literature below. But Professor Liebrecht,
when identifying Josaphat with the Buddha, took no
notice of this ; and it was Professor Max Miiller, who
has done so much to infuse the glow of life into the
dry bones of Oriental scholarship, who first pointed
out the strange fact almost incredible, were it not
drew their notices of the saints of the Greek church. This work
was published shortly before theirs. Coleridge says, that there
may have been such saints, and that the Buddhist story may have
been added to theirs, or derived from it. Editor.
1 p. 160 of the part for the month of August of the authorized
Mrjvalov of the Greek Church, published at Constantinople, 1843 :
" Tov oaiov /cuao-a^, vlov Afievrjp rov jSaatAeaj? rfjs TvSt a?."
2 For the information in the last three pages I am chiefly
indebted to my father, the Rev. T. W. Davids, without whose
generous aid I should not have attempted to touch this obscure
and difficult question.
3 See, for instance, Billius, and the Italian Editor, of 1734.
for the completeness of the proof that Gotama the
Buddha, under the name of St. Josaphat, is now
officially recognized and honoured and worshipped
throughout the whole of Catholic Christendom as a
Christian saint !
I have now followed the Western history of the
Buddhist Book of Birth Stories along two channels
only. Space would fail me, and the reader s patience
perhaps too, if I attempted to do more. But I may
mention that the inquiry is not by any means
exhausted. A learned Italian has proved that a good
many of the stories of the hero known throughout
Europe as Sinbad the Sailor are derived from the same
inexhaustible treasury of stories, witty and wise ; 1
and a similar remark applies also to other well-
known Tales included in the Arabian Nights. 2 La
Fontaine, whose charming versions of the Fables are
so deservedly admired, openly acknowledges his
indebtedness to the French versions of Kalilah and
Dimnah ; and Professor Benfey and others have
traced the same stories, or ideas drawn from them, to
Poggio, Boccaccio, Gower, Chaucer, Spenser, and
many other later writers. Thus, for instance, the
three caskets and the pound of flesh in The Merchant of
Venice } and the precious jewel which in As you Like It
the venomous toad wears in his head, 3 are derived
1 Comparetti, Eicerche intorne al Libra di Sindibad, Milano,
1869. Compare Landsberger, Die Fabeln des Sophos, Posen, 1859.
2 See Benfey, PantscTia Tantra, vol. i, Introduction, passim.
3 Act ii, so. 1. Prof. Benfey, in his Pantscha Tantra, i, 213-20,
has traced this idea far and wide. Dr. Dennys, in his Folklore of
China, gives the Chinese Buddhist version of it.
BUDDHIST BIRTH STORIES
from the Buddhist tales. In a similar way it has been
shown that tales current among the Hungarians and
the numerous peoples of Slavonic race have been
derived from Buddhist sources, through translations
made by or for the Huns, who penetrated in the
time of Genghis Khan into the East of Europe. 1 And
finally yet other Indian tales, not included in the
Kalilag and Damnag literature, have been brought
into the opposite corner of Europe, by the Arabs of
There is only one other point on which a few words
should be said. I have purposely chosen as specimens
one Buddhist Birth Story similar to the Judgment of
Solomon ; two which are found also in Babrius ; and
one which is found also in Phaedrus. How are these
similarities, on which the later history of Indian Fables
throws no light, to be explained ?
As regards the cases of Babrius and Phaedrus, it can
only be said that the Greeks who travelled with
Alexander to India may have taken the tales there,
1 See Benfey s Introduction to Panca Tantra, 36, 397, 1, 92,
166, 186. Ralston s translation of Tibetan stories throws further
light on this, at present, rather obscure subject.
2 See for example Jat. i, No. 30 : Munika- Jataka. Benfey
(Panca Tantra, p. 228 f.) has traced stories somewhat analogous
throughout European literature, but the Jataka itself is, he says,
found almost word for word in an unpublished Hebrew book by
Berachia ben Natronai, only that two donkeys take the place of
the two oxen. Berachia lived in the 12th-13th century, in
The story of the monkey and his heart, in Jataka ii, No. 208,
occurs in a Japanese version given in Andrew Lang s Violet
Fairy Book, p. 275, The Monkey and the Jellyfish, sea and
liver replacing Ganges and heart. Editor.
but they may equally well have brought them back.
We only know that at the end of the fourth, and still
more in the third century before Christ, there was
constant travelling to and fro between the Greek
dominions in the East and the adjoining parts of
India, which were then Buddhist, and that the Birth
Stories were already popular among the Buddhists in
Afghanistan, where the Greeks remained for a long
time. Indeed, the very region which became the seat
of the Groeco-Bactrian kings takes, in all the Northern
versions of the Birth Stories, the place occupied by
the country of Kasi in the Pali text so that the scene
of the tales is laid in that district. And among the
innumerable Buddhist remains still existing there,
a large number are connected with the Birth Stories. 1
It is also in this very district, and under the im
mediate successor of Alexander, that the original of
the Kalilah and Dimnah was said by its Arabian
translators to have been written by Bidpai. It is
possible that a smaller number of similar stories were
also current among the Greeks ; and that they not
only heard the Buddhist ones, but told their own.
But so far as the Greek and the Buddhist stories can
at present be compared, it seems to me that the
internal evidence is in favour of the Buddhist versions
being the originals from which the Greek versions
were adapted. Whether more than this can be at
present said is very doubtful : when the Jatakas are
1 The legend of Sumedha s self-abnegation (see below, p. 93)
is laid near Jelalabad ; and Mr. William Simpson has discovered
on the spot two bas-reliefs representing the principal incident in
BUDDHIST BIRTH STORIES
all published, and the similarities between them and
classical stories shall have been fully investigated,
the contents of the stories may enable criticism to
reach a more definite conclusion.
The case of Solomon s judgment is somewhat
different. If there were only one fable in Babrius or
Phsedrus identical with a Buddhist Birth Story, we
should suppose merely that the same idea had occurred
to two different minds : and there would thus be no
necessity to postulate any historical connexion. Now
the similarity of the two judgments stands, as far as
I know, in complete isolation ; and the story is not
so curious but that two writers may have hit upon the
same idea. At the same time it is just possible that
when the Jews were in Babylon they may have told,
or heard, the story.
Had we met with this story in a book unquestion
ably later than the Exile, we might suppose that they
heard the story there ; that some one repeating it has
ascribed the judgment to King Solomon, whose great
wisdom was a common tradition among them ; and
that it had thus been included in their history of that
king. But we find it in the Book of Kings, which is
usually assigned to the time of Jeremiah, who died
during the Exile ; and it should be remembered that
the chronicle in question was based for the most part
on traditions current much earlier among the Jewish
people, and probably on earlier documents.
If, on the other hand, they told it there, we may
expect to find some evidence of the fact in the details
of the story as preserved in the Buddhist story-books
current in the North of India, and more especially in
the Buddhist countries bordering on Persia. Now
Dr. Dennys, in his Folk-lore of China, has given us a
Chinese Buddhist version of a similar judgment,
which is most probably derived from a Northern
Buddhist Sanskrit original ; and though this version
is very late, and differs so much in its details from
those of both the Pali and Hebrew tales that it
affords no basis itself for argument, it yet holds out
the hope that we may discover further evidence of a
decisive character. This hope is confirmed by the
occurrence of a similar tale in the Gesta Romanorum,
a medieval work which quotes Barlaam and Josaphat,
and is otherwise largely indebted in an indirect way
to Buddhist sources. 1 It is true that the basis of the
judgment in that story is not the love of a mother to
her son, but the love of a son to his father. But that
very difference is encouraging. The orthodox com
pilers of the Gests of the Romans 2 dared not have so
twisted the sacred record. They could not therefore
have taken it from our Bible. Like all their other
tales, however, this one was borrowed from some
where ; and its history, when discovered, may be
expected to throw some light on this inquiry.
I should perhaps point out another way in which
this tale may possibly be supposed to have wandered
1 No. xlv, p. 80, of Swan and Hooper s popular edition ; no.
xlii, p. 167, of the critical edition published for the Early English
Text Society in 1879 by S. J. H. Heritage, who has added a
valuable historical note at p. 477.
2 This adaptation of the Latin title is worthy of notice. It of
course means " Deeds " ; but, as most of the stories are more or
less humorous, the word Gest, now spelt Jest, acquired its present
BUDDHIST BIRTH STORIES
from the Jews to the Buddhists, or from India to the
Jews. The land of Ophir was probably in India. The
Hebrew names of the apes and peacocks said to have
been brought thence by Solomon s coasting-vessels
are merely corruptions of Indian names ; and Ophir
must therefore have been either an Indian port (and
if so, almost certainly at the mouth of the Indus,
afterwards a Buddhist country) or an entrepot,
further west, for Indian trade. But the very gist of
the account of Solomon s expedition by sea is its
unprecedented and hazardous character ; it would
have been impossible even for him without the aid of
Phoenician sailors ; and it was not renewed by the
Hebrews till after the time when the account of the
judgment was recorded in the Book of Kings. Any
intercourse between his servants and the people of
Ophir must, from the difference of language, have been
of the most meagre extent ; and we may safely
conclude that it was not the means of the migration
of our tale. It is much more likely, if the Jews heard
or told the Indian story at all, and before the time of
the captivity, that the way of communication was
overland. There is every reason to believe that there
was a great and continual commercial intercourse
between East and West from very early times by way
of Palmyra and Mesopotamia. Though the inter
course by sea was not continued after Solomon s
time, gold of Ophir, 1 ivory, jade, and Eastern gems
still found their way to the West ; and it would be an
interesting task for an Assyrian or Hebrew scholar to
1 Psalm, xiv, 9 ; Isaiah xiii, 12 ; Job xxii, 24, xxviii, 16.
trace the evidence of this ancient overland route in
To sum up what can at present be said on the con
nexion between the Indian tales, preserved to us in
the Book of Buddhist Birth Stories, and their counter
parts in the West :
1. In a few isolated passages of Greek and other
writers, earlier than the invasion of India by
Alexander the Great, there are references to a
legendary ^Esop, and perhaps also allusions to stories
like some of the Buddhist ones.
2. After Alexander s time a number of tales also
found in the Buddhist collection became current in
Greece, and are preserved in the poetical versions of
Babrius and Phsedrus. They are probably of Buddhist
3. From the time of Babrius to the time of the first
Crusade no migration of Indian tales to Europe can
be proved to have taken place. About the latter
time a translation into Arabic of a Persian work
containing tales found in the Buddhist book was
translated by Jews into Greek, Hebrew, and Latin.
Translations of these versions afterwards appeared
in all the principal languages of Europe.
4. In the eleventh or twelfth century a translation
was made into Latin of the legend of Barlaam and
Josaphat, a Greek romance written in the eighth
century by St. John of Damascus on the basis of the
Buddhist Jataka book. Translations, poems, and
BUDDHIST BIRTH STORIES
plays founded on this work were rapidly produced
throughout Western Europe.
5. Other Buddhist stories not included in either of
the works mentioned in the two last paragraphs were
introduced into Europe both during the Crusades
and also during the dominion of the Arabs in Spain.
6. Versions of other Buddhist stories were intro
duced into Eastern Europe by the Huns under
7. The fables and stories introduced through these
various channels became very popular during the
Middle Ages, and were used as the subjects of
numerous sermons, story-books, romances, poems, and
edifying dramas. Thus extensively adopted and
circulated, they had a considerable influence on the
revival of literature, which, hand in hand with the
revival of learning, did so much to render possible
and to bring about the Great Reformation. The
character of the hero of them the Buddha, in his
last or in one or other of his supposed previous
births appealed so strongly to the sympathies, and
was so attractive to the minds of medieval Christians,
that he became, and has ever since remained, an
object of Christian worship. And a collection of these
and similar stories wrongly, but very naturally,
ascribed to a famous story-teller of the ancient
Greeks has become the common property, the house
hold literature, of all the nations of Europe ; and,
under the name of JEsop s Fables, has handed down,
as a first moral lesson-book and as a continual feast for
our children in the West, tales first invented to please
and to instruct our far-off cousins in the distant East.
ON THE HISTORY OF THE BIRTH STORIES
In the previous part of this Introduction I have
attempted to point out the resemblances between
certain Western tales and the Buddhist Birth Stories,
to explain the reason of those resemblances, and to
trace the history of the Birth Story literature in
Europe. Much remains yet to be done to complete
this interesting and instructive history ; but the
general results can already be stated with a consider
able degree of certainty, and the literature in which
further research will have to be made is accessible
in print in the public libraries of Europe.
For the history in India of the Jataka Book itself,
and of the stories it contains, so little has been done
that one may say it has still to be written ; and the
authorities for further research are only to be found
in manuscripts very rare in Europe, and written in
languages for the most part but little known. Much
of what follows is necessarily therefore very incomplete
In some portions of the Brahmanical literature,
later than the Vedas, and probably older than
Buddhism, there are found myths and legends of a
character somewhat similar to a few of the Buddhist
ones. But, so far as I know, no one of these has been
traced either in Europe or in the Buddhist Collection,
BUDDHIST BIRTH STORIES
On the other hand, there ivS every reason to hope
that in the older portions of the Buddhist Scriptures
a considerable number of the tales also included in the
Jdtaka Book will be found in identical or similar
forms ; for even in the few fragments of the Pitakas
as yet studied, several Birth Stories have already
been discovered. 1 These occur in isolated passages,
and, except the story of King Maha Sudassana and
that in Anguttara, i, p. Ill, have not as yet become
Jatakas that is, no character in the story is identified
with the Buddha in one or other of his supposed
previous births. But one book included in the Pali
Pitakas consists entirely of real Jataka stories, all
of which are found in our Collection.
The title of this work is Cariyd-pitaka ; and it is
constructed to show when, and in what births,
Grotama had acquired the Ten Great Perfections
(Generosity, Goodness, Kenunciation, Wisdom, Firm
ness, Patience, Truth, Resolution, Kindness, and
1 Thus, for instance, the Marii Kantha Jdtaka (Fausboll,
no. 253) is taken from a story which is in both the Pali and the
Chinese versions of the Vinaya Pitaka (Oldenberg, p. xlvi) ; the
Tittira Jdtaka (Fausboll, no. 37, translated below) occurs almost
word for word in the Culla Vagga (vi, 6, 3-5) ; the Khandhavatta
Jdtaka (Fausboll, no. 203) is a slightly enlarged version of Culla
Vagga, v. 6 ; the Sukhavihdri Jdtaka (Fausboll, no. 10, trans
lated below) is founded on a story in the Culla Vagga (vii, 1, 4-6) ;
the Mahd-sudassana Jdtaka (Fausboll, no. 95) is derived from the
Sutta of the same name in the Digha Nikdya (translated by me in
Sacred Books of the East , vol. xi) ; the Makhd Deva Jdtaka
(Fausboll, no. 9, translated below) from the Sutta of the same
name in the Majjhima Nikdya (no. 83) ; and the Sakunagghi
Jdtaka (Fausboll, no. 168) from a parable in the Satipatthdna
Vagga of the Sanyutta Nikaya.
Compare the writer s Buddhist India, ch. xi, Lond. 1903, for an
enlarged restatement of the views here briefly put forward.
Equanimity), without which he could not have
become a Buddha. In striking analogy with the
modern view, that true growth in moral and intel
lectual power is the result of the labours, not of one
only, but of many successive generations, so the
qualifications necessary for the making of a Buddha,
like the characters of all the lesser mortals, cannot
be acquired during, and do not depend upon the
actions of, one life only, but are the last result of
many deeds performed through a long series of con
secutive lives. 1
To each of the first two of these Ten Perfections a
whole chapter of this work is devoted, giving, in verse,
ten examples of the previous births in which the
Bodisat or future Buddha had practised Generosity and
Goodness respectively. The third chapter gives only
fifteen examples of the lives in which he acquired the
other eight of the Perfections. It looks very much as if
the original plan of the unknown author had been to
give ten Birth Stories for each of the Ten Perfections.
And, curiously enough, the Northern Buddhists have
a tradition that the celebrated teacher Asvagosha
began to write a work giving ten Births for each of the
Ten Perfections, but died when he had versified only
thirty-four. 2 Now there is a Sanskrit work called
Jataka Mala, as yet unpublished, 3 but of which there
are several MSS. in Paris and in London, consisting
1 See on this belief below, pp. 141-4, where the verses 259-69
are quotations from the Chariya-Pitaka.
2 Taranatha s Geschichte des Buddhismus (a Tibetan work of the
eighteenth century, translated into German by Schiefner), p. 92.
3 Since edited by E. Kern, Harvard Or. Series, i, 1891.
Translation by J. S. Speyer, 8. Bks. of the Buddhists, i, 1895. Ed.
BUDDHIST BIRTH STORIES
of thirty-five Birth Stories in mixed prose and verse,
in illustration of the Ten Perfections. 1 It would be
premature to attempt to draw any conclusions from
these coincidences, but the curious reader will find
in a Table below a comparative view of the titles of
the Jatakas comprised in the Chariya Pitaka and in
the Jataka Mala. 2
There is yet another work in the Pali Pitakas
which constantly refers to the Jataka theory. The
BUDDHA VAMSA, 3 which is a history of all the Buddhas,
gives an account also of the life of the Bodisat in the
character he filled during the lifetime of each of
twenty-four of the previous Buddhas. It is on that
work that a great part of the Pali Introduction to
our Jataka Book is based, and most of the verses in
the first fifty pages of the present translation are
quotations from the Buddha vamsa. From this
source we thus have authority for twenty-four Birth
Stories, corresponding to the last twenty-four of
the twenty-seven previous Buddhas, 4 besides the
thirty-four in illustration of the Perfections, and the
other isolated ones I have mentioned.
Beyond this it is impossible yet to state what
proportion of the stories in the Jataka Book can thus
be traced back to the earlier Pali Buddhist literature ;
and it would be out of place to enter here upon any
1 Fausboll s Five Jatakas, pp. 58-68, where the full text of one
Jataka is given and Leon Feer, Etude sur les Jatakas, p. 57.
2 See p. 53.
3 The Pali Text Society published an edition by Rd. Morris,
4 See the list of the Buddhas below, p. 138, where it will be
seen that for the first three Buddhas we have no Birth Story.
lengthy discussion of the difficult question as to the
date of those earlier records. The provisional con
clusions as to the age of the Sutta and Vinaya reached
by Dr. Oldenberg in the very able introduction
prefixed to his edition of the text of the Mahd Vagga,
and summarized at p. xxxviii of that work, will be
sufficient for our present purposes. It may be taken
as so highly probable as to be almost certain, that all
those Birth Stories which are not only found in the
so-called Jdtaka Book itself, but are also referred to in
these other parts of the Pali Pitakas, are at least
older than the Council of Vesali. 1
The Council of Vesali was held about a hundred
years after Gotama s death, to settle certain disputes
as to points of discipline and practice which had arisen
among the members of the Order. The exact date
of Gotama s death is uncertain ; 2 and in the tradi
tion regarding the length of the interval between that
event and the Council, the " hundred years " is of
course a round number. But we can allow for all
possibilities, and still keep within the bounds of
certainty, if we fix the date of the Council of Vesali
at within thirty years of 350 B.C.
1 This will hold good though the Buddhavarjisa and the Chariya
Pitaka should turn out to be later than most of the other books
contained in the Three Pali Pitakas. That the stories they contain
have already become Jatakas, whereas in most of the other cases
above quoted the stories are still only parables, would seem to lead
to this conclusion ; and the fact that they have preserved some very
ancient forms (such as locatives in i) may merely be due to the
fact that they are older, not in matter and ideas, but only in
form. Compare what is said below as to the verses in the Birth
2 The question is discussed at length in my Ancient Coins and
Measures of Ceylon in Numismata Orientalia, vol. i.
BUDDHIST BIRTH STORIES
The members of the Buddhist Order of Mendicant
Monks were divided at that Council as important
for the history of Buddhism as the Council of Nice
is for the history of Christianity into two parties.
One side advocated the relaxation of the rules of the
Order in ten particular matters, the others adopted
the stricter view. In the accounts of the matter,
which we at present only possess from the successors
of the stricter party (or, as they call themselves, the
orthodox party), it is acknowledged that the other,
the laxer side, were in the majority ; and that when
the older and more influential members of the Order
decided in favour of the orthodox view, the others
held a council of the^.r own, called, from the numbers
of those who attended it, the Great Council.
Now the oldest Ceylon Chronicle, the Dipavamsa,
which contains the only account as yet published of
what occurred at the Great Council, says as follows : l
" The monks of the Great Council turned the religion
upside down ;
They broke up the original Scriptures, and made a
new recension :
A discourse put in one place they put in another ;
They distorted the sense and the teaching of the Five
Those monks knowing not what had been spoken at
length, and what concisely,
What was the obvious, and what was the higher
1 Dipavamsa, v, 32 sqq.
Attached new meaning to new words, as if spoken by
And destroyed much of the spirit by holding to the
shadow of the letter.
In part they cast aside the Sutta and the Vinaya so
And made an imitation Sutta and Vinaya, changing
this to that.
The Pariwara abstract, and the Six Books of Abhi-
The Patisambhida, the Niddesa, and a portion of the
So much they put aside, and made others in their
place ! " . . .
The animus of this description is sufficiently
evident ; and the Dlpavanisa. which cannot have been
written earlier than the fourth century after the
commencement of our era, is but poor evidence of
the events of seven centuries before. But it is the
best we have ; it is acknowledged to have been based
on earlier sources, and it is at least reliable that,
according to Ceylon tradition, a book called the
Jataka existed at the time of the Councils of Vesali.
As the Northern Buddhists are the successors of
those who held the Great Council, we may hope before
long to have the account of it from the other side,
either from the Sanskrit or from the Chinese. 1 Mean-
1 There are several works enumerated by Beal in his Catalogue of
Chinese Buddhistic Works in the India Office Library (see especially
pp. 93-7, and pp. 107-9), from which we might expect to derive
BUDDHIST BIRTH STORIES
while it is important to notice that the fact of a Book
of Birth Stories having existed at a very early date is
confirmed, not only by such stories being found in
other parts of the Pali Pitakas, but also by ancient
Among the most interesting and important dis
coveries which we owe to recent archaeological
researches in India must undoubtedly be reckoned
those of the Buddhist carvings on the railings round
the dome-shaped relic shrines of Sanchi, Amaravati,
and Bharhut. There have been there found, very
boldly and clearly sculptured in deep bas-relief,
figures which were at first thought to represent
merely scenes in Indian life. Even so their value as
records of ancient civilization would have been of
incalculable value ; but they have acquired further
importance since it has been proved that most of
them are illustrations of the sacred Birth Stories in
the Buddhist Jataka book are scenes, that is, from
the life of Gotama in his last or previous births. This
would be incontestable in many cases from the
carvings themselves, but it is rendered doubly sure
by the titles of Jatakas having been found inscribed
over a number of those of the bas-reliefs which have
been last discovered the carvings, namely, on the
railing at Bharhut.
It is not necessary to turn aside here to examine
into the details of these discoveries. It is sufficient
for our present inquiry into the age of the Jataka
stories that these ancient bas-reliefs afford indis
putable evidence that the Birth Stories were already,
at the end of the third century B.C., considered so
sacred that they were chosen as the subjects to be
represented round the most sacred Buddhist buildings,
and that they were already popularly known under
the technical name of " Jatakas ". A detailed state
ment of all the Jatakas hitherto discovered on these
Buddhist railings, and other places, will be found in
one of the Tables appended to this Introduction ;
and it will be noticed that several of those tales
translated below in this volume had thus been chosen,
more than two thousand years ago, to fill places of
honour round the relic shrines of the Great Teacher.
One remarkable fact apparent from that Table will
be that the Birth Stories are sometimes called in the
inscriptions over the bas-reliefs by names different
from those given to them in the Jdtaka Book in the
Pali Pitakas. This would seeem, at first sight, to
show that, although the very stories as we have them
must have been known at the time when the bas-
reliefs were carved, yet the present collection, in
which different names are clearly given at the end of
each story, did not then exist. But, on the other hand,
we not only find in the Jataka Book itself very great
uncertainty as to the names the same stories being
called in different parts of the Book by different titles 1
1 Thus no. 41 is called both Losaka Jdtaka and Mitta-vindaka
Jataka (Feer, Etude sur les Jatakas, p. 121) ; no. 439 is called
Catudvdra Jataka and also Mitta-vindaka Jataka (ibid. p. 120) ;
no. 57 is called Vdnarinda Jataka and also Kumbldla Jataka
(Fausboll, vol. i, p. 278, and vol. ii, p. 206) ; no. 96 is called
Telapatta Jdtaka and also Takkasild Jdtaka (ibid. vol. i, p. 393,
and vol. i, pp. 469, 470) ; no. 102, there called Pat,rtika Jdtaka,
is the same story as no. 217, there called Seggu Jdtaka ; no. 30,
BUDDHIST BIRTH STORIES
but one of these very bas-reliefs has actually
inscribed over it two distinct names in full ! l
The reason for this is very plain. When a fable
about a lion and a jackal was told (as in no. 157) to
show the advantage of a good character, and it was
necessary to choose a short title for it, it was called
" The Lion Jataka ", or " The Jackal Jataka ", or
even " The Good Character Jataka " ; and when a
fable was told about a tortoise, to show the evil
results which follow on talkativeness (as in no. 215),
the fable might as well be called " The Chatterbox
Jataka " as " The Tortoise Jataka ", and the fable is
referred to accordingly under both those names. It
must always have been difficult, if not impossible, to
fix upon a short title which should at once characterize
the lesson to be taught, and the personages through
whose acts it was taught ; and different names would
thus arise, and become interchangeable. It would be
wrong therefore to attach too much importance to the
difference of the names on the bas-reliefs and in the
Jataka Book. And in translating the titles we need
not be afraid to allow ourselves a latitude similar to
that which was indulged in by the early Buddhists
There is yet further evidence confirmatory of the
Dlpavamsa tradition. The Buddhist Scriptures are
there called Munika Jataka, is the same story as no. 286, there
called Sdluka Jataka; no. 215, the Kacchapa Jataka, is called
Bahu-Bhani Jataka in the Dhammapada (p. 419) ; and no. 157 is
called Guna Jataka, Siha Jataka, and Sigala Jataka.
1 Cunningham, The Stupa of Bharhut, pi. xlvii. The carving
illustrates a fable of a cat and a cock, and is labelled both Bidala
Jataka and Kukkuta Jataka (Cat and Cock Jataka, no. 383).
sometimes spoken of as consisting of nine different
divisions, or sorts of texts (Angdni), of which the
seventh is JdtaJcas, or The Jdtaka Collection (Jdtakam).
This division of the Sacred Books is mentioned, not
only in the Dipavamsa itself, and in the Sumangala
Vildsim, but also in the Anguttara Nikdya (one of
the later works included in the Pali Pitakas), and in
the Saddharma Pundarika (a late, but standard
Sanskrit work of the Northern Buddhists). 1 It is
common, therefore, to both of the two sections of the
Buddhist Church ; and it follows that it was probably
in use before the great schism took place between
them, possibly before the Council of Vesali itself.
In any case it is conclusive as to the existence of a
collection of Jatakas at a very early date.
The text of the Jdtaka Book, as now received among
the Southern Buddhists, consists, as will be seen from
the translation, not only of the stories, but of an
elaborate commentary, containing a detailed Explana
tion of the verse or verses which occur in each of the
stories ; an Introduction to each of them, giving the
occasion on which it is said to have been told ; a
Conclusion, explaining the connexion between the
personages in the Introductory Story and the
characters in the Birth Story ; and finally, a long
general Introduction to the whole work. It is, in
fact, an edition by a later hand of the earlier stories ;
and though I have called it concisely the Jdtaka Book,
its full title is The Commentary on the Jatakas.
1 See the authorities quoted in my manual, Buddhism, pp. 214,
215 ; and Dr. Morris, in The Academy for May, 1880.
BUDDHIST BIRTH STORIES
We do not know either the name of the author of
this work, or the date when it was composed. The
meagre account given at the commencement of the
work itself (below, p. 81) contains all our present
information on these points. Childers, who is the
translator of this passage (below, p. Ixxix), has
elsewhere ascribed the work to Buddhaghosa x ; but
I venture to think that this is, to say the least, very
We have, in the thirty-seventh chapter of the
Mahavamsa, 2 a perhaps almost contemporaneous
account of Buddhaghosa s literary work ; and it is
there distinctly stated, that after writing in India the
Atihasalirii (a commentary on the Dhammasangam,
the first of the Six Books of the Abhidhamma PilaJca), he
went to Ceylon (about 430 A.D.) with the express
intention of translating the Singhalese commentaries
into Pali. There he studied under the Thera San-
ghapali, and having proved his efficiency by his great
work The Path of Purity (Visuddhi-Magga, a com
pendium of doctrine), he was allowed by the monks
in Ceylon to carry out his wish, and translate the
commentaries. The Chronicle then goes on to say
that he did render " the whole Singhalese Com
mentary " into Pali. But it by no means follows, as
has been too generally supposed, that he was the
author of all the Pali Commentaries we now possess.
He translated, it may be granted, the Commentaries
on the Vinaya PitaJca and on the four great divisions
(Nikayas) of the Sutta Pitaka ; but these works,
1 In his Pali Dictionary, Preface, p. ix, note.
2 Tumour, pp. 250-3.
together with those mentioned above, would amply
justify the very general expression of the chronicler.
The Singhalese Commentary being now lost, it is
impossible to say what books were and what were not
included under that expression as used in the
Mahdvamsa ; and to assign any Pali commentary,
other than those just mentioned, to Buddhaghosa,
some further evidence more clear than the ambiguous
words of the Ceylon Chronicle should be required.
What little evidence we have as regards the
particular work now in question seems to me to tend
very strongly in the other direction. Buddhaghosa
could scarcely have commenced his labours on the
Jataka Commentary, leaving the works I have men
tioned so much more important from his point of
view undone. Now I would ask the reader to
imagine himself in Buddhaghosa s position, and then
to read carefully the opening words of our Jataka
Commentary as translated below, and to judge for
himself whether they could possibly be such words
as Buddhaghosa would probably, under the circum
stances, have written. It is a matter of feeling ; but
I confess I cannot think it possible that he was the
author of them. Three Elders of the Buddhist Order
are there mentioned with respect, but neither the
name of Kevata, Buddhaghosa s teacher in India, nor
the name of Sanghapali, his teacher in Ceylon, is even
referred to ; and there is not the slightest allusion
either to Buddhaghosa s conversion, his journey from
India, the high hopes he had entertained, or the work
he had already accomplished ! This silence seems to
BUDDHIST BIRTH STORIES
me almost as convincing as such negative evidence
can possibly be.
If not, however, by Buddhaghosa, the work must
have been composed after his time ; but probably
not long after. It is quite clear from the account in
the Mahdvamsa, ih&t before he came to Ceylon, the
Singhalese commentaries had not been turned into
Pali ; and on the other hand, the example he had set
so well will almost certainly have been quickly
followed. We know one instance at least, that of the
Mahdvamsa itself, which would confirm this supposi
tion ; and had the present work been much later
than his time, it would not have been ascribed to
Buddhaghosa at all.
It is worthy of notice, perhaps, in this connexion,
that the Pali work is not a translation of the Sin
ghalese Commentary. The author three times refers
to a previous Jdtaka Commentary, which possibly
formed part of the Singhalese w r ork, as a separate
book ; l and in one case mentions what it says only
to overrule it. 2 Our Pali work may have been based
upon it, but cannot be said to be a mere version of it.
And the present Commentary agrees almost word for
word, from p. 58 to p. 124 of my translation, with
the MadJmra-attha-vildsim, the Commentary on the
Buddhavamsa mentioned above, which is not usually
ascribed to Buddhaghosa. 3
1 Fausboll, vol. i, p. 62 and p. 488 ; vol. ii, p. 224.
2 See the translation below.
3 I judge from Tumour s analysis of that work in the Journal of
the Bengal Asiatic Society, 1839, where some long extracts have
been translated and the contents of other passages given in
The Jdtaka Book is not the only Pali Commentary
which has made use of the ancient Birth Stories.
They occur in numerous passages of the different
exegetical works composed in Ceylon, and the only
commentary of which anything is known in print,
that on the Dhammapada or Collection of Scripture
Verses, contains a considerable number of them.
Mr. Fausboll has published copious extracts from this
Commentary, which may be by Buddhaghosa, as an
appendix to his edition of the text ; and the work
by Captian Kogers, entitled Buddhaghosa s Parables
a translation from a Burmese book called Dhamma-
pada-vatthu (that is " Stories connected with the
Dhammapada ") consists almost entirely of Jataka
In Siam there is even a rival collection of Birth
Stories which is called Panndsa-Jdtakan (The Fifty
Jdtakas), and of which an account has been given us
by Leon Feer ; l and the same scholar has pointed
out that isolated stories, not contained in our collec
tion, are also to be found in the Pali literature of that
country. 2 The first hundred and fifty tales in our
collection are divided into three Panndsas, or fifties ; 3
but the Siamese collection cannot be either of these,
1 Etude sur les Jdtakas, pp. 62-5.
2 Ibid., pp. 66-71.
3 This is clear from vol. i, p. 410 of Fausboll s text, where, at
the end of the 100th tale, we find the words Majjhima-pannasako
nitthito, that is " End of the Middle Fifty ". At the end of the
60th tale (p. 261) there is a corresponding entry, Pathamo panndso,
" First Fifty " ; and though there is no such entry at the end of
the 150th tale, the expression " Middle Fifty " shows that there
must have been, at one time, such a division as is above stated.
BUDDHIST BIRTH STORIES
as M. Feer has ascertained that it contains no tales
beginning in the same way as any of those in either
of these " Fifties ".
In India itself the Birth Stories survived the fall,
as some of them had probably preceded the rise, of
Buddhism. Not a few of them were preserved by
being included in the Mahci Bharata, the great Hindu
epic which became the storehouse of Indian myth
ology, philosophy, and folk-lore. Unfortunately
the date of the final arrangement of the Mahci
Bharata is extremely uncertain, and there is no further
evidence of the continued existence of the Jataka
tales till we come to the time of the work already
frequently referred to the Pancha Tantra.
It is to the history of this book that Benfey has
devoted that elaborate and learned Introduction
which is the most important contribution to the
study of this class of literature as yet published ; and
I cannot do better than give in his own words his
final conclusions as to the origin of this popular
story-book x :
" Although we are unable at present to give any
certain information either as to the author or as to the
date of the work, we receive, as it seems to me, no
unimportant compensation in the fact, that it turned
out, 2 with a certainty beyond doubt, to have been
originally a Buddhist book. This followed especially
from the chapter discussed in 225. But it was
1 Pantscha Tantra, Theodor Benfey, Leipzig, 1859, p. xi.
2 That is, in the course of Benfey s researches.
already indicated by the considerable number of the
fables and tales contained in the work, which could
also be traced in Buddhist writings. Their number,
and also the relation between the form in which they
are told in our work, and that in which they appear
in the Buddhist writings, incline us nay, drive us
to the conclusion that the latter were the source from
which our work, within the circle of Buddhist
literature, proceeded. . . .
" The proof that our work is of Buddhist origin is
of importance in two ways : firstly on which we will
not here further insistfor the history of the work
itself ; and secondly, for the determination of what
Buddhism is. We can find in it one more proof of
that literary activity of Buddhism, to which, in my
articles on India , which appeared in 1840, 1 I had
already felt myself compelled to assign the most
important place in the enlightenment and general
intellectual development of India. This view has
since received, from year to year, fresh confirmations,
which I hope to bring together in another place ;
and whereby I hope to prove that the very bloom of
the intellectual life of India (whether it found expres
sion in Brahmanical or Buddhist works) proceeded
substantially from Buddhism, and is contemporaneous
with the epoch in which Buddhism flourished ;
that is to say, from the third century before Christ
to the sixth or seventh century after Christ. With
that principle, said to have been proclaimed by
Buddhism in its earliest years, that only that
teaching of the Buddha s is true which contraveneth
not sound reason, 2 the autonomy of man s Intellect
1 In Ersch und Gruber s Encyklopcedie, especially at pp. 255
2 Wassiliew, Der BuddMsmus, p. 68.
BUDDHIST BIRTH STORIES
was, we may fairly say, effectively acknowledged ;
the whole relation between the realms of the knowable
and of the unknowable was subjected to its control ;
and notwithstanding that the actual reasoning powers,
to which the ultimate appeal was thus given, were in
fact then not altogether sound, yet the way was
pointed out by which Keason could, under more
favourable circumstances, begin to liberate itself
from its failings. We are already learning to value,
in the philosophical endeavours of Buddhism, the
labours, sometimes indeed quaint, but aiming at
thoroughness and worthy of the highest respect, of its
severe earnestness in inquiry. And that, side by side
with this, the merry jests of light, and even frivolous
poetry and conversation, preserved the cheerfulness
of life, is clear from the prevailing tone of our work,
and still more so from the probable Buddhist origin
of those other Indian story-books which have hitherto
become known to us."
Benfey then proceeds to show that the Pancha
Tantra consisted originally, not of five, but of certainly
eleven, perhaps of twelve, and just possibly of thirteen
books ; and that its original design was to teach
princes right government and conduct. 1 The whole
collection had then a different title descriptive of this
design ; and it was only after a part became detached
from the rest that that part was called, for distinc-
tion ssake, the Pancha Tantra (The Five Books). When
this occurred it is impossible to say. But it was
certainly the older and larger collection, not the present
1 Compare the title of the Birth Story above, p. xxii : "A
Lesson for Kings ".
Pancha Tantra, which travelled into Persia, and
became the source of the whole of the extensive
Kalilag and Damnag literature. 1
The Arabian authors of the work translated
(through the ancient Persian) from this older collec
tion assign it to a certain Bidpai ; who is said to have
composed it in order to instruct Dabschelim, the
successor of Alexander in his Indian possessions, in
worldly wisdom. 2 There may well be some truth in
this tradition. And when we consider that the
Barlaam and Josaphat literature took its origin at
the same time, and in the same place, as the Kalilag
and Damnag literature ; that both of them are based
upon Buddhist originals taken to Bagdad in the sixth
century of our era ; and that it is precisely such a
book as the Book of Birth Stories from which they could
have derived all that they borrowed ; it is difficult
to avoid connecting these facts together by the
supposition that the work ascribed to Bidpai may,
in fact, have been a selection of those Jataka stories
bearing more especially on the conduct of life, and
preceded, like our own collection, by a sketch of the
life of the Buddha in his last birth. Such a supposition
would afford a reasonable explanation of some curious
facts which have been quite inexplicable on the
existing theory. If the Arabic Kalilah and Dimnah
was an exact translation, in our modern sense of the
word translation, of an exact translation of a Buddhist
work, how comes it that the various copies of the
1 See above.
2 Knatchbull, p. 29.
BUDDHIST BIRTH STORIES
Kalilah and Dimnah differ so greatly, not only among
themselves, but from the lately discovered Syriac
Kalilag and Damnag, which was also, according to
the current hypothesis, a translation of the same
original ? how comes it that in these translations
from a Buddhist book there are no references to the
Buddha, and no expressions on the face of them
Buddhistic ? If, on the other hand, the later writers
had merely derived their subject-matter from a
Buddhist work or works, and had composed what
were in effect fresh works on the basis of such an original
as has been suggested, we can understand how the
different writers might have used different portions
of the material before them, and might have discarded
any expressions too directly in contradiction with
their own religious beliefs.
The first three of those five chapters of the work
ascribed to Bidpai which make up the Pancha Tantra,
are also found in a form slightly different, but, on the
whole, essentially the same, in two other Indian Story
books the Kathd-Sarit-Sagara (Ocean of the Rivers of
Stories), composed in Sanskrit by a Northern Buddhist
named SOMADEVA in the twelfth century, and in the
well-known Hitopadesa, which is a much later work.
If Somadeva had had the Pancha Tantra in its present
form before him, he would probably have included the
whole five books in his encyclopedic collection ; and
the absence from the Kathd-Sarit-Sdgara of the
last two books would tend to show that when he
wrote his great work the Pancha Tantra had not been
composed, or at least had not reached the North of India .
Somadeva derived his knowledge of the three books
he does not give from the Vrihat-Kathd, a work ascribed
to Gunadhya, written in the Paisachi dialect, and
probably at least as early as the sixth century. 1 This
work, on which Somadeva s whole poem is based, is
lost. But Dr. Biihler has lately discovered another
Sanskrit poem, based on that earlier work, written in
Kashmir by Kshemendra at the end of the eleventh
century, and called, like its original, Vrihat-Kathd ;
and as Somadeva wrote quite independently of this
earlier poem, we may hope that a comparison of the
two Sanskrit works will afford reliable evidence of
the contents of the old Vrihat-Kathd. 2
I should also mention here that another well-known
work, the Vetdla-Panca-Vimsati (The Twenty-five
Tales of a Demon), is contained in both the Sanskrit
poems, and was therefore probably also in Gunadhya s
collection ; but as no Jataka stories have been as yet
traced in it, I have simply included it for purposes of
reference in Appendix, Table I, together with the
most important of those of the later Indian story
books of which anything is at present known.
There remains only to add a few words on the mode
in which the stories, whose history in Europe and in
India I have above attempted to trace, are presented
to us in the Jataka Book.
Each story is introduced by another explaining
where and why it was told by the Buddha ; the Birth
1 Dr. Fitz-Eclward Hall s Vdsavadatta, pp. 22-4.
* Dr. Biihler in The Indian Antiquary, i, 302 ; v, 29 ; vi, 269.
BUDDHIST BIRTH STORIES
Story itself being called the Atita-vatthu (Story of the
Past) and the Introductory Story the Paccuppanna-
vatthu (Story of the Present). There is another book
in the Pali Pitakas called Apaddna, which consists
of tales about the lives of certain early Buddhists ; and
many of the Introductory Stories in the Jdtaka Book
(such, for instance, as the tale about Little Roadling,
no. 4, or the tale about Kumara Kassapa, no. 12) differ
very little from these Apaddnas. Other of the
Introductory Stories (such, for instance, as no. 17)
seem to be mere repetitions of the principal idea
of the story they introduce, and are probably
derived from it. That the Introductory Stories are
entirely devoid of credit is clear from the fact that
different Birth Stories are introduced as having been
told at the same time and place, and in answer to the
same question. Thus no less than ten stories are each
said to have been told to a certain love-sick monk as a
warning to him against his folly ; 1 the closely-
allied story given below as the Introduction to Birth
Story no. 30 appears also as the Introduction to at
least four others : 2 and there are many other instances
of a similar kind. 3
After the two stories have been told, there comes
a Conclusion, in which the Buddha identifies the
personages in the Birth Story with those in the Intro-
1 Nos. 61-3, 147, 159, 193, 196, 198-9, 263.
2 Nos. 106, 145, 191, 286.
8 Nos. 58, 73, 142, 194, 220,and 277, have the same Introductory
And so nos. 60, 104, 116, 161.
And nos. 127-8, 138, 173, 175.
ductory Story ; but it should be noticed that in
one or two cases characters mentioned in the Atlta-
vatthu are supposed not to have been reborn on earth
at the time of the Paccuppanna-vatthu. 1 And the
reader must of course avoid the mistake of importing
Christian ideas into this Conclusion by supposing
that the identity of the persons in the two stories is
owing to the passage of a " soul " from the one to the
other. Buddhism does not teach the transmigra
tion of souls. Its doctrine (which is somewhat
intricate, and for a fuller statement of which I must
refer to my Manual of Buddhism 2 ) would be better
summarized as the transmigration of character ;
for it is entirely independent of the early and widely-
prevalent notion of the existence within each human
body of a distinct soul, or ghost, or spirit. The
Bodisat, for instance, is not supposed to have a soul,
which, on the death of one body, is transferred to
another ; but to be the inheritor of the character
acquired by the previous Bodisats. The insight and
goodness, the moral and intellectual perfection which
constitute Buddhahood, could not, according to the
Buddhist theory, be acquired in one lifetime ; they
were the accumulated result of the continual effort
of many generations of successive Bodisats. The only
thing which continues to exist when a man dies is his
Karma, the result of his words and thoughts and deeds
(literally ^his " doing ") ; and the curious theory that
1 See the " Pali note " at the end of Jataka no. 91.
2 pp. 99-106.
BUDDHIST BIRTH STORIES
this result is concentrated in some new individual is
due to the older theory of soul.
In the case of one Jataka (Fausboll, no. 276), the
Conclusion is wholly in verse ; and in several cases the
Conclusion contains a verse or verses added by way of
moral. Such verses, when they occur, are called
Abhisambuddha-gdthd, or Verses spoken by the Buddha,
not when he was still only a Bodisat, but when he had
become a Buddha. They are so called to distinguish
them from the similar verses inserted in the Birth
Story, and spoken there by the Bodisat. Each story
has its verse or verses, either in the Atlta-vatthu or in
the Conclusion, and sometimes in both. The number
of cases in which all the verses are Abhisambuddha-
odthd is relatively small (being only one in ten of the
Jatakas published 1 ) ; and the number of cases in
which they occur together with verses in the Atlta-
vatthu is very small indeed (being only five out of the
three hundred Jatakas published 2 ) ; in the remaining
two hundred and sixty-five the verse or verses occur
in the course of the Birth Story and are most generally
spoken by the Bodisat himself.
There are several reasons for supposing that
these verses are older than the prose which now
forms their setting. The Ceylon tradition goes
so far as to say that the original Jataka Book
consisted of the verses alone ; that the Birth Stories
1 Nos. 1-5, 23-9, 37, 55-6, 68, 85, 87-8, 97, 100, 114, 136,
(total, eighteen in the Eka-Nipata) ; 156 (=55-6), 196, 202, 237
( =63), 241 (total, five in the Duka-Nipdta) ; 255-6, 258, 264, 284,
291, 300 (total, seven in the Tika-Nipata, and thirty altogether).
2 Nos. 152, 163, 179, 233, 286.
are Commentary upon them ; and the Introductory
Stories, the Conclusions and the Pada-gata-sannaya,
or word-for-word explanation of the verses, are
Commentary on this Commentary. 1 And archaic
forms and forced constructions in the verses (in
striking contrast with the regularity and simplicity
of the prose parts of the book), and the corrupt state
in which some of the verses are found, seem to point
to the conclusion that the verses are older.
But I venture to think that, though the present
form of the verses may be older than the present
form of the Birth Stories, the latter, or most of the
latter, were in existence first ; that the verses, at
least in many cases, were added to the stories after
they had become current ; and that the Birth Stories
without verses in them at all those enumerated
in the list in note 1 on the previous page, where the
verses are found only in the Conclusion are, in fact,
among the oldest, if not the oldest, in the whole
collection. For anyone who takes the trouble to go
through that list seriatim will find that it contains a
considerable number of those stories which, from their
being found also in the Pali Pitakas or in the oldest
European collections, can already be proved to belong
to a very early date. The only hypothesis which will
reconcile these facts seems to me to be that the Birth
1 This belief underlies the curious note forming the last words
of the Mahasupina Jataka, i, 345 : " Those who held the Council
after the death of the Blessed One placed the lines beginning
usabha rukkhd in the Commentary, and then, making the other
lines beginning labuni into one verse, they put (the Jataka) into
the Eka-Nipata (the chapter including all those Jatakas which
have only one verse)."
BUDDHIST BIRTH STORIES
Stories, though probably originally older than the
verses they contain, were handed down in Ceylon till
the time of the compilation of our present Jdtaka Book
in the Singhalese language ; whilst the verses on the
other hand were not translated, but were preserved
as they were received, in Pali.
There is another group of stories which seems to be
older than most of the others ; those, namely, in
which the Bodisat appears as a sort of chorus, a
moralizer only, and not an actor in the play, whose
part may have been an addition made when the story
in which it occurs was adopted by the Buddhists.
Such is the fable above translated of " The Ass in the
Lion s Skin ", and most of the stories where the
Bodisat is a ruJckha-devatd the fairy or genius of a
tree. 1 But the materials are insufficient at present
to put this forward as otherwise than a mere
The arrangement of the stories in our present
collection is a most unpractical one. They are classi
fied, not according to their contents, but according
to the number of verses they contain. Thus, the
First division (Nipata) includes those one hundred and
fifty of the stories which have only one verse ; the
Second, one hundred stories, each having two verses ;
the Third and Fourth, each of them fifty stories
containing respectively three and four verses each ;
and so on, the number of stories in each division
decreasing rapidly after the number of verses exceeds
1 See, for instance, below, pp. 212, 228, 230, 317 ; above,
p. xii ; and Jataka, no. 113.
four ; and the whole of the five hundred and fifty
Jatakas being contained in the twenty-two Nipatas.
Even this division, depending on so unimportant a factor
as the number of the verses, is not logically carried
out ; and the round numbers of the stories in the first
four divisions are made up by including in them stories
which, according to the principle adopted, should not
properly be placed within them. Thus several Jatakas
are only mentioned in the first two Nipatas to say
that they will be found in the later ones ; 1 and
several Jatakas given with one verse only in the First
Nipata are given again with more verses in those that
follow ; 2 and occasionally a story is even repeated,
with but little variation, in the same Nipata. 3
On the other hand, several Jatakas, which count
only as one story in the present enumeration, really
contain several different tales or fables. Thus,
for instance, the Kuldvaka JdtaJca (On Mercy
to Animals) consists of several stories woven,
not very closely, into one. The most striking
instance of this is the Ummagga Jataka , of
which the Singhalese translation by the learned
1 Nos. 110-12, 170, 192 in the Ummagga Jataka, and no. 264
in the Suruci Jataka.
No. 30 -No. 286. No. 68=No. 237.
34= 216. 86= 290.
46= 268. 102= 217.
57= 224. 145= 198.
So No. 82=No. 104.
Compare the two stories nos. 23 and 24 translated below.
BUDDHIST BIRTH STORIES
Batuwan Tudawa occupies two hundred and fifty
pages octavo, and consists of a very large number
(I have not counted them, and there is no index, but
I should think they amount to more than one hundred
and fifty) of most entertaining anecdotes. Although
therefore the Birth Stories are spoken of as " The five
hundred and fifty Jatakas ", this is merely a round
number reached by an entirely artificial arrangement,
and gives no clue to the actual number of stories.
It is probable that our present collection contains
altogether (including the Introductory Stories where
they are not mere repetitions) between two and three
thousand independent tales, fables, anecdotes, and
Nor is the number 550 any more exact (though
the discrepancy in this case is not so great) if it be
supposed to record, not the number of stories, but the
number of distinct births of the Bodisat. In the
Kuldvaka Jdtaka, just referred to (the tale On Mercy
to Animals), there are two consecutive births of the
future Buddha ; and on the other hand, none of the
six Jatakas mentioned in note 1, p. Ixxiii, represents
a distinct birth at all the Bodisat is in them the
same person as he is in the later Jatakas in which
those six are contained.
From the facts as they stand it seems at present to
be the most probable explanation of the rise of our
Jdlaka Book to suppose that it was due to the religious
faith of the Indian Buddhists of the third or fourth
century B.C., who not only repeated a number of
fables, parables, and stories ascribed to the Buddha,
but gave them a peculiar sacredness and a special
religious significance by identifying the best character
in each with the Buddha himself in some previous
birth. From the time when this step was taken, what
had been merely parables or fables became " Jatakas",
a word invented to distinguish, and used only of,
those stories which have been thus sanctified. The
earliest use of that word at present known is in the
inscriptions on the Buddhist Tope at Bharhut ; and
from the way in which it is there used it is clear that
the word must have then been already in use for some
considerable time. But when stories thus made sacred
were popularly accepted among people so accustomed
to literary activity as the early Buddhists, the natural
consequence would be that the Jatakas should have
been brought together into a collection of some kind ;
and the probability of this having been done at a
very early date is confirmed, firstly, by the tradition
of the difference of opinion concerning a JdtaJca Book
at the Councils of Vesali ; and secondly by the
mention of a Jdtaka Book in the ninefold division of
the Scriptures found in the Anguttara Nikdya and in
the Saddharma Pundarika. To the compiler of this,
or of some early collection, are probably to be ascribed
the Verses, which in some cases at least are later than
With regard to some of the Jatakas, among which
may certainly be included those found in the Pali
Pitakas, there may well have been a tradition, more
or less reliable, as to the time and the occasion at
BUDDHIST BIRTH STORIES
which they were supposed to have been uttered by the
Buddha. These traditions will have given rise to the
earliest Introductory Stories, in imitation of which
the rest were afterwards invented ; and these will
then have been handed down as commentary on the
Birth Stories, till they were finally made part of our
present collection by its compiler in Ceylon. That
(either through their later origin, or their having been
much more modified in transmission) they represent
a more modern point of view than the Birth Stories
themselves, will be patent to every reader. There is
a freshness and simplicity about the Stories of the
Past that is sadly wanting in the Stories of the Present ;
so much so, that the latter (and this is also true of the
whole long Introduction containing the life of the
Buddha) may be compared more accurately with
mediaeval Legends of the Saints than with such
simple stories as dZsop s Fables, which still bear a
likeness to their forefathers, the Stories of the Past.
The Jatakas so constituted were carried to Ceylon
in the Pali language, when Buddhism was first intro
duced into that island (a date that is not quite certain,
but may be taken provisionally as about 250 B.C.) ;
and the whole was there translated into and preserved
in the Singhalese language (except the verses, which
were left untranslated) until the compilation in the
fifth century A.D., and by an unknown author, of the
Pali Jdtaka Book, the translation of which into
English is commenced in this volume.
When we consider the number of elaborate similes
by which the arguments in the Pali Suttas are
enforced, there can be no reasonable doubt that the
Buddha was really accustomed to teach much by the
aid of parables, and it is not improbable that the
compiler was quite correct in attributing to him that
subtle sense of good-natured humour which led to his
inventing, as occasion arose, some fable or some tale
of a previous birth, to explain away existing failures
in conduct among the monks, or to draw a moral from
contemporaneous events. It is even already possible
to point to some of the Jatakas as being probably the
oldest in the collection ; but it must be left to future
research to carry out in ampler detail the investigation
into the comparative date of each of the stories, both
those which are called Stories of the Past and those
which are called Stories of the Present.
Besides the points which the teaching of the Jatakas
has in common with that of European moralists and
satirists, it inculcates two lessons peculiar to itself
firstly, the powerful influence of inherited character ;
and secondly, the essential likeness between man and
other animals. The former of these two ideas under
lies both the central Buddhist doctrine of Karma and
the theory of the Buddhas, views certainly common
among all the early Buddhists and therefore probably
held by Gotama himself. And the latter of the two
underlies and explains the sympathy with animals so
conspicuous in these tales, and the frequency with
which they lay stress upon the duty of kindness, and
even of courtesy, to the brute creation. It is curious
to find in these records of a strange and ancient faith
such blind feeling after, such vague foreshadowing
BUDDHIST BIRTH STORIES
of beliefs only now beginning to be put forward here
in the West ; but it is scarcely necessary to point out
that the paramount value to us now of the Jataka
stories is historical.
In this respect their value does not consist only in
the evidence they afford of the intercommunion
between East and West, but also, and perhaps
chiefly, in the assistance which they will render to the
study of folk-lore that is, of the beliefs and habits
of men in the earlier stages of their development.
The researches of Tylor and Waitz and Pischel and
Lubbock and Spencer have shown us that this is the
means by which it is most easily possible rightly to
understand and estimate many of the habits and beliefs
still current among ourselves. But the chief obstacle
to a consensus of opinion in such studies is the in
sufficiency and inaccuracy of the authorities on which
the facts depend. While the ancient literature of
peoples more advanced usually ignores or passes
lightly over the very details most important from this
point of view, the accounts of modern travellers
among the so-called savage tribes are often at best
very secondary evidence. It constantly happens that
such a traveller can only tell us the impression con
veyed to his mind of that which his informant holds
to be the belief or custom of the tribe. Such native
information may be inaccurate, incomplete, or mis
leading ; and it reaches us only after nitration through
a European mind more or less able to comprehend it
But in the Jatakas we have a nearly complete
picture, and quite uncorrupted and unadulterated by
European intercourse, of the social life and customs
and popular beliefs of the common people of Aryan
tribes closely related to ourselves, just as they were
passing through the first stages of civilization.
The popularity of the Jatakas as amusing stories
may pass away. How can it stand against the rival
claims of the fairy tales of science, and the entrancing,
many-sided story of man s gradual rise and progress ?
But though these less fabulous and more attractive
stories will increasingly engage the attention of
ourselves and of our children, we may still turn with
appreciation to the ancient Book of the Buddhist
Jdtaka Tales as a priceless record of the childhood of
I avail myself of this opportunity of acknowledging
my indebtedness to several friends whose assistance
has been too continuous to be specified on any
particular page. Kobert Childers, whose premature
death was so great a blow to Pali studies, and whose
name I never think of without a feeling of reverent
and grateful regret, had undertaken the translation
of the Jatakas, and the first thirty-three pages are
from his pen. They are the last memento of his
earnest work : they stand exactly as he left them.
The Rev. J. Estlin Carpenter, who takes a deep interest
in this and cognate subjects, has been kind enough to
read through all the proofs, and I owe to his varied
scholarship many useful hints. And my especial
thanks, and the thanks of any readers this work may
BUDDHIST BIRTH STORIES
meet with, are above all due to Victor Fausboll,
without whose editio princeps of the Pali text, the
result of self-denying labours spread over many
years, this translation would not have been under
T. W. RHYS DAVIDS.
3, BRICK COUKT, TEMPLE.
THE STORY OF THE LINEAGE
[vv. 1-11] The Apannaka and other Births, which
in times gone by were recounted on various occasions
by the great illustrious Sage, and in which during a
long period our Teacher and Leader, desirous of the
salvation of mankind, fulfilled the vast conditions of
Buddhahood, 1 were all collected together and added
to the canon of Scripture by those who made the
recension of the Scriptures, and rehearsed by them
under the name of THE JATAKA. Having bowed at
the feet of the Great Sage, the lord of the world, by
whom in innumerable existences 2 boundless benefits
were conferred upon mankind, and having paid
reverence to the Doctrine, and ascribed honour to the
Order, the receptacle of all honour ; and having
removed all dangers by the efficacy of that meritorious
act of veneration and honour referring to the Three
Gems, I proceed to recite a Commentary upon this
Jataka, illustrating as it does the infinite efficacy of
the actions of great men a commentary based upon
the method of exposition current among the inmates
of the Great Monastery. And I do so at the personal
request of the elder Atthadassin, who lives apart
from the world and ever dwells with his fraternity,
and who desires the perpetuation of this chronicle of
Buddha ; and likewise of Buddhamitta the tranquil
1 Lit. perfected the vast constituents of Buddhahood, the
Paramitas are meant. The Apannaka is the title of the first
2 Lit. in thousands of kotis of births (a koti is ten millions).
82 BUDDHIST BIRTH STORIES
and wise, sprung from the race of Mahimsasaka,
skilled in the canons of interpretation ; and more
over of the monk Buddhadeva of clear intellect.
May all good men lend me their favourable attention
while I speak ! l
Inasmuch as this comment on the Jataka, if it be
expounded after setting forth the three Epochs, the
distant, the intermediate, and proximate, will be
clearly understood by those who hear it because they
will have understood it from the beginning, therefore
I will expound it after setting forth the three Epochs.
Accordingly from the very outset it will be well to
determine the limits of these Epochs. Now the
narrative of the Bodhisatta s existence, from the
time that at the feet of Dipankara he formed a resolu
tion to become a Buddha to his rebirth in the Tusita
heaven after leaving his life as Vessantara, is called
the Distant Epoch. From his leaving the Tusita
heaven to his attainment of omniscience on the
Bo-tree seat, the narrative is called the Intermediate
Epoch. And the Proximate Epoch is to be found in
the various places in which he sojourned (during his
ministry on earth). The following is
I: THE DISTANT EPOCH
Tradition tells us that four asankheyyas 2 and a
hundred thousand cycles ago there was a city called
Amaravati. In this city there dwelt a brahmin
named Sumedha, of good family on both sides, on the
1 The above lines in the original are in verse. I have found it
impossible to follow the arrangement of the stanzas, owing to
the extreme involution of the style.
2 An asankheyya is a period of vast duration, lit. an incalculable.
THE STORY OF THE LINEAGE 83
father s and the mother s side, of pure conception for
seven generations back, by birth unreproached and
respected, a man comely, well-favoured and amiable,
and endowed with remarkable beauty. He followed
his brahminical studies without engaging in any other
pursuit. His parents died while he was still young.
A minister of state, who acted as steward of his
property, bringing forth the roll-book of his estate,
threw open the stores filled with gold and silver, gems
and pearls, and other valuables, and said : " So much,
young man, belonged to your mother, so much to
your father, so much to your grandparents and great-
grandparents," and pointing out to him the property
inherited through seven generations, he bade him
guard it carefully. The wise Sumedha thought to
himself : " After amassing all this wealth my parents
and ancestors when they went to another world took
not a farthing with them. Can it be right that I should
make it an object to take my wealth with me when I
go ? " And informing the king of his intention, he
caused proclamation to be made x in the city, gave
largess to the people, and embraced the ascetic life
of a hermit.
To make this matter clear the Story of Sumedha --
must here be related. This story, though given in full
in the Buddhavamsa, 2 from its being in a metrical
form, is not very easy to understand. I will therefore
relate it with sentences at intervals explaining the
1 Lit. " caused the drums to be beaten."
2 A poem belonging to the Sutta-Pitaka, edited by Rd. Morris,
Pali Text Soc., 1882. Ed.
84: BUDDHIST BIRTH STORIES
Four asankheyyas and a hundred thousand cycles
ago there was a city called Amaravati or Amara,
resounding with the ten city cries, concerning which
it is said in Buddhavamsa :
12. Four asankheyyas and a hundred thousand cycles ago
A city there was called Amara, beautiful and pleasant,
Resounding with the ten cries, abounding in food and drink. 1
Then follows a stanza of Buddhavamsa enumerating
some of these cries,
13. The trumpeting of elephants, the neighing of horses, (the
sound of) drums, trumpets, and chariots,
And viands and drinks were cried, with the invitation,
" Eat and drink."
It goes on to say :
14. A city supplied with every requisite, engaged in every sort
Possessing the seven precious things, thronged with
dwellers of many races ;
The abode of devout men, like the prosperous city of the
15. In the city of Amaravati dwelt a brahmin named Sumedha,
Whose hoard was many tens of millions, blest with much
wealth and store ;
16. Studious, knowing the Mantras, versed in the three Vedas,
Master of the science of divination and of the traditions
and observances of his caste.
Now one day the wise Sumedha, having retired to
the splendid upper apartment of his house, seated
himself cross-legged, and fell a-thinking. " Oh !
wise man, 2 grievous is rebirth in a new existence, and
the dissolution of the body in each successive place
where we are reborn. I am subject to birth, to decay,
to disease, to death it is right, being such, that I
1 Here a gloss in the text enumerates the whole ten cries.
a The Bodhisatta is frequently called pandita, e.g. sasapantfito
(Jat. No. 316), Ramapcwdito (Dasaratha Jat. No. 461).
THE STORY OF THE LINEAGE 85
should strive to attain the cool great deathless Nir
vana, the tranquil, the free from birth and decay, and
sickness, and grief and joy ; surely there must be a
road that leads to Nirvana and releases man from
becoming." Accordingly it is said :
17. Seated in seclusion, I then thought as follows :
Grievous is rebirth and the breaking up of the body.
18. I am subject to birth, to decay, to disease,
Therefore will I seek Nirvana, undecaying, undying haven.
19. Let me leave this perishable body, this pestilent congrega
tion of vapours,
And depart without desires and without wants.
20. There is, there must be a road, it cannot but be :
I will seek this road, that I may obtain release from
Further he reasoned thus : " For as in this world
there is pleasure as the correlative of pain, so where
there is becoming there must be its opposite, the
cessation of becoming ; and as where there is heat
there is also cold which neutralizes it, so there must
be a Nirvana 2 that extinguishes (the fires of) lust
and the other passions ; and as in opposition to a bad
and evil condition there is a good and blameless one,
so where there is evil birth there must also be a
Nirvana, called the birthless, because it puts an end to
all that is called rebirth." Therefore it is said :
21. As where there is suffering there is also bliss,
So where there is becoming we must look for non-becoming.
22. And as where there is heat there is also cold,
So where there is the threefold fire of passion extinguishing
must be sought,
23. And as coexistent with evil there is also good,
Even so where there is birth 3 the cessation of birth should
1 Bdhv., p. 7.
2 Lit. " Extinguishing ? .
3 Mr. Fausboll points out to me that in tividhaggi and jati we
have Vedic abbreviations.
86 BUDDHIST BIRTH STORIES
Again lie reasoned thus : " Just as a man who has
fallen into a heap of filth, if he beholds afar off a great
pond covered with lotuses of five colours, ought to
seek that pond, saying : f By what way shall I arrive
there ? ; but if he does not seek it the fault is not
that of the pond ; even so where there is the lake of
the great deathless Nirvana for the washing of the
defilement of sin, if it is not sought it is not the fault
of the lake. And just as a man who is surrounded by
robbers, if when there is a way of escape he does not
fly it is not the fault of the way but of the man ; even
so when there is a blessed road leading to Nirvana
for the man who is encompassed and held fast by sin,
its not being sought is not the fault of the road but of
the person. And as a man who is oppressed with
sickness, there being a physician who can heal his
disease, if he does not get cured by going to the phy
sician that is no fault of the physician ; even so if a
man who is oppressed by the disease of sin seeks not
a spiritual guide who is at hand and knows the road
which puts an end to sin, the fault lies with him and not
with the sin-destroying teacher." Therefore it is said :
24. As a man fallen among filth, beholding a brimming lake,
If he seek not that lake the fault is not in the lake ;
25. So when there exists a lake of Nirvana that washes the
stains of sin,
If a man seek not that lake, the fault is not in the lake of
26. As a man beset with foes, there being a way of escape,
If he flee not away, the fault is not with the road ;
27. So when there is a way of bliss, if a man beset with sin
Seek not that road, the fault is not in the way of bliss.
28. And as one who is diseased, there being a physician at hand,
If he bid him not heal the disease, the fault is not in the
29. So if a man who is sick and oppressed with the disease of sin
Seek not the spiritual teacher, the fault is not in the teacher.
THE STORY OF THE LINEAGE 87
And again he argued : "As a man fond of gay
clothing, throwing off a corpse bound to his shoulders,
goes away rejoicing, so must I, throwing off this
perishable body, and freed from all care, enter the
city of Nirvana. And as men and women depositing
filth on a dungheap do not gather it in the fold or
skirt of their garments, but loathing it, throw it away,
feeling no desire for it ; so shall I also cast off this
perishable body without regret, and enter the
deathless city of Nirvana. And as seamen abandon
without regret an unseaworthy ship and escape, so
will I also, leaving this body, which distils corruption
from its nine festering apertures, enter without
regret the city of Nirvana. And as a man carrying
various sorts of jewels and going on the same road
with a band of robbers, out of fear of losing his jewels
withdraws from them and gains a safe road ; even
so this impure body is like a jewel-plundering robber,
if I set my affections thereon the jewel of the good
doctrine of the sublime path of holiness will be lost
to me, therefore ought I to enter the city of Nirvana,
forsaking this robber-like body." Therefore it is
30. As a man might with loathing shake off a corpse bound
upon his shoulders,
And depart, secure, independent, master of himself ;
31. Even so let me depart, regretting nothing, wanting nothing.
Leaving this perishable body, this collection of many foul
32. And as men and women deposit filth upon a dungheap,
And depart regretting nothing, wanting nothing,
33. So will I depart, leaving this body filled with foul vapours,
As one leaves a cesspool after depositing ordure there.
34. And as the owners forsake the rotten bark that is shattered
And depart without regret or longing,
88 BUDDHIST BIRTH STORIES
35. So shall I go, leaving this body with its nine apertures
As its owners desert the broken ship.
36. And as a man carrying wares, walking with robbers,
Seeing danger of losing his wares, parts company with the
robbers and gets him gone,
37. Even so is this body like a mighty robber,
Leaving it I will depart through fear of losing good.
Having thus in nine similes pondered upon the
advantages connected with retirement from the world,
the wise Sumedha gave away at his own house, as
aforesaid, an immense hoard of treasure to the indigent
and wayfarers and sufferers, and kept open house.
And renouncing all pleasures, both material and
sensual, departing from the city of Amara, away from
the world in Himavanta he made himself a hermitage
near the mountain called Dhammaka, and built a
hut and a cloister free from the five defects which are
hindrances (to meditation). And with a view to
obtain the power reckoned as supernormal knowledge,
which is characterized by the eight casual qualities
described in the words beginning " With a mind thus
tranquillized "/ he embraced in that hermitage the
ascetic life of a Kishi, casting off the cloak with its
nine disadvantages, and wearing the garment of
bark with its twelve advantages. And when he had
thus given up the world, forsaking this hut, crowded
with eight drawbacks, he repaired to the foot of a
tree with its ten advantages, and rejecting all sorts
of grain lived constantly upon wild fruits. And
1 Evam samdhite citte parisuddhe. pariyoddte anangane vigatu-
pakkilese mudubhute kammaniye thite dnejjappatte ndnadas-
sancLya cittarii abhimharati (Samannaphala Sutta, see Digha
Nikdya, i, 76 ; Dialogues of the Buddha, i, 86).
THE STORY OF THE LINEAGE 89
strenuously exerting himself both in sitting and in
standing and in walking, within a week he became the
possessor of the eight attainments, and of the five
supernormal knowledges ; and so, in accordance with
his prayer, he attained the might of supernormal
knowledge. Therefore it is said :
38. Having pondered thus I gave many thousand millions of
To rich and poor, and made my way to Himavanta..
39. Not far from Himavanta is the mountain called Dhammaka,
Here I made an excellent hermitage, and built with care
a leafy hut.
40. There I built me a cloister, free from five defects,
Possessed of the eight good qualities, and attained the
strength of the supernormal knowledges.
41. Then I threw off the cloak possessed of the nine faults,
And put on the raiment of bark possessed of the twelve
42. I left the hut, crowded with the eight drawbacks,
And went to the tree-foot possessed of ten advantages. 1
43. Wholly did I reject the grain that is sown and planted,
And partook of the constant fruits of the earth, possessed
of many advantages.
44. Then I strenuously strove, in sitting, in standing, and in
And within seven days attained the might of the know-
Now while the hermit Sumedha, having thus
attained the strength of supernormal knowledge, was
living in the bliss of the (eight) attainments, the
Teacher Dipankara appeared in the world. At the
moment of his conception, of his birth, of his attain
ment of Buddhahood, of his preaching his first dis
course, the whole universe of ten thousand worlds
trembled, shook and quaked, and gave forth a mighty
1 Mr. Fausboll writes to me that gune for guriehi must be
viewed as an old Pali form originating in the Sanskrit gunaih.
2 Here follow four pages of later commentary or gloss, which
I leave untranslated.
90 BUDDHIST BIRTH STORIES
sound, and the thirty-two marks showed themselves.
But the hermit Sumedha, living in the bliss of the
attainments, neither heard that sound nor beheld
those signs. Therefore it is said :
45. Thus when I had attained the consummation, while I was
subjected to the teaching,
The Conqueror named Dipankara, chief of the universe,
46. At his conception, at his birth, at his Buddhahood, at his
I saw not the four signs, plunged in the blissful trance of
At that time Dipankara Buddha, accompanied by
a hundred thousand saints, wandering his way from
place to place, reached the city of Ramma, and took
up his residence in the great monastery of Sudassana.
And the dwellers of the city of Ramma heard it said :
" Dipankara, lord of ascetics, having attained supreme
Buddhaship, and set rolling the wheel of the excellent
Norm, wandering his way from place to place, has
come to the town of Ramma, and dwells at the great
monastery of Sudassana." And taking with them
ghee and butter and other medicinal requisites and
clothes and raiment, and bearing perfumes and
garlands and other offerings in their hands, their
minds bent towards the Buddha, the Doctrine, and
the Order, inclining towards them, hanging upon them,
they approached the Teacher, and worshipped him,
and presenting the perfumes and other offerings, sat
down on one side. And having heard his preaching
of the Doctrine, and invited him for the next day,
they rose from their seats and departed. And on the
next day, having prepared alms-giving for the poor,
and having decked out the town, they repaired the
THE STORY OF THE LINEAGE 91
road by which the Buddha was to come, throwing
earth in the places that were worn away by water,
and thereby levelling the surface, and scattering sand
that looked like strips of silver. And they sprinkled
fried paddy and flowers, and raised aloft flags and
banners, of many-coloured cloths, and set up banana
arches and rows of brimming jars. Then the hermit
Sumedha, ascending from his hermitage, and pro
ceeding through the air till he was above those men,
and beholding the joyous multitude, exclaimed :
" What can be the reason ? " and alighting stood on
one side and questioned the people : " Tell me, why
are you adorning this road ? " Therefore it is said :
47. In the region of the border districts, having invited the
With joyful hearts they are clearing the road by which he
48. And I at that time leaving my hermitage,
Rustling my barken tunic, departed through the air,
49. And seeing an excited multitude joyous and delighted,
Descending from the air I straightway asked the men,
50. The people is excited, joyous, and happy,
For whom is the road being cleared, the path, the way of
his coming ?
And the men replied : " Venerable Sumedha, dost
thou not know ? Dipankara Buddha, having attained
supreme knowledge, and set rolling the wheel of the
glorious Doctrine, travelling from place to place, has
reached our town, and dwells at the great monastery
Sudassana ; we have invited the Blessed One, and
are making ready for the blessed Buddha the road
by which he is to come. And the hermit Sumedha
thought : " The very sound of the word Buddha is
rarely met with in the world, much more the actual
appearance of a Buddha ; it behoves me to join these
92 BUDDHIST BIRTH STORIES
men in clearing the road." He said therefore to the
men : " If .you are clearing this road for the Buddha,
assign to me a piece of ground, I will clear the ground
in company with you." They consented, saying :
"It is well " ; and perceiving the hermit Sumedha
to be possessed of supernatural power, they fixed
upon a swampy piece of ground, and assigned it to
him, saying : " Do thou prepare this spot." Sumedha,
his heart filled with joy of which the Buddha was the
cause, thought within himself : "I am able to prepare
this piece of ground by supernatural power, but if so
prepared it will give me no satisfaction ; this day it
behoves me to perform menial duties " ; and fetching
earth he threw it upon the spot.
But ere the ground could be cleared by him with
a train of a hundred thousand miracle-working saints
endowed with the six supernormal knowledges, while
devas offered celestial wreaths and perfumes, while
celestial hymns rang forth, and men paid their homage
with earthly perfumes arid with flowers and other
offerings, Dlpankara endowed with the ten Forces,
with all a Buddha s transcendant majesty, like a lion
rousing himself to seek his prey on the Vermilion
plain, came down into the road all decked and made
ready for him. Then the hermit Sumedha as the
Buddha with unblenching eyes approached along the
road prepared for him, beholding that form endowed
with the perfection of beauty, adorned with the thirty-
two marks of a super-man, and marked with the eighty
minor beauties, attended by a halo of a fathom s depth
and sending forth in streams the six-hued Buddha-
rays, linked in pairs of different colours, and wreathed
THE STORY OF THE LINEAGE 93
like the varied lightnings that flash in the gem-studded
vault of heaven exclaimed : " This day it behoves
me to make sacrifice of my life for the Buddha :
let not the Blessed one walk in the mire nay, let him
advance with his four hundred thousand saints
trampling on my body as if walking upon a bridge of
jewelled planks, this deed will long be for my good and
my happiness." So saying, he loosed his hair, and
spreading in the sooty mire his hermit s skin mantle,
roll of matted hair and garment of bark, he lay down
in the mire like a bridge of jewelled planks. Therefore
it is said :
61. Questioned by me they replied, An incomparable Buddha
is born into the world,
The Conqueror named Dipankara, lord of the universe,
For him the road is cleared, the way, the path of his
52. When I heard the name of Buddha joy sprang up forthwith
Repeating, a Buddha, a Buddha! I gave utterance to my joy.
63. Standing there I pondered, joyful and excited,
Here I will sow the seed, may the happy moment not pass
54. If you clear a path for the Buddha, assign to me a place,
I also will clear the road, the way, the path of his coming.
55. Then they gave me a piece of ground to clear the pathway ;
Then repeating within me, a Buddha, a Buddha ! I cleared
56. But ere my portion was cleared, Dipankara the great sage,
The Conqueror, entered the road with four hundred
thousand saints like himself,
Possessed of the six superknowledges, pure from all taint
67. On every side men rise to receive him, many drums sound,
Men and spirits overjoyed send forth their applause.
58. Devas look upon men, men upon devas,
And both with clasped hands upraised approach "him
who had thus come."
69. Devas with deva-music, men with earthly music,
Both sending forth their strains approach " him who had
94 BUDDHIST BIRTH STORIES
60. Devas floating in the air sprinkle down in all directions
Erythrina flowers of deva- world, lotuses and coral flowers.
6 1 . Men standing on the ground throw upwards in all directions
Champac and Salala flowers, Cadamba and fragrant Mesua,
Punnaga, and Ketaka.
62. Then I loosed my hair, and spreading in the mire
Bark robe and mantle of skin, lay prone upon my face.
63. Let the Buddha advance with his disciples, treading upon
Let him not tread in the mire, it will be for my blessing.
And as he lay in the mire, again beholding the
Buddha-majesty of Dipankara Buddha with his
unblenching gaze, he thought as follows : " Were
I willing, I could enter the city of Ramma as a novice
in the priesthood, after having destroyed all human
passions ; but why should I disguise myself l to attain
Nirvana after the destruction of human passion ?
Let me rather, like Dipankara, having risen to the
supreme knowledge of the Doctrine, enable mankind
to enter the Ship of the Doctrine, and so carry them
across the Ocean of Going-on, and when this is done
afterwards attain Nirvana ; this indeed it is right
that I should do." Then having enumerated the eight
conditions (necessary to the attainment of Buddha-
hood), and having made the resolution to become
Buddha, he laid himself down. Therefore it is said :
1 The following is what I take to be the meaning of this passage :
" If I chose I could at once enter the Buddhist Order, and by the
practice of ecstatic meditation ( Jhana) free myself from human
passion, and become an Arahant or saint. I should then at death
at once attain Nirvana and cease to be reborn. But this would
be a selfish course to pursue, for thus I should benefit myself
only. Why should I thus slip unobserved and in the humble
garb of a monk into Nirvana ? Nay, let me rather qualify myself to
become a Buddha, and so save others as well as myself." This
is the great ACT OF RENUNCIATION by which the Bodhisattva,
when Nirvana was within his grasp, preferred to endure ages of
heroic trials in the exercise of the Paramitas, that he might be
enabled to become a Buddha, and so redeem mankind. See
D Alwis s Introduction to Kachchayana s Grammar, p. vi.
THE STORY OF THE LINEAGE 95
64. As I lay upon the ground this was the thought of my heart,
If I wished it I might this day destroy within me all
65. But why should I in disguise arrive at the knowledge of
the Truth ?
I will attain omniscience and become a Buddha, and (save)
men and devas.
66. Why should I cross the ocean resolute but alone ?
I will attain omniscience, and enable men and devas
67. By this resolution of mine, I a man of resolution
Will attain omniscience, and save many folk.
68. Cutting off the stream of transmigration, annihilating the
three forms of rebirth,
Embarking in the ship of the Norm, I will carry across with
me men and devas. 1
And the blessed Dipankara having reached the
spot stood close by the hermit Sumedha s head. And
opening his eyes possessed of the five kinds of grace as
one opens a jewelled window, and beholding the hermit
Sumedha lying in the mire, thought to himself :
" This hermit who lies here has formed the resolution
to be a Buddha ; will his wish be fulfilled or not ? "
And casting forward his prescient gaze into the future,
and considering, he perceived that four asankheyyas
and a hundred thousand cycles from that time he
would become a Buddha named Gotama. And stand
ing there in the midst of the assembly he delivered
this prophecy, " See ye this very austere ascetic
lying in the rnire ? " " Yes, lord," they answered.
" This man lies here having made the resolution to
become a Buddha, his wish will be answered ; at the
end of four asankheyyas and a hundred thousand
cycles hence he will become a Buddha named Gotama,
and in that birth the city Kapilavatthu will be his
1 What follows from yasma to nipajji belongs to a later com
mentary. I resume the translation with p. 15, 1. 11 of the text.
96 BUDDHIST BIRTH STORIES
residence, queen Maya will be his mother, king
Suddhodana his father, his chief disciple will be the
thera Upatissa, his second disciple the thera Kolita,
the Buddha s servitor will be Ananda, his chief female
disciple the nun Khema, the second the nun Uppala-
vanna. When he attains to years of ripe knowledge,
having retired from the world and made the great
exertion, having received at the foot of a banyan-tree
a meal of rice milk, and partaken of it by the banks of
the Neranjara, having ascended the bo-tree seat, he
will, at the foot of a fig-tree, attain Supreme Buddha-
hood. Therefore it is said :
70. Dipankara, knower of all worlds, receiver of offerings,
Standing by that which pillowed my head, spoke these
71. See ye this very austere hermit with his matted hair,
Countless ages hence he will be a Buddha in this world.
72. Lo, "he who has thus come" departing from pleasant
Having made the great effort, performed all manner of
73. Having sat at the foot of the Ajapala tree, and there
received rice pottage,
Shall approach the Neranjara river.
74. Having received the rice pottage on the banks of the
Neranjara, the Conqueror
Shall come by a fair road prepared for him to the foot of
75. Then, unrivalled and glorious, reverentially saluting the
At the foot of a fig-tree he shall be awakened. 1
76. The mother that bears him shall be called Maya,
His father will be Suddhodana, he himself will be Gotama.
77. His chief disciples will be Upatissa and Kolita,
Men sane and immune, void of passion, calm- minded and
78. The servitor Ananda will attend upon the Conqueror,
Khema and Uppalavanna will be his chief women disciples,
79. Women sane and immune, void of passion, calm-minded
The Bodhi-tree of this Buddha is known as the Assattha.
THE STORY OF THE LINEAGE 97
The hermit Sumedha, exclaiming : " My wish, it
seems, will be accomplished ", was filled with happi
ness. The multitudes, hearing the words of Dipankara
Buddha, were joyous and delighted, exclaiming :
" The hermit Sumedha, it seems, is a Buddha-seed, a
Buddha-shoot ! " For thus they thought : " As a
man fording a river, if he is unable to cross to the
ford opposite him, crosses to a ford lower down the
stream, even so we, if under the dispensation of
Dipankara Buddha we fail to attain the Paths and
their fruition, yet when thou shalt become Buddha we
shall be enabled in thy presence to make the paths
and their fruition our own " and so they recorded
their wish (for future sanctification). And Dipankara
Buddha also having praised the Bodhisatta, and made
an offering to him of eight handfuls of flowers,
reverentially saluted him and departed. And the
Arahants also, four hundred thousand in numbers
having made offerings to the Bodhisatta of perfume,
and garlands, reverentially saluted him and departed.
And the devas and men having made the same
offerings, and bowed down to him, went their way.
And the Bodhisatta, when all had retired, rising
from his seat and exclaiming : I will study the
Perfections ", sat himself down cross-legged on a heap
of flowers. And as the Bodhisatta sat thus, the devas
in all the ten thousand worlds assembling shouted
applause. " Venerable hermit Sumedha ", they said,
" all the omen& which have manifested themselves
when former Bodhisattas seated themselves cross-
legged, saying : * We will study the Perfections
all these this day have appeared : assuredly thou shalt
become Buddha. This we know : to whom these
98 BUDDHIST BIRTH STORIES
omens appear, he surely will become Buddha ; do
thou make a strenuous effort and exert thyself".
With these words they lauded the Bodhisatta with
varied praises. Therefore it is said :
80. Hearing these words of the incomparable Sage,
Devas and men delighted, exclaimed, This is a Buddha-
81. A great clamour arises, men and devas in ten thousand
Clap their hands, and laugh, and make obeisance with
82 . c Should we fail, they say, in this Buddha s dispensation ,
Yet in time to come we shall stand before him.
83. As men crossing a river, if they fail to reach the opposite
Gaining the lower ford cross the great river,
84. Even so we all, if we lose this Buddha,
In time to come shall stand before him."
85. The world-knowing DIpankara, the receiver of offerings,
Having celebrated my action, went his way. 1
86. All his disciples of the Buddha that were present saluted
me with reverence,
Men, Nagas, and Gandhabbas bowed down to me and
87. When the Lord of the world with his following had passed
beyond my sight,
Then glad, with gladsome heart, I rose up from my seat.
88. Happy I am by happiness, glad with a great gladness ;
Flooded with rapture then I seated myself cross-legged.
89. And even as thus I sat I thought within myself,
I am trained in Jhana, I have mastered the supernormal
90. In a thousand worlds there are no sages that rival me,
Unrivalled in miraculous powers I have reached this bliss.
91. When thus they beheld me sitting, 2 the dwellers of ten
Raised a mighty shout : Surely thou shalt be a Buddha !
92. The omens 3 beheld in former ages when Bodhisatta sat
The same are beheld this day.
1 Lit., " raised his right foot (to depart)."
2 Lit., " at my sitting cross-legged."
3 Mr. Fausboll writes that yarn is a mistake of the copyist for
THE STORY OF THE LINEAGE 99
93. Cold is dispelled and heat ceases,
This day these things are seen, verily them shalt be
94. A thousand worlds are stilled and silent.
So are they seen to-day, verily thou shalt be Buddha.
95. The mighty winds blow not, the rivers cease to flow,
These things are seen to-day, verily thou shalt be Buddha.
96. All flowers blossom on land and sea.
This day they all have bloomed, verily thou shalt be
97. All creepers and trees are laden with fruit,
This day they all bear fruit, verily thou shalt be Buddha.
98. Gems sparkle in earth and sky,
This day all gems do glitter, verily thou shalt be Buddha.
99. Music earthly and deva-music,
Both these to-day send forth their strains verily thou
shalt be Buddha.
100. Flowers of every hue rain down from the sky,
This day they are seen verily thou shalt be Buddha.
101. The mighty ocean bends itself, ten thousand worlds are
This day they both send up their roar verily thou shalt
102. In hell the fires of ten thousand worlds die out,
This day these fires are quenched verily thou shalt be
103. Unclouded is the sun and all the stars are seen,
These things are seen to-day verily thou shalt be Buddha.
104. Though no rain fell in water that burst forth from the
This day that bursts forth from the earth verily thou
shalt be Buddha.
105. The constellations are all aglow, and the lunar mansions
in the vault of heaven,
Visakha is in conjunction with the moon verily thou shalt
106. Those creatures that dwell in holes and caves depart each
from his lair,
This day these lairs are forsaken verily thou shalt be
107. There is no discontent among mortals, but they are filled
This day all are content verily thou shalt be Buddha.
108. Then diseases are dispelled and hunger ceases,
This day these things are seen verily thou shalt be Buddha
109. Then Lust wastes away, Hate and Dullness perish,
This day all these are dispelled verily thou shalt Le
100 BUDDHIST BIRTH STORIES
110. No danger then comes near ; this day this thing is seen,
By this sign we know it verily thou shalt become Buddha.
111. No dust flies up ; this day this thing is seen,
By this sign we know it, verily thou shalt be Buddha.
112. All noisome odours flee away, divine fragrance breathes
Such fragrance breathes this day verily thou shalt be
113. All the devas are manifested, the Formless only excepted,
This day they all are seen verily thou shalt be Buddha.
114. All the hells become visible,
These all are seen this day verily thou shalt be Buddha.
115. Then walls, and doors, and rocks are no impediment,
This day they have melted into space verily thou shalt
1 16. At that moment death and birth do not take place,
This day these things are seen verily thou ehalt be
117. Do thou make a strenuous effort, hold not back, go forward,
This thing we know verily thou shalt be Buddha.
And the Bodhisatta, having heard the words of
Dlpankara Buddha and of the devas in ten thousand
worlds filled with abounding vigour, thought thus
within himself : " The Buddhas are beings whose
word cannot fail ; there is no deviation from truth
in their speech. For as the fall of a clod thrown into
the air, as the death of a mortal, as the sunrise at
dawn, as a lion s roaring when he leaves his lair, as the
delivery of a woman with child, as all these things
are sure and certain even so the word of the Buddhas
is sure and cannot fail, verily I shall become a
Buddha." Therefore it is said :
118. Having heard the words of Buddha and of the devas of
ten thousand worlds,
Glad, joyous, delighted, I then thought thus within myself ;
119. The Buddhas speak not doubtful words, the Conquerors
speak not vain words,
There is no falsehood in the Buddhas verily I shall
become a Buddha.
120. As a clod cast into the air doth surely fall to the ground,
So the word of the glorious Buddhas is sure and everlasting.
THE STORY OF THE LINEAGE 101
121. As the death of all mortals ig sure and constant,
So the word of the glorious Buddhas is sure and everlasting.
122. As the rising of the sun is certain when night has faded,
So the word of the glorious Buddhas is sure and everlasting.
123. As the roaring of a lion who has left his den is certain,
So the word of the glorious Buddhas is sure and everlasting.
124. As the delivery of women with child is certain,
So the word of the glorious Buddhas is sure and everlasting.
And having thus made the resolution : "I shall
surely become Buddha ", with a view to considering
the conditions that constitute a Buddha, exclaiming :
" Where are the conditions that make the Buddha,
are they found above or below, in the principle or
the minor directions ? " studying successively the
principles of all things, and beholding the first Perfec
tion of Giving, practised and followed by former
Bodhisattas, he thus admonished himself : " Wise
Sumedha, from this time forth thou must fulfil
the perfection of Giving ; for as a water- jar over
turned discharges the water so that none remains,
and cannot recover it, even so if thou, indifferent to
wealth and fame, and wife and child, and goods great
and small, give away to all who come and ask every
thing that they require till nought remains, thou shalt
seat thyself at the foot of the tree of Bodhi and become
a Buddha." With these words he strenuously resolved
to attain the first perfection of Giving. Therefore
it is said :
125. Come, I will search the Buddha-making conditions, this
way and that,
Above and below, in all the ten directions, as far as the
principles of things extend.
126. Then, as I made my search, I beheld the first the Giving-
The high road followed by former sages,
127. Do thou strenuously taking it upon thyself advance
To this first perfection : Giving, if thou wilt attain Buddha-
102 BUDDHIST BIRTH STORIES
128. As a brimming water- jar, overturned by any one,
Discharges entirely all the water, and retains none within,
129. Even so, when thou seest any that ask, great, small, and
Do thou give away all in alms, as the water-jar overthrown.
But considering further : " There must be beside
this, other conditions that make a Buddha ", and
beholding the second Perfection : Moral Practice, he
thought thus : " wise Sumedha.from this day forth
mayest thou fulfil the perfection of Morality ; for as
the yak ox, regardless of his life, guards his bushy
tail, even so thou shalt become Buddha, if from this
day forward regardless of thy life thou keepest the
moral precepts." And he strenuously resolved to
attain the second perfection, Moral Practice. There
fore it is said :
130. The conditions of a Buddha cannot in sooth be so few,
I will study the other conditions that bring Buddhaship
131. Then studying I beheld the second Perfection of Morality
Practised and followed by former sages.
132. This second one do thou strenuously undertake,
And reach the perfection Moral Practice if thou wilt attain
133. And as the yak cow, when her tail has got in aught
Then and there awaits death, and will not injure her tail, 1
134. So also do thou, having fulfilled the moral precepts in the
Ever guard the Sila as the yak guards her tail.
But considering further : " These cannot be the
only Buddha-making conditions", and beholding the
third Perfection of Self-abnegation, he thought thus :
" wise Sumedha, mayest thou henceforth fulfil the
1 viz., I suppose, by dragging it forcibly away. This metaphor,
which to us appears wanting in dignity, is a favourite one with the
Hindus. The tail of the Yak or Tibetan ox (Bos Grunniens] is a
beautiful object, and one of the insignia of Hindu royalty.
THE STORY OF THE LINEAGE 103
perfection of Abnegation ; for as a man long the
denizen of a prison feels no love for it, but is dis
contented, and wishes to live there no more, even so
do thou, likening all births to a prison-house, dis
contented with all births, and anxious to get rid of
them, set thy face toward abnegation, thus shalt thou
become Buddha." And he strenuously made the
resolution to attain the third Perfection of Self-
abnegation. Therefore it is said :
135. For the conditions that make a Buddha cannot be so few,
I will study others, the conditions that bring Buddhaship
136. Studying then I beheld the third Perfection, Abnegation
Practised and followed by former sages.
137. This third one do thou strenuously undertake,
And reach the perfection of abnegation, if thou wilt attain
138. As a man long a denizen of the house of bonds, oppressed
Feels no pleasure therein, but rather longs for release,
139. Even so do thou look upon all births as prison-houses,
Set thy face towards self-abnegation, to obtain release from
But considering further : " These cannot be the
only Buddha-making conditions ", and beholding the
fourth Perfection of Wisdom, he thought thus : "
wise Sumedha, do thou from this day forth fulfil the
Perfection of Wisdom, avoiding no subject of know
ledge, great, small, or middling, 1 do thou approach all
wise men and ask them questions ; for as the mendi
cant friar on his begging rounds, avoiding none of the
families, great and small, that he frequents, 2 and
wandering for alms from place to place, speedily
1 Lit., " not avoiding anything among things great, small, and
a After kind understand kularii, as will be seen from v. 143.
104 BUDDHIST BIRTH STORIES
gets food to support him, even so shalt thou, approach
ing all wise men, and asking them questions, become a
Buddha." And he strenuously resolved to attain the
fourth Perfection, Wisdom. Therefore it is said :
140. For the conditions that make a Buddha cannot be so few,
I will study the other conditions that bring Buddhaship to
141. Studying then I beheld the fourth Perfection : Wisdom
Practised and followed by former sages.
142. This fourth do thou strenuously undertake,
And reach the Perfection of Wisdom, if thou wilt attain
143. And as a monk on his begging rounds avoids no families,
Either small, or great, or middling, and so obtains sub
144. Even so thou, constantly questioning wise men,
And reaching the Wisdom Perfection, shall attain supreme
But considering further : " These cannot be the
only Buddha-making conditions ", and seeing the
fifth Perfection of Exertion, he thought thus : "0
wise Sumedha, do thou from this day forth fulfil the
Perfection of Exertion. As the lion, the king of
beasts, in every action * strenuously exerts himself, so
if thou in all rebirths and in all thy acts art
strenuous in exertion, and not a laggard, thou shalt
become a Buddha ". And he made a firm resolve to
attain the fifth Perfection, Exertion. Therefore it
is said :
145. For the conditions of a Buddha cannot be so few,
I will study the other conditions which bring Buddhaship
146. Studying then I beheld the fifth Perfection : Exertion
Practised and followed by former sages.
147. This fifth do thou strenuously undertake,
And reach the perfection : Exertion, if thou wilt attain
1 Lit., in all postures, walking, standing, etc.
THE STORY OF THE LINEAGE 105
148. As the lion, king of beasts, in lying, standing, and walking
Is no laggard, but ever of resolute heart,
149. Even so do thou also in every existence strenuously exert
And reaching the perfection, Exertion, thou shalt attain
the supreme Buddhaship.
But considering further : " These cannot be the
only Buddha-making conditions ", and beholding
the sixth Perfection of Patience, he thought to him
self : " wise Sumedha, do thou from this time forth
fulfil the Perfection Patience ; be thou patient in
praise and in reproach. And as when men throw
things pure or foul upon the earth, the. earth does not
feel either desire or repulsion towards them, but
suffers them, endures them and consents to them, even
so thou also, if thou art patient in praise and reproach
shalt become a Buddha." And he strenuously
resolved to attain the sixth perfection, Patience.
Therefore it is said :
150. For the conditions of a Buddha cannot be so few,
I will study other conditions also which bring about
151. Studying then I beheld the sixth Perfection of Patience
Practised and followed by former Buddhas.
152. Having strenuously taken upon thee this sixth perfection,
Then with unwavering mind thou shalt attain supreme
153. And as the earth endures all that is thrown upon it,
Whether things pure or impure, and feels neither anger nor
154. Even so enduring the praises and reproaches of all men,
Going on to perfect Patience, thou shalt attain supreme
But further considering : " These cannot be the
only conditions that make a Buddha", and beholding
the seventh Perfection of Truth, he thought thus
within himself : "0 wise Sumedha, from this time
106 BUDDHIST BIRTH STORIES
forth do thou fulfil the perfection of Truth ; though
the thunderbolt descend upon thy head, do thou never
under the influence of desire or otherwise, utter a
conscious lie, for the sake of wealth or anything else.
And as the planet Venus at all seasons pursues her
own course, nor ever goes on another course forsaking
her OWD, even so, if thou forsake not truth and utter
no lie, thou shalt become Buddha ". And he
strenuously turned his mind to the seventh Perfection,
Truth. Therefore it is said :
155. For these are not all the conditions of a Buddha,
I will study other conditions which bring about Buddha-
156. Studying then I beheld the seventh Perfection of Truth
Practised and followed by former Buddhas.
157. Having strenuously taken upon thyself this seventh
Then free from duplicity of speech thou shalt attain
158. And as the Planet Venus, balanced in all her times and
In the world of men and devas, departs not from her path,
159. Even so do thou not depart from the course of truth, 1
Advancing to the perfection of Truth, thou shalt attain
But further considering : " These cannot be the
only conditions that make a Buddha", and beholding
the eighth Perfection of Resolution, he thought thus
within himself : " wise Sumedha, do thou from this
time forth fulfil the perfection of Resolution ; what
soever thou resolvest be thou unshaken in that
resolution. For as a mountain, the wind beating upon
it in all directions, trembles not, moves not, but stands
in its place, even so thou, if unswerving in thy resolu
tion, shalt become Buddha." And he strenuously
1 Lit., depart from thy course in the matter of truthful things.
THE STORY OF THE LINEAGE 107
resolved to attain the eighth Perfection, Resolution.
Therefore it is said :
160. For these are not all the conditions of a Buddha,
I will study other conditions that bring about Buddhaship.
161. (Studying then I beheld the eighth Perfection : Resolution
Practised and followed by former Buddhas.
162. Do thou resolutely take upon thyself this eighth perfection.
Then thou being immovable shalt attain supreme Buddha-
163. And as the rocky mountain, immovable, firmly based,
Is unshaken by many winds, and stands in its own place,
164. Even so do thou also remain ever immovable in resolution,
Advancing to the perfection of Resolution, thou shalt
attain supreme Buddhaship.
But further considering : " These cannot be the
only conditions that make a Buddha", and beholding
the ninth Perfection of Good-will, he thought thus
within himself : " wise Sumedha, do thou from this
time forth fulfil the perfection of Good-will, mayest
thou be of one mind towards friends and foes. And as
water fills with its refreshing coolness good men and
bad alike, 1 even so, if thou art of one mind in friendly
feeling towards all mortals thou shalt become
Buddha." And he strenuously resolved to attain the
ninth perfection of Good-will. Therefore it is said :
165. For these are not all the conditions of a Buddha,
I will study other conditions that bring about Buddhaship.
166. Studying I beheld the ninth Perfection of Good- will
Practised and followed by former Buddhas.
167. Do thou, taking resolutely upon thyself this ninth perfec
Become unrivalled in kindness, if thou wilt become Buddha.
168. And as water fills with its coolness
Good men and bad alike, and carries off all impurity,
169. Even so do thou look with friendship alike on the evil
and the good,
Advancing to the perfection Good-will, thou shalt attain
1 Lit., having made its coldness exactly alike for bad people
and good people, pervades them.
108 BUDDHIST BIRTH STORIES
But further considering : " These cannot be the
only conditions that make a Buddha", and beholding
the tenth Perfection : Equanimity, he thought thus
within himself : "0 wise Sumedha, from this time
do thou fulfil the perfection of Equanimity, be thou
of equal mind in prosperity and adversity. And as
the earth is indifferent when things pure or impure are
cast upon it, even so, if thou art indifferent in
prosperity and adversity, thou shalt become Buddha."
And he strenuously resolved to attain the tenth
Perfection, Equanimity. Therefore it is said :
170. For these cannot be all the conditions of a Buddha,
I will study other conditions that bring about Buddhaship.
171. Studying then I beheld the tenth Perfection : Equanimity
Practised and followed by former Buddhas.
172. If thou take resolutely upon thyself this tenth perfection,
Becoming well-balanced and firm, thou shalt attain
173. And as the earth is indifferent to pure and impure things
cast upon her.
To both alike, and is free from anger and favour,
174. Even so do thou ever be evenly-balanced in joy and grief,
Advancing to the perfection, Equanimity, thou ehalt
attain supreme Buddhaship.
Then he thought : " These are the only conditions
in this world that, bringing Buddhaship to perfection
and constituting a Buddha, have to be fufilled by
Bodhisattas ; beside the ten Perfections there are
no others. And these ten Perfections are neither in
the heaven above nor in the earth below, nor are they
to be found in the east, or the other quarters, but
reside in my heart of flesh." Having thus realized
that the Perfections were established in his heart,
having strenuously resolved to keep them all, grasping
them again and again, he mastered them forwards
THE STORY OF THE LINEAGE 109
and backwards ; * taking them at the end he went
backward to the beginning, taking them at the
beginning he placed them at the end, 2 taking them
at the middle he carried them to the two ends, taking
them at both ends he carried them to the middle.
Repeating : " The Perfections are the sacrifice of
limbs, the Lesser Perfections are the sacrifice of
property, the Unlimited Perfections are the sacrifice
of life", he mastered them as the Perfections, the
Lesser Perfections and the Unlimited Perfections like
one who converts two kindred oils into one, 3 or like
one who, using Mount Meru for his churning-rod,
churns the great Chakkavala ocean. And as he
grasped again and again the ten Perfections, by the
glow of his piety, 4 this earth, four nahutas and eight
hundred thousand leagues in breadth, like a bundle
of reeds trodden by an elephant, or a sugar-mill in
motion, uttering a mighty roar, trembled, shook and
quaked, and spun round like a potter s wheel or the
wheel of an oil-mill. Therefore it is said :
175. These are all the conditions in the world that bring
Buddhaship to perfection ;
Beyond these are no others, therein do thou stand fast.
176. While he grasped these conditions natural and intrinsic, 6
By the power of his piety the earth of ten thousand worlds
177. The earth sways and thunders like a sugar-mill at work,
Like the wheel of an oil- mill so shakes the earth.
1 i.e., alternately from the first to the tenth and from the tenth
to the first.
1 i.e., put the first last.
8 Vijesinha writes to me : " Natural and intrinsic virtues. The
Sinhalese glosa says : paramarthavu rasasahitavu lakshana-cet
nohot svabhavalakshana ha sarvadharmasadharanalaJcsharia-ceti.
In the latter case it would mean having the quality of conformity
with all laws."
110 BUDDHIST BIRTH STORIES
And while the earth was trembling the people of
Ramnia, unable to endure it, like great Sal-trees, over
thrown by the wind that blows at the end of a cycle,
fell swooning here and there, while waterpots and
other vessels, revolving like a jar on a potter s wheel,
struck against each other and were dashed and ground
to pieces. The multitudes in fear and trembling
approaching the Teacher (Dipankara) said : " Tell
us, Blessed one, is this turmoil caused by Nagas, or is
it caused by either demons, or ogres, or by devas ?
for this we know not, but truly this whole multitude
is grievously afflicted. Pray does this portend evil
to the world or good ? Tell us the cause of it." The
Teacher hearing their words said : " Fear not nor be
troubled, there is no danger to you from this. The
wise Sumedha, concerning whom I predicted this
day : * Hereafter he will be a Buddha named Gotama,
is now mastering the Perfections, and while he masters
them and turns them about, by the power of his piety
the whole ten thousand worlds with one accord quake
and thunder." Therefore it is said :
178. All the multitude that was there in attendance on the
Trembling, fell swooning there upon the ground.
179. Many thousands of waterpots and many hundred jars
Were crushed and pounded there and dashed against each
180. Excited, trembling, terrified, confused, their sense dis
The multitudes assembling, approached the Buddha.
181. Say, will it be good or evil to the world ?
The whole world is afflicted, ward off this (danger), thou
182. Then the great Sage Dipankara enjoined upon them,
Be confident, be not afraid at this earthquaking :
183. He of whom I foretold this day, he will be a Buddha in
The same is the law of the past followed by the Conquerors.
THE STORY OF THE LINEAGE 111
184. Therefore while he is pondering fully the norm, the ground
work of a Buddha,
This ten thousand-fold earth of men and of devas is
And the people hearing the Buddha s words, joyful
and delighted, taking with them garlands, perfumes
and unguents, left the city of Kamma, and went to
the Bodhisatta. And having offered their flowers and
other presents, and bowed to him and respectfully
saluted him, they returned to the city of Eamma.
And the Bodhisatta, having made a strenuous
exertion of resolve, rose from the seat on which he
sat. Therefore it is said :
185. Having heard the Buddha s word, their minds were
All of them approaching me again paid me their homage.
186. Having taken upon me the Perfections of a Buddha, having
made firm my resolve,
Having bowed to Dipankara, I rose from my seat.
And as the Bodhisatta rose from his seat, the devas
in all the ten thousand worlds having assembled and
offered him garlands and perfumes, uttered these and
other words of praise and blessing : " Venerable
hermit Sumedha, this day thou hast made a mighty
resolve at the feet of Dipankara Buddha, mayest thou
fulfil it without let or hindrance : fear not nor be
dismayed, may not the slightest sickness visit thy
frame, quickly exercise the Perfections and attain
supreme Buddhaship. As the flowering and fruit-
bearing trees bring forth flowers and fruit in their
season, so do thou also, not letting the right season
pass by, quickly reach the supreme enlightenment,"
and thus having spoken, they returned each one to
his deva-home. Then the Bodhisatta, having
112 BUDDHIST BIRTH STORIES
received the homage of the devas, made a strenuous
exertion of resolve, saying : " Having fulfilled the ten
Perfections, at the end of four asankheyyas and a
hundred thousand cycles I shall become a Buddha."
And rising into the air he returned to Himavanta.
Therefore it is said :
187. As he rose from his seat both devas and men
Sprinkle him with divine and earthly flowers.
188. Both devas and men pronounce their blessing :
A great thing hast thou willed, mayest thou obtain it
according to thy wish.
189. May all dangers be averted, may every sickness vanish,
Mayest thou have no hindrance quickly reach the
190. As when the season is come the flowering trees blossom,
Even so do thou, O mighty one, blossom with the know
ledge of a Buddha.
191. As all the Buddhas have fulfilled the ten Perfections,
Even so do thou, mighty one, fulfil the ten Perfections.
192. As all the Buddhas are awakened on the seat of enlighten
Even so be thou, O mighty one, awakened in
conqueror s wisdom.
193. As all the Buddhas have set rolling the wheel of the Norm,
Even so do thou, O mighty one, set it rolling.
194. As the moon on the mid-day of the month shines in her
Even so do thou, with thy mind at the full, shine in ten
195. As the sun released by Rahu glows fervently in his heat,
Even so, having released mankind, do thou shine in all thy
196. As all the rivers find their way to the great ocean,
Even so may the worlds of men and devas take refuge in
197. The Bodhisatta extolled with these praises, taking on
himself the ten conditions,
Commencing to fulfil these conditions, entered the forest
End of the Story of SumedJta.
And the people of the city of Ramma, having re
turned to the city, kept open house to the Order
with the Buddha at their head. The Teacher having
THE STORY OF THE LINEAGE 113
preached the Doctrine to them, and established them
in the three Kefuges and the other branches (of the
faith), departing from the city of Kamma, living
thereafter his allotted span of life, having fulfilled
all the duties of a Buddha, in due course attained that
Nirvana in which no condition of rebirth remains.
On this subject all that need be said can be learnt from
the narrative in the Buddhavamsa, for it is said in
that work :
198. Then they, having entertained the Chief of the world with
Took refuge in the Teacher DIpankara.
199. Some the Buddha established in the Ilefuges,
Some in the five Precepts, others in the ten.
200. To some he gives the privilege of recluseship, the four
On some he bestows the peerless doctrines of Analysis,
201. To some the Lord of men grants the eight sublime
On some he bestows the three Wisdoms and the six
202. In this order * the Great Sage exhorts the multitude.
Therewith the teaching of the world s Protector was spread
203. He of the mighty jaw, of the broad shoulder, DIpankara by
Procured the salvation of many men, set them free from
204. Beholding persons ripe for salvation, reaching them in an
Evenat a distanceof a hundred thousand leagues, the Great
Sage awakened them.
205. At the first conversion the Buddha awakened a thousand
At the second the Protector awakened a hundred thousand.
206. When the Buddha preached the truth in the deva-world,
There took place a third conversion of nine hundred millions.
207. The Teacher DIpankara had three assemblies,
The first was a meeting of a million millions.
1 Tenayogena. Vij. says : " In that order, viz. in the Sararta-
gamana first, then in the Pancasila, then in the Dasasila, and so
1H BUDDHIST BIRTH STORIES
208. Again when the Conqueror went into seclusion at Narada
A thousand million spotless Arahants met together.
209. When the Mighty One dwelt on the lofty rock Sudassana,
Then the Sage surrounded himself with nine hundred
210. At that time I was an ascetic wearing matted hair, a man of
Moving through the air, accomplished in the five super-
211. The conversion of tens of thousands, of twenties of
thousands, took place,
Of ones and twos the conversions were beyond computa
212. Then did the pure religion of Dipankara Buddha become
Known to many men prosperous and flourishing.
213. Four hundred thousand, possessed of the six superknow-
ledges, endowed with miraculous powers,
Ever attend upon Dipankara, knower of the worlds.
214. Blameworthy are all they who at that time leave the human
Not having obtained final sanctity, still imperfect in
215. The Word shines in the world of men and devas, made to
blossom by saints such as these,
Freed from human passion, spotless.
216. The city of Dipankara Buddha was called Rammavatl,
The khattiya Sumedha was his father, Sumedha his mother.
217. Sumangala and Tissa were his chief disciples,
And Sagata was the servitor of Dipankara Buddha.
218. Nanda and Sunanda were his chief woman-disciples.
The Bodhi-tree of this Buddha is called the Pipphali. 2
219. Eighty cubits in height the Great Sage Dipankara
Shone conspicuous as a Deodar pine, or as a noble Sal-tree
in full bloom.
220. A hundred thousand years was the age of this Great Sage,
And so long as he was living on earth he brought many men
221. Having made the Truth to shine, having saved great
multitudes of men,
Having flamed like a mass of fire, he passed away with his
222. And all this power, this glory, these jewel- wheels on his feet,
All is wholly gone are not all existing things vanity !
223. After Dipankara was the Leader named Kondanya,
Of infinite power, of boundless renown, immeasurable,
1 Lit., " arithmetically innumerable." 2 The Banyan-tree.
THE STORY OF THE LINEAGE 115
Next to the Dipankara Buddha, after the lapse of
one asankheyya, the Teacher Kondanya appeared.
He also had three assemblies of saints, in the first
assembly there were a million millions, in the second
ten thousand millions, in the third nine hundred
millions. At that time the Bodhisatta, having been
born as a universal monarch named Vijitavin, kept
open house to the priesthood with the Buddha at
their head, in number a million of millions. The
Teacher having predicted of the Bodhisatta : " He
will become a Buddha ", preached the Law. He
having heard the Teacher s preaching gave up his
kingdom and left the world. Having mastered the
three Pitakas, having obtained the six superknow-
edges, and having practised Jhana without failure,
he was reborn in the Brahma world. The city of
Kondanya Buddha was Rammavati, the khattiya
Sunanda was his father, his mother was queen Sujata,
Bhadda and Subhadda were his two chief disciples,
Anuruddha was his servitor, Tissa and Upatissa his
chief woman disciples, his Bodhi-tree was the Sala-
kalyani, his body was eighty-eight cubits high, and
the duration of his life was a hundred thousand years.
After him, at the end of one asankheyya, in one
and the same cycle four Buddhas were born, Mangala,
Sumana, Re vat a and Sobhita. Mangala Buddha had
three assemblies of disciples. Of these in the first there
were a million million brethren, in the second ten
thousand millions, in the third nine hundred millions.
It is related that a step-brother of his, prince Ananda,
accompanied by an assembly of nine hundred millions,
went to the Teacher to hear him preach the Law. The
116 BUDDHIST BIRTH STORIES
Teacher gave a discourse dealing successively with
his various doctrines, and Ananda and his whole
retinue attained Arahantship together with the
analytical knowledges. The Teacher looking back
upon the meritorious works done by these men of
family in former lives, and perceiving that they had
merit to acquire the robe and bowl by miraculous
means, stretching forth his right hand exclaimed,
" Come brethren." 1 Then straightway all of them
having become equipped with miraculously obtained
robes and bowls, and perfect in decorum, as if they
were elders of sixty years standing, paid homage to
the Teacher and attended upon him. This was his
third assembly of disciples.
And whereas with other Buddhas a light shone from
their bodies to the distance of eighty cubits on every
side, it was not so with this Buddha, but the light
from his body permanently filled ten thousand worlds ;
trees, earth, mountains, seas, and all other things, not
excepting even pots and pans and such-like articles,
became as it were overspread with a film of gold. The
duration of his life was ninety thousand years, and
during the whole of this period the sun, moon, and
other heavenly bodies could not shine by their own
light, and there was no distinction between night and
day. By day all living beings went about in the light
of the Buddha as if in the light of the sun, and men
ascertained the limits of night and day only by the
flowers that blossomed in the evening and by the birds
and other animals that uttered their cries in the
1 The formula by which a Buddha admits a layman to the
THE STORY OF THE LINEAGE 117
morning. If I am asked: "What, do not other
Buddhas also possess this power ? " I reply :
" Certainly they do, for they might at will fill with
their lustre ten thousand worlds or more. But in
accordance with a vow made by him in a former
existence, the lustre of Mangala Buddha permanently
filled ten thousand worlds, just as the lustre of the
others permanently extended to the distance of a
The story is that when he was performing the
duties of a Bodhisatta, 1 being in an existence corre
sponding to the Vessantara existence, 2 he dwelt with
his wife and children on a mountain like the Vanka
mountain. 3 One day a demon named Kharadathika, 4
hearing of the Bodhisatta s inclination to giving,
approached him in the guise of a brahmin, and asked
the Bodhisatta for his two children. The Bodhisatta,
exclaiming : "I give my children to the brahmin ",
cheerfully and joyfully gave up both children, thereby
causing the ocean-girt earth to quake. 5 The demon
standing by the bench at the end of the cloistered
walk, while the Bodhisatta looked on, devoured the
children like a bunch of roots. Not a particle of
sorrow 6 arose in the Bodhisatta as he looked on the
demon, and saw his mouth as soon as he opened it
disgorging streams of blood like flames of fire, nay,
a great joy and satisfaction welled within him as he
i.e., the Perfections.
i.e., his last birth before attaining Buddhahood.
See Vessantara Jataka, vol. vi, no. 547.
This name means " sharp-fanged ".
In approval of his act of faith.
Lit.," no grief as big as the tip of a hair ".
118 BUDDHIST BIRTH STORIES
thought : " My gift was well given." And he put up
the vow : " By the merit of this deed may rays of
light one day issue from me in this very way." In
consequence of this prayer of his it was that the rays
emitted from his body when he became Buddha filled
so vast a space.
There was also another deed done by him in a former
existence. It is related that, when a Bodhisatta,
having visited the relic shrine of a Buddha, he
exclaimed : "I ought to sacrifice my life for this
Buddha ", and having wrapped round the whole of his
body in the same way that torches are wrapped, and
having filled with clarified butter a golden vessel with
jewelled wick-holders, worth a hundred thousand
pieces, he lit therein a thousand wicks, and having
set fire to the whole of his body beginning with his
head, he spent the whole night in circumambulating
the shrine. And as he thus strove till dawn not the
root of a hair of his head was even heated. It was
as one enters the calyx of a lotus, for religion 1 guards
him who guards himself. Therefore has the Blessed
One said :
224. Well doth religion protect him in sooth who follows it,
Happiness bringeth along in its train religion well practised
This shall be his reward by whom religion is well practised :
Never goeth to misery he who doth practise religion. 2
And through the merit of this work also the bodily
lustre of this Buddha constantly extended through
a Psalms of the Brethren, ver. 303. (Cf. p. 416. Rukkhakatba
" tree-talk " will be a scribe s mistake for rakkha-katha " guard-
talk ", " ward-rune ". Cf. also Sutta-Nipata, ver. 181 ; Jdtaka,
i, 31 ; iv, 496. Ed.
THE STORY OF THE LINEAGE 119
ten thousand worlds. At this time our Bodhisatta, 1
having been bom as the brahmin Suruci, approached
the Teacher with the view of inviting him to his
house, and having heard his sweet discourse, said :
" Lord, take your meal with me to-morrow."
" Brahmin, how many monks do you wish f or ? "
" Nay, but how many monks have you in your
escort ? " At that time was the Teacher s first
assembly, and accordingly he replied : "A million
millions." " Lord, bring them all with you and come
and take your meal at my house." The Teacher
consented. The Brahmin having invited them for
the next day, on his way home thought to himself :
" I am perfectly well able to supply all these monks
with broth and rice and clothes and such like
necessaries, but how can there be room for them to
sit down ? "
This thought of his caused the marble throne of the
deva-king, three hundred and thirty-six thousand
leagues away, to become warm. 2 Sakka exclaiming :
" Who wishes to bring me down from my abode ? "
and looking down with the deva-sight beheld the
Bodhisatta, and said : " The brahmin Suruci having
invited the Order with the Buddha at their head is
perplexed for room to seat them, it behoves me also to
go thither and obtain a share of his merit." And
having miraculously assumed the form of a carpenter,
axe in hand he appeared before the Bodhisatta, and
said : " Has any one got a job to be done for hire ? "
1 Viz. Gotama.
3 When a good man is in difficulty, Sakka is apprised of it by
his marble throne becoming warm.
120 BUDDHIST BIRTH STORIES
The Bodhisatta seeing Mm said : " What sort of work
can you do ? " " There s no art that I do not know ;
any house or hall that anybody orders me to build,
I ll build it for him." " Very well, I ve got a job to be
done." " What is it, sir ? " " I ve invited a million
million bhikkhus for to-morrow, will you buiid a hall
to seat them all? " " I ll build one with pleasure
if you ve the means of paying me." " I have, my
good man." " Very well, I ll build it." And he
went and began looking out for a site. There was a
spot some fifty leagues in extent x as level as a kasina
circle. 2 Sakka fixed his eyes upon it, while he thought
to himself : " Let a hall made of the seven precious
stones rise up over such and such an extent of
ground." Immediately the edifice bursting through
the ground rose up. The golden pillars of this hall
had silver capitals, 3 the pilver pillars had golden
capitals, the gem pillars had coral capitals, the coral
pillars had gem capitals, while those pillars which
were made of all the seven precious stones had capitals
of the same. Next he said : " Let the hall have
hanging wreaths of little bells at intervals", and
looked again. The instant he looked a fringe of bells
hung down ; their musical tinkling, as they were
stirred by a gentle breeze, was like a symphony of the
five sorts of instruments, or as when the heavenly
choirs are going on. He thought : " Let there be
hanging garlands of perfumes and flowers", and there
the garlands hung. He thought : " Let seats and
1 Lit., twelve or thirteen yojanas (a yojana is four leagues).
2 Used in the ecstatic meditation.
3 The Pali word for the capital of a column is ghataka, " little
THE STORY OF THE LINEAGE 121
benches for a million million monks rise up through
the earth ", and straightway they appeared. He
thought : " Let water vessels rise up at each corner of
the building ", and the water vessels arose. Having
by his miraculous power effected all this, he went to
the brahmin and said: " Come, sir, look at your hall,
and pay me my wages."
The Bodhisatta went and looked at the hall, and as
he looked his whole frame was thrilled in every part
with fivefold joy. And as he gazed on the hall he
thought thus within himself : ** This hall was not
wrought by mortal hands, but surely through my
good intention, my good action, the palace of Sakka
became hot, and hence this hall will have been built
by the Sakka the deva-king ; it is not right that in
such a hall as this I should give alms for a single day,
I will give alms for a whole week."
For the gift of external goods, however great, cannot
give satisfaction to the Bodhisattas, but the Bodhi-
sattas feel joy at their self-renunciation when they sever
the crowned head, put out the henna-anointed eyes,
cut out the heart and give it away. For when our
Bodhisatta in the Sivijataka l gave alms in the middle
of his capital, at the four gates of the city, at a daily
expenditure of five bushels of gold coins, this liberality
failed to arouse within him a feeling of satisfaction
at his renunciation. But on the other hand, when
Sakka the deva-king came to him in the disguise of a
brahmin, and asked for his eyes, then indeed, as he
took them out and gave them away, laughter rose
within him, nor did his heart swerve a hair s breadth
1 Jataka, no. 499.
122 BUDDHIST BIRTH STORIES
from its purpose. And hence we see that as regards
almsgiving the Bodhisattas can have no satiety.
Therefore this Bodhisatta also thinking : "I ought
to givealms for seven days to a million million monks",
seated them in that hall, and for a week gave them the
alms called gavapana. 1 Men alone were not able to
wait upon them, but devas themselves, taking turns
with men, waited upon them. A space of fifty leagues
or more sufficed not to contain the monks, yet they
seated themselves each by his own supernatural
power. On the last day, having caused the bowls of
all the monks to be washed, and filled them with
butter clarified and unclarified, honey and molasses,
for medicinal use, he gave them back to them,
together with the three robes. The robes and cloaks
received by novices and ordained priests were worth
a hundred thousand.
The Teacher, when he returned thanks, considering :
" This man has given such great alms, who can he
be ? " and perceiving that at the end of two asan-
kheyyas and four thousand cycles he would become a
Buddha named Gotama, addressing the Bodhisatta,
made this prediction : " After the lapse of such and
such a period thou shalt become a Buddha named
Gotama." The Bodhisatta, hearing the prediction,
thought : "It seems that I am to become a Buddha,
what good can a householder s life do me ? I will
give up the world ", and, treating all this prosperity
like so much drivel, he received ordination at the
hands of the Teacher. And having embraced the
1 According to the gloss printed in the text it is a compound of
milk, rice, honey, sugar, and clarified butter.
THE STORY OF THE LINEAGE 123
ascetic life and learnt the word of Buddha, and having
attained the superknowledges and the Attainments,
at the end of- his life he was reborn in the Brahma
The city of Mangala Buddha was called Uttara ;
his father was the khattiya Uttara : his mother was
Uttara, Sudeva and Dhammasena were his two chief
disciples ; Palita was his servitor, Sivali and Asoka
his two chief woman disciples. The Naga was his
Bodhi-tree. His body was eighty-eight cubits high.
When his death took place, after he had lived ninety
thousand years, at the same instant ten thousand
worlds were involved in darkness, and in all worlds
there was a great cry and lamentation of men.
225. After Kondanya the Leader named Mangala,
Dispelling darkness in the world, held aloft the torch of
And after the Buddha had died, shrouding in
darkness ten thousand worlds, the Teacher named
Sumana appeared. He also had three great assemblies
of disciples, in the first assembly the brethren were
a million millions, in the second, on the Golden
Mountain, ninety million of millions, in the third
eighty million of millions.
At this time the Bodhisatta was the Naga king
A tula, mighty and powerful. And he, hearing that a
Buddha had appeared, left the Naga world, accom
panied by his assembled kinsmen, and, making
offerings with divine music to the Buddha, whose
retinue was a million million brethren, and having
given great gifts, bestowing upon each two garments
124 BUDDHIST BIRTH STORIES
of fine cloth, he was established in the Three Eefuges.
And this Teacher also foretold of him : " One day he
will be a Buddha."
The city of this Buddha was named Khema :
Sudatta was his father, Sirima his mother, Sarana and
Bhavitatta his chief disciples, Udena his servitor,
Sona and Upasona his chief woman-disciples. The
Naga was his Bodhi-tree, his body was ninety cubits
high, and his age ninety thousand years.
226. After Mangala came the Leader named Sumana,
In all things unequalled, the best of all beings.
After him the Teacher Revata appeared. He also
had three assemblies of disciples. In the first assembly
the numbers were innumerable, in the second there
were a million millions, so also in the third.
At that time the Bodhisatta having been born as
the brahmin Atideva, having heard the Teacher s
preaching, was established in the Three Refuges.
And raising his clasped hands to his head, having
praised the Teacher s abandonment of human
passion, he presented him with a monk s upper robe.
That Teacher also made the prediction : " Thou
wilt become a Buddha." Now the city of this Buddha
was called SudhanyavatT, his father was the nobleman
Vipula, his mother Vipula, Varuna and Brahmadeva
his chief disciples, Sambhava his servitor, Bhadda
and Subhadda his chief woman-disciples, and the
Naga-tree his Bo-tree. His body was eighty cubits
high, and his age sixty thousand years.
227. After Sumana came the Leader named Revata,
The Conqueror unequalled, incomparable, unmatched,
THE STORY OF THE LINEAGE 125
After him appeared the Teacher Sobhita. He also
had three assemblies of disciples ; in the first assembly
were a thousand million monks, in the second nine
hundred millions, in the third eight hundred millions.
At that time the Bodisat, having been born as the
brahmin Ajita, and having heard the Teacher s
preaching, was established in the Three Kefuges, and
gave a great donation to the Order of monks, with the
Buddha at their head. This Teacher also prophesied
to him, saying : " Thou wilt become a Buddha."
Sudhamma was the name of the city of this Blessed
One, Sudhamma the king was his father, Sudhamma
his mother, Asama and Sunetta his chief disciples,
Anoma his servitor, Nakula and Sujata his chief
woman-disciples, and the Naga-tree his Bo-tree ;
his body was fifty-eight cubits high, and his age
ninety thousand years.
228. After Revata came the Leader named Sobhita,
Subdued and mild, unequalled and unrivalled.
After him, when an asankheyya had elapsed, three
Buddhas were born in one kalpa Aiiomadassin,
Paduma, and Narada. Anomadassin had three
assemblies of saints ; in the first were eight hundred
thousand monks, in the second seven, in the third six.
At that time the Bodisat was a Yakkha chief,
mighty and powerful, the lord of many millions of
millions of yakkhas. He, hearing that a Buddha had
appeared, came and gave a great donation to the
Order of monks, with the Buddha at their head.
And this Teacher also prophesied to him, saying :
" Hereafter thou wilt be a Buddha." The city of
126 BUDDHIST BIRTH STORIES
Anomadassin the Blessed One was called Chandavati,
Yasava the king was his father, Yasodhara his mother,
Nisabha and Anoma his chief disciples, Varuna his
servitor, Sundarl and Sumana his chief wornan-
disciples, the Arjuna-tree his Bo-tree ; his body was
fifty-eight cubits high, his age a hundred thousand
229. After Sobhita came the perfect Buddha the best of men
Anomadassin of infinite fame, glorious, difficult to surpass.
After him appeared the Teacher named Paduma.
He too had three assemblies of disciples ; in the first
assembly were a million million monks, in the second
three hundred thousand, in the third two hundred
thousand of the monks dwelt at a great grove in the
At that time, whilst the Tathagata was living in
that grove, the Bodisat having been born as a lion,
saw the Teacher plunged in ecstatic trance, and with
trustful heart made obeisance to him, and walking
round him with reverence, experienced great joy,
and thrice uttered a mighty roar. For seven days he
laid not aside the bliss arising from the thought of the
Buddha, but through joy and gladness, seeking not
after prey, he kept in attendance there, offering up
his life. When the Teacher, after seven days,
aroused himself from his trance, he looked upon the
lion and thought : " He will put trust in the Order of
monks and make obeisance to them ; let them draw
near." At that very moment the monks drew near,
and the lion put faith in the Order.
The Teacher, knowing his thoughts, prophesied,
THE STORY OF THE LINEAGE 127
saying : " Hereafter lie will be a Buddha." Now the
city of Paduma the Blessed One was called Champaka,
his father was Paduma the king, his mother Asama,
Sala and Upasala were his chief disciples, Varuna his
servitor, Kama and Uparama his chief woman-
disciples, the Crimson-tree his Bo-tree ; his body was
fifty-eight cubits high, and his age was a hundred
230. After Anomadassin came the perfect Buddha, the bost of
Paduma by name, unequalled, and without a rival.
After him appeared the Teacher named Narada.
He also had three assemblies of saints ; in the first
assembly were a million million monks, in the second
ninety million million, in the third eighty million
At that time the Bodisat, having taken the vows as
a sage, acquired the five Super-knowledges, and the
eight sublime Acquisitions, and gave a great donation
to the Order, with the Buddha at their head, making
an offering of red sandal wood.
That Teacher also prophesied to him : " Hereafter
thou wilt be a Buddha." The city of this Blessed One
was called Dhanyavati, his father was Sumedha the
warrior, his mother Anoma, Bhaddasala and Jeta-
mitta his chief disciples, Vasettha his servitor, Uttara
and Pagguni his chief woman-disciples, the great
Crimson-tree was his Bo-tree ; his body was eighty-
eight cubits high, and his age was ninety thousand
231. After Paduma came the perfect Buddha, the best of men,
Narada by name, unequalled and without a rival.
128 BUDDHIST BIRTH STORIES
After Narada the. Buddha a hundred thousand
world-cycles ago there appeared in one kalpa only
one Buddha called Padumuttara. He also had three
assemblies of disciples ; in the first were a million
million monks, in the second, on the Vebhara
Mountain, nine hundred thousand million, in the third
eight hundred thousand million.
At that time the Bodisat, born as a Mahratta of the
name of Jatila, gave an offering of robes to the Order,
with the Buddha at their head.
That Teacher also prophesied to him : " Hereafter
thou wilt be a Buddha." And at the time of Padu
muttara the Blessed One there were no infidels, but
all, men and devas, took refuge in the Buddha. His
city was called Harhsavati, his father was Ananda the
warrior, his mother Sujata, Devala and Sujata his
chief disciples, Sumana his servitor, Amita and Asama
his chief woman-disciples, the Sal-tree his Bo-tree ;
his body was eighty-eight cubits high, the light from
his body extended twelve leagues, and his age was
a hundred thousand years.
232. After Narada came the perfect Buddha, the best of men,
Padumuttara by name, the Conqueror unshaken, like the
After him, when thirty thousand world-cycles had
elapsed, two Buddhas, Sumedha and Sujata, were
born in one kalpa. Sumedha also had three assem
blies of his saints ; in the first assembly, in the city
Sudassana, were a thousand million sinless ones, in
the second nine hundred, in the third eight hundred.
At that time the Bodisat, born as the brahmin youth
THE STORY OF THE LINEAGE 129
named Uttara, lavished eight hundred millions of
money he had saved in giving a great donation to the
Order, with the Buddha at their head. And he then
listened to the Doctrine, and accepted the Refuges,
and abandoned his home, and took the vows.
That Teacher also prophesied to him, saying : * * Here
after thou wilt be a Buddha." The city of Sumedha
the Blessed One was called Sudassana, Sudatta the
king was his father, Sudatta his mother, Sarana and
Sabbakama his two chief disciples, Sagara his servitor,
Rama and Surama his two chief woman-disciples,
the great Champaka-tree his Bo-tree ; his body was
eighty-eight cubits high, and his age was ninety
233. After Padumuttara came the Leader named Sumedha,
The Sage hard to equal, brilliant in glory, supreme in all
After him appeared the Teacher Sujata. He also
had three assemblies of disciples ; in the first assembly
were sixty thousand monks, in the second fifty, in
the third forty.
At that time the Bodisat was a universal monarch ;
and hearing that a Buddha was born he went to
him and heard the Doctrine, and gave to the Order,
with the Buddha at their head, his kingdom
of the four continents with its seven treasures
and took the vows under the Teacher. All the
dwellers in the land, taking advantage of the birth
of a Buddha in their midst, did duty as servants in
the monasteries, and continually gave great donations
to the Order, with the Buddha at their head. And to
130 BUDDHIST BIRTH STORIES
him also the Teacher prophesied. The city of this
Blessed One was called Sumangala, Uggata the king
was his father, Pabhavati his mother, Sudassana and
Deva his chief disciples, Narada his servitor, Naga
and Nagasamala his chief woman-disciples, and the
great Bambu-tree his Bo-tree % ; this tree, they say,
had smaller hollows and thicker wood than ordinary
bambus have, 1 and in its mighty upper branches it
was as brilliant as a bunch of peacocks tails. The
body of this Blessed One was fifty cubits high, and
his age was ninety thousand years.
234. In that age, the Mandakalpa, appeared the Leader Sujata,
Mighty jawed and grandly framed, whose measure none
can take, and hard to equal.
After him, when eighteen hundred world-cycles had
elapsed, three Buddhas, Piyadassin, Atthadassin,
and Dhammadassin, were born in one kalpa. Piya
dassin also had three assemblies of disciples ; in the
first were a million million monks, in the second nine
hundred million, in the third eight hundred million.
At that time the Bodisat, as a young brahmin
called Kassapa, who had thoroughly learnt the three
Vedas, listened to the Teacher s preaching of the
Doctrine, and built a monastery at a cost of a million
million, and stood firm in the Kefuges and the
Now to him the Teacher prophesied, saying :
" After the lapse of eighteen hundred kalpas thou
wilt become a Buddha." The city of this Blessed One
was called Anoma, his father was Sudinna the king,
1 Compare Jataka no. 20.
THE STORY OF THE LINEAGE 131
his mother Canda, Palita and Sabbadassin Ms chief
disciples, Sobhita his servitor, Sujata and Dhamma-
dinna his chief woman-disciples, and the Piyangu-
tree his Bo-tree. His body was eighty cubits high,
and his age ninety thousand years.
235. After Sujata came Piyadassin, Leader of the world,
Self-taught, hard to match, unequalled, of great glory.
After him appeared the teacher called Atthadassin.
He too had three assemblies of disciples ; in
the first were nine million eight hundred thousand
monks, in the second eight million eight hundred
thousand, and the same number in the third.
At that time the Bodisat, as the mighty ascetic
Susima, brought from heaven the sunshade of
Mandarava flowers, and offered it to the Teacher, who
prophesied also to him. The city of this Blessed One
was called Sobhita, Sagara the king was his father,
Sudassana his mother, Santa and Apasanta his chief
disciples, Abhaya his servitor, Dhamma and Su-
dhamma his chief woman-disciples, and the Champaka
his Bo-tree. His body was eighty cubits high, the
glory from his body always extended over a league,
and his age was a hundred thousand years.
236. In the same age elect Atthadassin, best of men,
Dispelled the thick darkness, and attained supreme
After him appeared the Teacher named Dhamma-
dassin. He too had three assemblies of disciples ;
in the first were a thousand million monks, in the
second seven hundred millions, in the third eight
132 BUDDHIST BIRTH STORIES
hundred millions. At that time the Bodisat, as
Sakka the king of the devas, made an of ering of
sweet-smelling flowers from heaven, and divine music.
That Teacher also prophesied to him. The city of
this Blessed One was called Sarana, his father was
Sarana the king, his mother Sunanda, Paduma and
Phussadeva his chief disciples, Sunetta his servitor,
Khema and Sabbanama his chief woman-disciples,
and the red Kuravaka-tree (called also Bimbijala)
his Bo-tree. His body was eighty cubits high, and his
age a hundred thousand years.
237. In the same age elect the far-famed Dhammadassin
Dispelled the thick darkness, illuminated earth and
After him, ninety-four world-cycles ago, only one
Buddha, by name Siddhattha, appeared in one kalpa.
Of his disciples too there were three assemblies ; in
the first were a million million monks, in the second
nine hundred millions, in the third eight hundred
At that time the Bodisat, as the ascetic Mangala
of great glory and gifted with the powers derived from
super-knowledge, brought a great jambu fruit and
presented it to the Tathagata.
The Teacher, having eaten the fruit, prophesied to
the Bodisat, saying : " Ninety-four kalpas hence thou
wilt become a Buddha." The city of this Blessed One
was called Vebhara, Jayasena the king was his father,
Suphassa his mother, Sambala and Sumitta his chief
disciples, Kevata his servitor, Sivali and Surama his
chief woman-disciples, and the Kanikara-tree his Bo-
THE STORY OF THE LINEAGE 133
tree. His body was sixty cubits high, and his age
a hundred thousand years.
238. After Dhammadassin, the Leader named Siddhattha
Rose like the sun, bringing all darkness to an end.
After him, ninety-two world-cycles ago, two
Buddhas, Tissa and Phussa by name, were born in one
kalpa. Tissa the Blessed One had three assemblies of
disciples ; in the first were a thousand million of
monks, in the second nine hundred millions, in the
third eight hundred millions.
At that time the Bodisat was born as the wealthy
and famous warrior Sujata. When he had taken the
vows and acquired the wonderful powers of a rishi,
he heard that a Buddha had been born ; and taking
a heaven-grown Mandarava lotus, and flowers of the
Paricchattaka-tree, he offered them to the Tathagata
as he walked in the midst of his disciples, and he
spread an awning of flowers in the sky.
To him, too, the Teacher prophesied, saying :
" Ninety- two kalpas hence thou wilt become a
Buddha." The city of this Blessed One was called
Khema, Janasandha the warrior-chief was his father,
Paduma his mother, the god Brahma and Udaya his
chief disciples, Sambhava his servitor, Phussa and
Sudatta his chief woman-disciples, and the Asana-
tree his Bo-tree. His body was sixty cubits high,
and his age a hundred thousand years.
239. After Siddhattha, Tissa, the unequalled and unrivalled,
Of infinite virtue and glory, was the chief Guide of the
After him appeared the Teacher named Phussa. He
too had three assemblies of disciples ; in the first
134 BUDDHIST BIRTH STORIES
assembly were six million monks, in the second five,
in the third three million two hundred thousand.
At that time the Bodisat, born as the warrior
Vijitavi, laid aside his kingdom and, taking the vows
under the Teacher, learnt the three Pitakas, and
preached the Doctrine to the people, and fulfilled the
Perfection of Moral Practice. 1
And the Buddha prophesied to him in the same
manner. The city of this Blessed One was called
Kasi (Benares), Jayasena the king was his father,
Sirima his mother, Surakkhita and Dhammasena his
chief disciples, Sabhiya his servitor, Chala and
Upachala his chief woman-disciples, and the Amalaka-
tree his Bo-tree. His body was fifty-eight cubits
high, and his age ninety thousand years.
240. In the same age elect Phussa was the Teacher supreme,
Unequalled, unrivalled, the chief Guide of the world.
After him, ninety world-cycles ago, appeared the
Blessed One named Vipassin. 2 He too had three
assemblies of disciples ; in the first assembly were
six million eight hundred thousand monks, in the
second one hundred thousand, in the third eighty
At that time the Bodisat, bom as the mighty and
powerful snake king Atula gave to the Blessed One
a golden chair, inlaid with the seven kinds of gems.
To him that Teacher also prophesied, saying :
" Ninety-one world-cycles hence thou wilt become a
Buddha." The city of this Blessed One was called
1 See above, p. 102.
2 We now come to the 7 Buddhas recognized in the older
THE STORY OF THE LINEAGE 135
Bandhumati, Bandhumii the king was his father,
Bandhumatl his mother, Khandha and Tissa his
chief disciples, Asoka his servitor, Chanda and Chanda-
mitta his chief woman-disciples, and the Bignonia (or
Patali-tree) his Bo-tree. His body was eighty cubits
high, the effulgence from his body always reached a
hundred leagues, and his age was a hundred thousand
241. After Phussa, the Supreme Buddha, the best of men,
Vipassin by name, the far-seeing, appeared in the world.
After him, thirty-one world-cycles ago, there were
two Buddhas, called Sikhin and Vessabhu. Sikhin
too had three assemblies of disciples : in the first
were a hundred thousand monks, in the second eighty
thousand, in the third seventy.
At that time the Bodisat, born as king Arindama,
gave a great donation of robes and other things to
the Order with the Buddha at their head, and offered
also a superb elephant, decked with the seven gems
and provided with all things suitable. That Teacher
also prophesied to him, saying : " Thirty-one world-
cycles hence thou wilt become a Buddha." The city
of that Blessed One was called Arunavati, Aruna the
warrior-chief was his father, Pabhavati his mother,
Abhibhu and Sambhava his chief disciples, Kheman-
kura his servitor, Makhela and Paduma his chief
woman-disciples, and the Pundarika-tree his Bo-tree.
His body was thirty-seven cubits high, the effulgence
from his body reached three leagues, and his age was
thirty-seven thousand years.
242. After Vipassin came the Supreme Buddha, the best of men,
Sikhin by name, the Conqueror, unequalled and unrivalled.
136 BUDDHIST BIRTH STORIES
After Mm appeared the Teacher named Vessabhu.
He also had three assemblies of disciples ; in the first
were eight million monks, in the second seven, in the
At that time the Bodisat, born as the king Sudas-
sana, gave a great donation of robes and other things
to the Order, with the Buddha at their head. And
taking the vows at his hands, he became righteous in
conduct, and found great joy in meditating on the
That Teacher also prophesied to him, saying :
" Thirty-one world-cycles hence thou wilt become a
Buddha." The city of this Blessed One was called
Anopama, Suppatita the king was his father, Yasavati
his mother, Sona and Uttara his chief disciples,
Upasanta his servitor, Dama and Sumala his chief
woman-disciples, and the Sal-tree his Bo-tree. His
body was sixty cubits high, and his age sixty thousand
243. In the same age elect, the Conqueror named Vessabhu,
Unequalled and unrivalled, appeared in the world.
After him, in this world-cycle, four Buddhas have
appeared Kakusandha, Konagamana, Kassapa, and
our Buddha. Kakusandha the Blessed One had one
assembly, at which forty thousand monks were present.
At that time the Bodisat, as Khema the king, gave
a great donation, robes and bowls, to the Order, with
the Buddha at their head, and having given also
collyriums and medicines, he listened to the Doctrine
preached by the Teacher, and took the vows.
That Teacher also prophesied to him. The city of
THE STORY OF THE LINEAGE 137
Kakusandha the Blessed One was called Khema,
Aggidatta the Brahman was his father, Visakha the
Brahman woman his mother, Vidhura and Sanjiva
his chief disciples, Buddhija his servitor, Sanaa and
Campaka his chief woman-disciples, and the great
Sirisa-tree his Bo-tree. His body was forty cubits
high, and his age forty thousand years.
244. After Vessabhu came the perfect Buddha, the best of men,
Kakusandha by name, infinite and hard to equal.
After him appeared the Teacher Konagamana. Of
his disciples too there was one assembly, in which were
thirty thousand monks.
At that time the Bodisat, as Pabbata the king,
went, surrounded by his ministers, to the Teacher,
and listened to the preaching of the Doctrine. And
having given an invitation to the Order, with the
Buddha at their head, he kept up a great donation,
giving cloths of silk, and of fine texture, and woven
with gold. And he took the vows from the Teacher s
That Teacher also prophesied to him. The city
of this Blessed One was called Sobhavati, Yannadatta
the brahmin was his father, Uttara the Brahman
woman his mother, Bhiyyosa and Uttara his chief
disciples, Sotthija his servitor, Samuddii and Uttara
his chief woman-disciples, and the Udumbara-tree his
Bo-tree. His body was twenty cubits high, and his
age was thirty thousand years.
245. After Kakusandha came the Perfect Buddha, the best of
Konagamana by name, Conqueror, chief of the world,
supreme among men.
138 BUDDHIST BIRTH STORIES
After him the Teacher named Kassapa appeared in
the world. Of his disciples too there was one assembly,
in which were twenty thousand monks.
At that time the Bodisat, as the brahmin youth
Jotipala, accomplished in the three Vedas, was well
known in earth and sky as the friend of the
potter Ghatikara. Going with him to the Teacher
and hearing the Doctrine, he took the vows ; and
zealously learning the three Pitakas, he glorified, by
faithfulness in duty and in works of supererogation,
the teaching of the Buddha.
That Teacher also prophesied to him. The birth
place of the Blessed One was called Benares, Brahma-
datta the brahmin was his father, Dhanavati of the
brahmin caste his mother, Tissa and Bharadvaja his
chief disciples, Sabbamitta his servitor, Anula, and
Uruvela his chief woman-disciples, and the Nigrodha-
tree his Bo-tree. His body was twenty cubits high,
and his age was twenty thousand years.
246. After Konagamana came the Perfect Buddha, best of men,
Kassapa by name, that Conqueror, king of righteousness,
and giver of light.
Again, in the age in which Dipankara the Buddha
appeared, three other Buddhas appeared also. On
their part no prophecy was made to the Bodisat, they
are therefore not mentioned here ; but in the
commentary, in order to mention all the Buddhas
from this age, it is said :
247. Tanhankara and Medhankara, and ISaranankara,
And the Perfect Buddha Dipankara, and Kondanya best
248. And Mangala, and Sumana, and Revata, and Sobhita the
THE STORY OF THE LINEAGE 139
Anomadassin, Paduma, Narada, Padumuttara,
249. And Sumedha, and Sujata, Piyadassin the famous one,
Atthadassin, Dhammadassin, Siddhattha guide of the
250. Tissa, and Phussa, the enlightened Vipassin, Sikhin,
Kakusandha, Konagamana, and Kassapa too the Guide
251. These were the perfect Buddhas, the sinless ones, the well-
Appearing like suns, dispelling the thick darkness ;
They, and their disciples too, blazed up like flames of fire
and went out.
Thus our Bodisat has come down to us through
four asankheyyas and one hundred thousand ages,
making resolve in the presence of the twenty-four
Buddhas, beginning with Dipankara. But after
Kassapa there is no other Buddha beside the present
So the Bodisat received a prophecy from each of
the twenty-four Buddhas, beginning at Dipankara.
And furthermore in accordance with the saying :
" The resolve (to become a Buddha) only
succeeds by the combination of eight qualifica
tions : being a man, and of the male sex, and
capable of attaining arahantship, association
with the Teachers, renunciation of the world,
perfection in virtue, acts of self-sacrifice, and
he combined in himself these eight qualifications.
And exerting himself according to the resolve he had
made at the feet of Dipankara, in the words :
" Come, I will search for the Buddha-making
conditions, this way and that " ; 1
1 See verse 1 25, above.
140 BUDDHIST BIRTH STORIES
and beholding the Perfections of Giving and the rest
to be qualities necessary for the making of a Buddha,
according to the words :
" Then, as I made my search, I beheld the first
Perfection of Giving " ; l
he came down through many births, fulfilling these
Perfections, even up to his last appearance as
And the rewards which fell to him on his way, as
they fall to all the Bodisats who have resolved to
become Buddhas, are lauded thus :
252. So the men, perfect in every part, and destined to Buddha-
Traverse the long road through thousands of millions of
253. They are not born in hell, nor in the space between the
They do not become consumed by hunger, thirst, and want,
And they do not become small animals, even though born
254. When born among men they are not blind by birth,
They are not hard of hearing, they are not classed among
255. They do not become women ; among hermaphrodites and
They are not found these men destined to Buddha hood.
256. Free from the deadly sins, everywhere pure-living,
They follow not after vain opinions, they perceive the
working of karma.
257. Though they dwell in bright worlds, they are not born
in the mindless.
Nor are they destined to rebirth among the devas in the
Pure Abodes. 2
258. Bent upon renunciation, good men, detached from this
rebirth or that,
They walk as acting for the world s welfare, fulfilling all
1 See verse 126, above.
2 In the four highest of the thirty-one spheres of existence
the devas are mindless, and the five worlds below these are called
the Pure Abodes.
THE STORY OF THE LINEAGE 141
While he was thus fulfilling the Perfections, there
was no limit to the occasions on which he fulfilled
the Perfection of Giving. As, for instance, in the
times when he was the brahmin Akatti, and the
brahmin Sankha, and the king Dhananjaya, and
Maha-sudassana, and Maha-govinda, and the king
Nimi, and the prince Chanda, and the merchant
Visayha, and the king Sivi, and Vessantara. So,
certainly, in the Birth as the Wise Hare, according
to the words l :
259. When I saw one coming for food, I offered my own self,
There is no one like me in giving, such is my Perfection of
he, offering up his own life, acquired the Supreme
Perfection called the Perfection of Giving.
In like manner there is no limit to the way in
which he fulfilled the Perfection of Moral Practice. As,
for instance, in the times when he was the snake king
Silavat, and the snake king Campeyya, the snake king
Bhuridatta, the snake king Chaddanta, and the prince
Alinasattu, son of king Jayaddisa. So, certainly, in
the Sankhapala Birth, according to the words :
260. Even when piercing me with stakes, and striking me with
I was not angry with the sons of Bhoja, such is my Perfec
tion of Moral Practice.
he, offering up himself, acquired the Supreme Perfec
tion, called the Perfection of Moral Practice.
In like manner there is no limit to the way in
which, forsaking his kingdom, he fulfilled the Perfec
tion of Renunciation. As, for instance, in the times
1 All the following verses down to verse 269 are quotations from
142 BUDDHIST BIRTH STORIES
when he was the prince Somanassa, and the prince
Hatthipala, and the wise man Ayoghara in which,
forsaking his kingdom, he fulfilled the Perfection of
Eenunciation. So, certainly, in the Chula-Sutasoma
Birth, according to the words :
261. The kingdom, which was in my power, like spittle I rejected
And rejecting cared not for it, such is my Perfection of
he, renouncing the kingdom for freedom from the
ties of sin, 1 acquired the Supreme Perfection, called
the Perfection of Renunciation.
In like manner, there is no limit to the ways in
which he fulfilled the Perfection of Wisdom. As, for
instance, in the times when he was the wise man
Vidhura, and the wise man Maha-govinda, and the
wise man Kuddala, and the wise man Araka, and the
ascetic Bodhi, and the wise man Mahosadha. So,
certainly, in the time when he was the wise man
Senaka in the Sattubhatta Birth, according to the
262. Searching the matter out by wisdom, I set the brahmin
free from pain,
There is no one like me in wisdom ; such is my Perfection
he, pointing out the snake which had got into the
bellows, acquired the Supreme Perfection called the
Perfection of Wisdom.
So, certainly, in the Maha-Janaka Birth, according
to the words :
263. Out of sight of the shore, in the midst of the waters, all men
are as if dead,
There is no other way of thinking ; such is my Perfection
1 The Sangas, of which there are five lust, hate, ignorance,
pride, and false doctrine.
THE STORY OF THE LINEAGE 143
he, crossing the Great Ocean, acquired the Supreme
Perfection called the Perfection of Resolution.
And so in the Khantivada Birth, according to the
264. Even when he struck me with a sharp axe, as if I were a
I was not angry with the king of Kasi ; such is my Perfec
tion of Patience,
he, enduring great sorrow as if he were a senseless
thing, acquired the Perfection of Patience.
And so in the Maha-Sutasoma Birth, according to
the words :
265. Guarding the word of Truth, and offering up my life,
I delivered the hundred warriors : such is mv Perfection of
he, offering up his life, and observing truth, obtained
the Perfection of Truth.
And in the Mugapakkha Birth, according to the
266. Father and mother I hated not, reputation I hated not,
But all knowledge was dear to me, therefore was I firm
offering up even his life, and being resolute in duty, he
acquired the Perfection of Resolution.
And so in the Ekaraja Birth, according to the
267. No man terrifies me, nor am I in fear of any man ;
Firm in the power of kindness, in purity I take delight,
regarding not even his life while attaining to kindness,
he acquired the Perfection of Good-will.
So in the Somahamsa Birth, according to the words :
268. I lay me down in the cemetery, making a pillow of dead
The village children mocked and praised : to all I was
144 BUDDHIST BIRTH STORIES
he was unshaken in equanimity, even when the
villagers tried to vex or please him by spitting or by
offering garlands and perfumes, and thus he acquired
the Perfection of Equanimity.
This is a summary only, the account will be found
at length in the Chariyd Pitaka.
Having thus fulfilled the Perfections, in his birth
as Vessantara, according to the words :
269. This earth, unconscious though she be and ignorant of
joy or grief,
E en she by my free-giving s mighty power was shaken
he performed such mighty acts of virtue as made the
earth to shake. And when, in the fullness of time, he
had passed away, he reassumed existence in the
Thus should be understood the period, called
Distant, from the Kesolution at the feet of Dipankara
down to this birth in the City of Delight.
II: THE INTEKMEDIATE EPOCH
It was when the Bodisat was thus dwelling in the
City of Delight that the so-called " Buddha procla
mation " took place. For three such " Proclama
tions " take place on earth. These are the three.
When they realize that at the end of a hundred
thousand years a new dispensation will begin, devas
of the next world who are called World-arrangers, with
their hair flying and dishevelled, with weeping faces,
wiping away their tears with their hands, clad in red
THE STORY OF THE LINEAGE 145
garments, and with their clothes all in disorder,
wander among men, and make proclamation,
" Sirs, one hundred thousand years from now there
will be a new dispensation ; this world-system will
be destroyed ; even the sea will dry up ; this gieat
earth, with Sineru the monarch of mountains, will
be burned up and destroyed ; and the whole world
up to the Brahma-realms, will pass away. And so,
sirs, exercize love, pity, sympathy and equanimity,
cherish the mother, cherish the father, honour the
elders in your families." This is called the proclama
tion of an Age [Kappahalahala].
Again, when they realize that at the end of a
thousand years an omniscient Buddha will appear on
earth, the deva-guardians of the world go from place
to place and make proclamation, saying : " Sirs, at
the end of a thousand years from this time a Buddha
will appear on earth." This is called the proclamation
of a Buddha [Buddha-halahala].
Again, when devas realize that at the end of a
hundred years a universal monarch will appear, they
go from place to place and make proclamation,
saying : " Sirs, at the end of a hundred years from
this time a universal monarch will appear on earth."
This is called the proclamation of a Universal monarch
These are the three great proclamations.
When of these three they hear the Buddha-pro
clamation, the devas of the entire ten thousand world-
systems assemble together ; and having ascertained
who will become the Buddha, they go to him and
146 BUDDHIST BIRTH STORIES
beseech him to do so, so beseeching him when the
first signs appear [that his present life is drawing to
its close]. Accordingly on this occasion they all,
with the governors in each world, 1 assembled in one
world, and going to the future Buddha in the world
of bliss (Tusita), they besought him, saying :
" Sir, when thou wast fulfilling the Ten Perfec
tions, thou didst not do so from a desire for the
state of world-governor Sakka, or Mara, or Brahma
or of a mighty king upon earth ; thou wast fulfilling
them with the hope of reaching all-knowledge for
the sake of the salvation of mankind ! Now has the
moment come, sir, for thy Buddhahood ; now, sir,
has the time arrived ! "
But the Great Being, as if he had not granted the
prayer of the devas, reflected in succession on the
following five important points, viz. the time ; the
country; the family ; the mother ; and her age-limit.
Of these he first reflected on the TIME, thinking :
" Is this the time or not ? " And on this point he
thought : " When the time of the span of life has
grown to be upwards of a hundred thousand years,
the time has not arrived. Why not ? Because in
such a period men perceive not that living beings are
subject to birth, decay, and death ; the thrice-
marked pearl of the preaching of the gospel of the
Buddhas is not ; and when the Buddhas speak of the
impermanence of all things, of the universality of
sorrow, and of the delusion of individuality, people
1 The names are given in the text ; the four Maharajas, Sakka,
Suyama, Santusita, Paranimitta-vasavatti, and Maha-Brahma.
They are the governors in the different worlds (Chakkavala) of
the Buddhist cosmogony.
THE STORY OF THE LINEAGE 147
will neither listen [nor believe, saying : What is
this they talk of ? At such a time there can be no
understanding, and without that the teaching will
not lead to salvation. That therefore is not the time.
Neither is it the right time when the span of life is
under one hundred years. Why not ? Because then
sin is rife among men ; and admonition addressed to
the sinners does not endure, but like a streak drawn
on the water vanishes quickly away. That therefore
is not the time. When, however, the span of life is
under a hundred thousand and over a hundred years
that is the proper time." Now at that time the span
of (earth) life was one hundred years. The Great
Being therefore saw that the time of his advent had
Then reflecting upon the COUNTRY, and considering
the four great continents with their surrounding
islands, 1 he thought : " In three of the continents the
Buddhas are not born, but in Jambudvlpa they are
born," and thus he decided on the country.
Then reflecting upon THE DISTRICT, and thinking :
" Jambudvlpa indeed is large, ten thousand leagues in
extent ; now in which district of it do the Buddhas
appear ? " he fixed upon the Middle Country. 2 And
1 In the seas surrounding each continent (Mahadipa) there are
five hundred islands. See Hardy s Manual of Buddhism, p. 13.
- Majjhima-desa, of which the commentator adds : " This is
the country thus spoken of in the Vinaya," quoting the passage
at Mahdvagga, v. 13, 12, which gives the boundaries as follows :
" To the E. the town Kajangala, and beyond it Mahasala ; to the
S.E. the river Salalavati ; to the S. the town Setakannika ;
to the W. the brahman town and district Thuna ; and to the N.
the Usiraddhaja Mountain." These are different from the
boundaries of the Madhya Desa of later Brahminical literature,
148 BUDDHIST BIRTH STORIES
calling to mind that the town named Kapilavatthu
was in that country, he concluded that he ought to be
born in it.
Then reflecting on THE FAMILY, he thought : " The
Buddhas are not born in the Vessa caste, nor the
Sudda caste ; but either in the Brahmin or in the
Khattiya caste, whichever is then held in the highest
repute. The Khattiya caste is now predominant, I
must be born in it, and Suddhodana the chief will be
my father." Thus he beheld the family.
Then reflecting on THE MOTHER, he thought : " The
mother of a Buddha is not lustful, or corrupt as to
drink, but has fulfilled the Perfections for a hundred
thousand ages, and from her birth upwards has kept
the five Precepts unbroken. Now this lady Maha
Maya is such an one, she will be my mother." And
further considering how long her life should last, he
foresaw that it would still last ten months and seven
Having thus reflected on these five important points
he favoured the devas by consenting : " The time has
arrived, sirs, for me to become a Buddha." He then
dismissed them with the words and promise " Do
you go " ; and attended by the devas of the world of
Bliss (Tusita), he entered the grove of Gladness
(Nandana) in the City of Bliss.
Now in each of the deva-worlds there is such a
on which see Lassen s Indische Alterthumskunde, vol. i, p. 119
(2nd edition). This sacred land was regarded as the centre of
Jambudvipa ; that is, of the then known world just as the
Chinese talk of China as the Middle Country, and as other people
have looked on their own capital as the navel or hub of the world,
and on their world as the centre of the universe.
THE STORY OF THE LINEAGE 149
grove of Gladness ; and there the devas are wont to
remind any one of them who is about to depart of the
opportunities he has gained by good deeds done in
a former birth, saying to him : " When hence
deceased go to a good destiny." And thus he also,
when walking about there, surrounded by devas re
minding him of his acquired merit, departed thence,
and was conceived in the womb of the Lady Maha
In order to explain this better, the following is the
account in fuller detail. At that time, it is said, the
Midsummer festival was proclaimed in the City of
Kapilavatthu, and the people were enjoying the feast.
During the seven days before the full moon the Lady
Maha Maya had taken part in the festivity, as free
from drunkenness as it was brilliant with garlands
and perfumes. On the seventh day she rose early and
bathed in perfumed water : and she distributed four
hundred thousand pieces in giving great largesse.
Decked in her richest attire she partook of the purest
food : and steadfast in the rites of the feast she
entered her beautiful chamber, and lying on her royal
couch she fell asleep and dreamt this dream.
The four Guardians of the world, lifting her up in
her couch, carried her to the Himalaya mountains,
and placing her under the Great Sal-tree, seven
leagues high, on the Crimson Plain, sixty yojanas
broad, they stood respectfully aside. Their queens
then came toward her, and taking her to the Jake of
Anotatta, bathed her to free her from human stains ;
and dressed her in heavenly garments ; and anointed
her with perfumes ; and decked her with heavenly
150 BUDDHIST BIRTH STORIES
flowers. Not far from there is the Silver Hill, within
which is a golden mansion ; in it they spread a
heavenly couch, with its head towards the East, and
on it they laid her down. Then the future Buddha,
who had become a superb white elephant, and was
wandering on the Golden Hill, not far from there,
descended thence, and ascending the Silver Hill,
approached her from the North. Holding in his
silvery trunk a white lotus flower, and uttering a far-
reaching cry, he entered the golden mansion, and
thrice doing obeisance to his mother s couch, he
gently struck her right side, and seemed to enter her
Thus was he conceived at the end of the Midsummer
festival. And the next day, having awoke from her
sleep, she related her dream to the raja. The raja
had sixty-four eminent brahmins summoned, and
had costly seats spread on a spot made ready for the
state occasion with green leaves and dalbergia flowers,
and he had vessels of gold and silver filled with delicate
milk-rice compounded with ghee and sweet honey,
and covered with gold and silver bowls. This food
he gave them, and he satisfied them with gifts of new
garments and of tawny cows. And when he had thus
satisfied their every desire, he had the dream told to
them, and then he asked them : " What will come
of it ? "
The brahmins said : "Be not anxious, sire ! your
queen has conceived : and the fruit of her womb will
1 It is instructive to notice that in later accounts it is soberly
related as actual fact that the Bodisat entered his mother s womb
as a white elephant : and the Incarnation scene is occasionally
so represented in Buddhist sculptures.
THE STORY OF THE LINEAGE 151
be a man-child ; it will not be a woman-child. You
will have a son. And he, if he adopts a householder s
life, will become a king, a Universal Monarch ; but if,
leaving his home, he adopt the religious life, he will
become a Buddha, who will remove from the world
the veils of ignorance and sin."
Now at the moment when the future Buddha made
himself incarnate in his mother s womb, the con
stituent elements of the ten thousand world-systems
at the same instant quaked, and trembled, and were
shaken violently. The Thirty-two Good Omens also
were made manifest. In the ten thousand world-
systems an immeasurable light appeared. The blind
received their sight, as if from very longing to behold
this his glory. The deaf heard the noise. The dumb
spake one with another. The crooked became
straight. The lame walked. All prisoners were freed
from their bonds and chains. In each hell the fire was
extinguished. In the realm of the Petas hunger and
thirst were allayed. The wild animals ceased to be
afraid. The illness of all who were sick was allayed.
All men began to speak kindly. Horses neighed, and
elephants trumpeted gently. All musical instruments
gave forth each its note, though none played upon
them. Bracelets and other ornaments jingled of them
selves. All the heavens became clear. A cool soft
breeze wafted pleasantly for all. Bain fell out of
due season. Water, welling up from the very earth,
overflowed. 1 The birds forsook their flight on high.
1 I think this is the meaning of the passage, though Prof.
Childers has a different rendering of the similar phrase at verse
104, where I would read " it " instead of " vegetation ". Compare
Dafhdvamsa, i, 45,
152 BUDDHIST BIRTH STORIES
The rivers stayed their waters flow. The sea became
sweet water. Everywhere its surface was covered with
lotuses of every colour. All flowers blossomed on land
and in water. The trunks, and branches, and twigs
of trees were covered with the bloom appropriate to
each. On earth tree-lotuses sprang up by sevens
together, breaking even through the rocks : and
hanging-lotuses were born in the sky and rained
down everywhere a rain of blossom. In the sky deva-
music was played. The ten thousand world-systems
revolved, and rushed as close together as a bunch of
gathered flowers ; and became as it were a woven
wreath of worlds, as sweet-smelling and resplendent
as a mass of garlands, or as a sacred altar decked with
From the moment of the conception, thus brought
about, of the future Buddha, four devas with swords
in their hands, stood guard over the Bodisat, and his
mother, to shield them from all harm. Pure in
thought, having reached the highest aim and the
highest honour, the mother was happy and unwearied;
she saw the child within her as plainly as one could
see a thread passed through a transparent gem. 1
But as a womb in which a future Buddha has dwelt,
like a sacred relic shrine, can never be occupied by
another ; the mother of the Bodisat, seven days after
his birth, died, and was reborn in the City of Bliss.
Now other women give birth, some before, some
after, the completion of the tenth month, some sitting,
1 I once saw a notice of some mediaeval frescoes in which the
Holy Child was similarly represented as visible within the Virgin s
womb, but have unfortunately mislaid the reference.
THE STORY OF THE LINEAGE 153
and some lying down. Not so the mother of a Bodisat.
She gives birth to the Bodisat standing, after she has
cherished him in her womb for exactly ten months,
this is a distinctive quality of the mother of a Buddha
And queen Maha Maya, when she too had thus
cherished the Bodisat in her womb, like oil in a vessel,
for ten months, felt herself far gone with child : and
wishing to go to her family home she spake to King
Suddhodana, and said :
" Sire, I wish to go to Devadaha, to the city of my
The king, saying : " It is good," consented, and
had the road from Kapilavatthu to Devadaha made
plain, and decked with arches of plaintain-trees, and
well filled water-pots, and flags, and banners. And
seating the queen in a golden palanquin carried by a
thousand attendants, he sent her away with a great
Now between the two towns there is a pleasure-
grove of sal-trees belonging to the people of both cities,
and called the Lumbini grove. At that time, from the
roots to the topmost branches, it was one mass of
fruits and flowers ; and amidst the blossoms and
branches swarms of various-coloured bees, and flocks
of birds of different kinds roamed warbling sweetly.
The whole of the Lumbini grove was like a wood of
variegated creepers, or the well-decorated banqueting
hall of some mighty king. The queen beholding it was
filled with the desire of besporting herself in the
sal-tree grove ; and the attendants carrying the
queen, entered the wood. When she came to the
154 BUDDHIST BIRTH STORIES
monarch sal-tree of the glade, she wanted to take
hold of a branch of it, and the branch bending down,
like a reed heated by steam, approached within reach
of her hand. Stretching out her hand she took hold
of the branch, and then karma-born winds shook her.
The people, drawing a curtain round her, retired.
Standing, and holding the branch of the sal-tree, she
That very moment the four pure-minded Maha
Brahmas came there bringing a golden net ; and
receiving the future Buddha on that net, they placed
him before his mother, saying : "Be joyful, Lady !
a mighty son is born to thee ! "
Now other living things, when they leave their
mother s womb, leave it smeared with offensive and
impure matter. Not so a Bodisat. The future
Buddha left his mother s womb like a preacher
descending from a pulpit or a man from a ladder,
erect, stretching out his hands and feet, unsoiled by
any impurities from contact with his mother s womb,
pure and fair, and shining like a gem placed on
fine muslin of Benares. But though this was so, two
showers of water came down from heaven in honour of
them and refreshed the Bodisat and his mother, and
cleansed her body.
From the hands of the Brahmas who had received
him in the golden net, the Four Kings received him
on cloth of antelope skins, soft to the touch, such as
are used on occasions of royal state. From their
hands men received him on a roll of fine cloth ; and on
leaving their hands he stood up upon the ground and
looked towards the East. Thousands of world-
THE STORY OF THE LINEAGE 155
systems became visible to him like a single open
space. Men and devas offering him sweet-smelling
garlands, said : " great man, there is no other like
thee, how then a greater ? " Searching the ten
directions 1 and finding no one like himself, he took
seven strides, saying : " This is the best direction."
And as he walked the Great Brahma held over him
the white umbrella, and the Suyama followed him
with the fan, and other devas with the other symbols
of royalty in their hands. Then, stopping at the
seventh step, he sent forth his noble voice and shouted
the shout of victory, beginning with : "I am the
chief of the world." 2
Now the future Buddha in three births thus uttered
his voice immediately on leaving his mother s womb ;
in his birth as Mahosadha, in his birth as Vessantara,
and in this birth. In the Mahosadha birth the deva-
king Sakka came to him as he was being born, and
placing some fine sandal-wood in his hand, went
away. He came forth from the womb holding this
in his fist. His mother asked him : " What is it you
hold, dear, as you come ? " He answered, " Herb-
medicine, mother ! " So because he came holding
this they gave him the name of Herb-medicine child
(Osadhadaraka). Taking the medicine they kept
it in a chatty (an earthenware water-pot) ; and it
became a drug by which all the sickness of the blind
and deaf and others, as many as came, was healed,
so the saying sprang up : " This is a great osadha !
1 N., S., E., W., four intermediate to these, the zenith and
2 The Madurattha Vilasinl adds the rest : " I am supreme in
the world ; this is my last birth ; henceforth there will be no
rebirth for me."
156 BUDDHIST BIRTH STORIES
this is a great osadha ! " and hence he was called
Mahosadha (The Great Herb-medicine Man).
Again, in the Vessantara birth, as he left his
mother s womb, he stretched out his right hand,
saying : " But is there anything in the house,
mother ? I would give a gift." Then his mother,
saying, " You are born, dear, in a wealthy family,"
took his hand in hers, and placed on it a bag containing
Lastly, in this birth he sang the song of victory. 1
Thus, the future Buddha in three births uttered his
voice as he came out of his mother s womb. And as
at the moment of his conception, so at the moment
of his birth, the thirty-two Good Omens were seen.
Now at the very time when our Bodisat was born
in the Lumbini grove, the lady mother of Rahula, 2
Channa the attendant, Kaludayi the minister,
Kanthaka the royal horse, the great Bo-tree, and the
four vases full of treasure, also came into being. Of
these last, one was two miles, one four, one six, and
one eight miles in size. These seven are called the
Sahajata, the Connatal Ones. 3
1 Lit., roared the lion-roar ; a term for a manifesto of self-
2 Wife of Gotama Buddha.
3 There is some mistake here, as the list contains nine or if
the four treasures count as one, only six Connatal Ones. I think
before Kaludayi we should insert Ananda, the loving disciple.
So Alabaster and Hardy ( Wheel of the Law, p. 106 ; Manual of
Buddhism, p. 146). Bigandet also adds Ananda, but calls him
the son of Amittodana, which is against the common tradition
(Life or Legend of Gaudama, p. 36, comp. my Buddhism, p. 52).
The legend is certainly, as to its main features, an early one, for
it is also found, in greatly exaggerated and contradictory terms,
in the books of Northern Buddhists (Lalita Vistara, Foucaux,
p. 97, Beal, p. 53 ; cf. Senart, p. 294).
THE STORY OF THE LINEAGE 157
The people of both towns took the Bodisat and
went to Kapilavatthu. On that day too, companies
of devas in the next, the Tavatimsa world, were
astonished and joyful ; and waved their robes and
rejoiced, saying, " In Kapilavatthu, to Suddhodana
the king a son is born, who, seated under the Bo-
tree, will become a Buddha."
At that time an ascetic named Kaja Devala, a
confidential adviser of Suddhodana the king, who
had passed through the eight stages of religious
attainment, 1 had eaten his midday meal, and
had gone to the Tavatimsa world for his midday
rest. Whilst there sitting resting, he saw these
devas, and asked them : " Why are you thus
glad at heart and rejoicing ? Tell me the reason
The devas replied : " Sir, to Suddhodana the king is
born a son, who, seated under the Bo-tree, will become
a Buddha, and will found a Kingdom of Righteous
ness. 2 To us it will be given to see his infinite grace
and to hear his word. Therefore it is that we are
glad ! "
The ascetic, hearing what they said, quickly came
down from the deva-world, and entering the king s
house, sat down on the seat set apart for him, and
said : " A son they say is born to you, king ! let
me see him."
The king ordered his son to be clad in splendour
and carried in to salute the ascetic. But the future
Buddha turned his feet round, and planted them on
2 DhammacaJckam pavattessati. See my Buddhism, p. 45.
158 BUDDHIST BIRTH STORIES
the matted hair of the ascetic. 1 For in that birth
there was no one worthy to be saluted by the Bodisat,
and if these ignorant ones had placed the head of the
future Buddha at the feet of the ascetic, assuredly the
ascetic s head would have split in two. The ascetic
rose from his seat, and saying : " It is not right for me
to work my own destruction," he did homage to the
Bodisat. And the king also seeing this wonder did
homage to his own son.
Now the ascetic had the power of calling to mind
the events of forty ages (kalpas) in the past, and of
forty ages in the future. Looking at the marks of
future prosperity on the Bodisat s body, he considered
with himself : " Will he become a Buddha or not ? "
And perceiving that he would most certainly become
a Buddha, he smiled, saying : " This is a wonder-
man." Then reflecting : " Will it be given to me to
behold him when he has become a Buddha ? " he
perceived that it would not. " Dying before that time
I shall be reborn in the formless world ; so that while
a hundred or perhaps a thousand Buddhas appear
among men, I shall not be able to go and be taught
by them. And it will not be my good fortune to
behold this so wonderful man when he has become
a Buddha. Great, alas, is my loss ! " And he
The people seeing this, asked, saying : " Our
1 It was considered among the brahmins a sign of holiness to
wear matted or platted hair. This is referred to in the striking
Buddhist verse (Dhammapada, v, 394) : " What is the use of
platted hair, O fool ! What of a garment of skins ! Your low
yearnings are within you, and the outside you make clean ! "
THE STORY OF THE LINEAGE 159
master just now smiled, and has now begun to weep !
Will, sir, any misfortune befall our master s child ? " *
There is no misfortune in him ; assuredly he will
become a Buddha," was the reply.
" Why then do you weep ? "
" It will not be granted to me," he said, " to behold
so great a man when he has become a Buddha. Great,
alas, is my loss ! bewailing myself, I weep."
Then reflecting : " Will it be granted or not to any
one of my relatives to see him as a Buddha ? " he
saw it would be granted to his nephew, the boy
Nalaka. So he went to his sister s house, and said
to her, " Where is your son Nalaka ? "
" In the house, brother."
" Call him," said he. When he came he said to him,
" In the family of Suddhodana the king, dear, a son
is born, a young Buddha. In thirty-five years he will
become a Buddha, and it will be granted you to see
him. This very day give up the world ! "
Bearing in mind that his uncle was not a man to
urge him without a cause, the young man, though bom
in a family of incalculable wealth, 2 straightway took
out of the inner store a yellow suit of clothes and an
earthenware pot, and shaved his head and put on the
robes. And saying : "I leave the world for the sake
of him who is the greatest person on earth," he
prostrated himself on the ground and raised his
joined hands in adoration towards the Bodisat. Then
putting the begging bowl in a bag, and carrying it on
1 " Our master " (ayyo) is here, of course, the sage. It is a
pretty piece of politeness, not unfrequent in the Jatakas, to
address a stranger as a relation. See below, Jataka no. 3.
2 Literally " worth eighty and seven times a ko^i ", both
eighty and seven being lucky numbers. v
160 BUDDHIST BIRTH STORIES
his shoulder, lie went to the Himalaya mountains,
and lived the life of a monk.
When the Tathagata had attained to complete
Enlightenment, Nalaka went to him and heard the
way of salvation. 1 He then returned to the Himalayas
and reached Arahantship. And when he had lived
seven months longer as a pilgrim along the most
excellent Path, he passed away when standing near
a Golden Hill, by that final passing away in which no
source of rebirth remains. 2
Now on the fifth day they bathed the Bodisat s
head, saying : " Let us perform the rite of choosing
a name for him." So they perfumed the king s house
with four kinds of odours, and decked it with
Dalbergia flowers, and made ready rice well cooked
in milk. Then they sent for one hundred and eight
brahmins who had mastered the three Vedas, and
seated them in the king s house, and gave them the
pleasant food to eat, and did them great honour, and
asked them to recognize the signs of what the child
Among them :
270. Rama, and Dhaja, and Lakkhana, and Mantin,
Kondanya and Bhoja, Suyama and Sudatta,
These eight brahmins then were there,
Their senses all subdued ; and they declared the charm.
Now these eight brahmins were recognizers of
signs ; it was by them that the dream on the night of
1 Literally "and caused him to declare, Nalaka-course. "
Of. the Najaka-sutta, in Sutta-Nipaka, v. 679-723. Tathagata,
" gone, or come, in like manner ; subject to the fate of all
men," is an adjective applied originally to all mortals, but
afterwards used as a favourite epithet of Gotama. Childers
compares the use of " Son of Man ".
2 Anupadisesaya Nibbana-dhatuya parinibbdyi.
THE STORY OF THE LINEAGE 161
conception had been interpreted. Seven of them
holding up two fingers prophesied in the alternative,
saying : " If a man having such marks should remain
a householder, he becomes a Universal Monarch ;
but if he takes the vows, he becomes a Buddha."
And, so saying, they declared all the glory and power
of a Chakkavatti king.
But the youngest of all of them, a young brahmin,
whose family name was Kondanya, beholding the
perfection of the auspicious marks on the Bodisat,
raised up one finger only, and prophesied without
ambiguity, and said : " There is no sign of his
remaining amidst the cares of household life. Verily,
he will become a Buddha, and remove the veils of
sin and ignorance from the world."
This man already, under former Buddhas, had made
a deep resolve of holiness, and had now reached his
last birth. Therefore it was that he surpassed the
other seven in wisdom ; that he perceived how the
Bodisat would only be subject to this one life ; and
that, raising only one finger, he so prophesied, saying :
" The lot of one possessed of these marks will not be
cast amidst the cares of household life. Verily, he
will become a Buddha ! "
Now those brahmins went home, and addressed
their sons, saying : " We are old, dear ones ; whether
or not we shall live to see the son of Suddhodana the
king after he has gained all-knowledge, do you, when
he has gained all-knowledge, take the vows according
to his religion." And after they all seven had lived
out their span of life, they passed away and were
reborn according to their deeds.
162 BUDDHIST BIRTH STORIES
But the young brahmin Kondanya was in good
health ; and for the sake of the wisdom of the Great
Being he left all that he had and made the great
renunciation. And coming in due course to Uruvela,
he thought : " Behold how pleasant is this place !
how suitable for the exertions of a young man desirous
of wrestling with sin." So he took up his residence
And when he heard that the Great Being had left
the world, he went to the sons of those brahmins, and
said to them : " Siddhattha the prince has taken the
vows. Assuredly he will become a Buddha. If your
fathers were in health they would to-day leave their
homes, and go forth : and now, if you should so desire,
come, I will leave the world in imitation of him." But
all of them were not able to agree with one accord :
three did not give up the world ; the other four made
Kondanya the brahmin their leader, and left
the world. It was those five who came to be called
" the Company of the Five Elders ".
Then the king asked : " After seeing what, will
my son forsake the world ? "
" The four Omens " was the reply.
" Which four ? "
" A man worn out by age, a sick man, a dead body,
and a monk."
The king thought : " From this time let no such
things come near my son. There is no good in my son s
becoming a Buddha. I should like to see my son
exercising rule and sovereignty over the four great
continents and the two thousand islands that surround
them ; and walking, as it were, in the vault of heaven,
THE STORY OF THE LINEAGE 163
surrounded by an innumerable retinue." * Then
so saying, he placed guards two miles apart in the
four directions to prevent men of those four kinds
coming to the sight of his son.
That day also, of eighty thousand clansmen
assembled in the festival hall, each one dedicated a
son, saying : " Whether this child becomes a Buddha
or a king, we give each a son ; so that if he shall
become a Buddha, he shall live attended and honoured
by Khattiya monks, and if he shall become a king,
he shall live attended and honoured by nobles." 2
And the raja appointed nurses of great beauty, and
free from every fault, for the Bodisat. So the Bodisat
grew up in great splendour and surrounded by an
Now one day the king held the so-called Ploughing
Festival. On that day they ornament the town like a
palace of the gods. All the slaves and servants, in new
garments and crowned with sweet-smelling garlands,
assemble in the king s house. For the king s work a
thousand ploughs are yoked. On this occasion one
hundred and eight minus one were, with the oxen-
reins and cross-bars, ornamented with silver. But
the plough for the king to use was ornamented with
red gold ; and so also the horns and reins and goads
of the oxen.
The king leaving his house with a great retinue,
took his son and went to the spot. There there was a
jambu-tree thick with leaves and giving a dense shade.
1 Literally "a retinue thirty-six leagues in circumference",
where " thirty-six " is a mere sacred number.
8 Khattiya (Kshatriya) was the warrior caste.
164 BUDDHIST BIRTH STORIES
Under it the raja had the child s couch laid out ; and
over the couch a canopy spread inlaid with stars of
gold, and round it a curtain hung. Then leaving a
guard there, the raja, clad in splendour and attended
by his ministers, went away to plough.
At such a time the king takes hold of a golden
plough, the attendant ministers one hundred and eight
minus one silver ploughs, and the peasants the rest
of the ploughs. Holding them they plough this way
and that way. The raja goes from one side to the
other, and comes from the other back again.
On this occasion the king had great success ; and the
nurses seated round the Bodisat, thinking : " Let us
go to see the king s glory ", came out from within the
curtain, and went away. The future Buddha, looking
all round, and seeing no one, got up quickly, seated
himself cross-legged, and holding his breath, sank
into the first Jhana. 1
The nurses, engaged in preparing various kinds of
food, delayed a little. The shadows of the other trees
turned round, but that of the jambu-tree remained
steady and circular in form. The nurses, remembering
their young master was alone, hurriedly raised the
curtain and returned inside it. Seeing the Bodisat
sitting cross-legged, and that miracle of the shadow,
they went and told the raja, saying : " Sire ! the
prince is seated in such and such a manner ; and
while the shadows of the other trees have turned,
that of the jambu-tree is fixed in a circle ! "
And the raja went hurriedly and saw that miracle,
1 A state of religious meditation. A full explanation is given
in my Buddhism, pp. 174-6.
THE STORY OF THE LINEAGE 165
and did homage to his son, saying : " This, dear,
is the second homage paid to thee ! "
But the Bodisat in due course grew to manhood.
And the king had three mansions made, suitable for
the three seasons, one nine stories high, one seven
stories high, and one five stories high ; and he
provided him with forty thousand dancing girls. So
the Bodisat, surrounded by well-dressed dancing
girls, like a deva surrounded by troops of nymphs,
and attended by musical instruments which played
of themselves, lived, as the seasons changed, in
each of these mansions in enjoyment of great
prosperity. And the mother of Kahula was his
Whilst he was thus in the enjoyment of great
prosperity the following talk sprang up in the public
assembly of his clansmen : " Siddhattha lives devoted
to pleasure ; not one thing does he learn ; if war
should break out, what would he do ? "
The king sent for the future Buddha, and said to
him : " Your relations, dear one, say that you learn
nothing, and are given up to pleasure : now what do
you think you should do about this ? "
" Sire, there is no art it is necessary for me to
learn. Have the drum-beater about the city, that I
may show my skill. Seven days from now I will show
my kindred what I can do."
The king did so. The Bodisat assembled those so
skilled in archery that they could split even a hair, and
shoot as quick as lightning ; and then, in the midst of
the people, he showed his relatives his twelve-fold skill,
and how unsurpassed he was by other masters of the
166 BUDDHIST BIRTH STORIES
bow. 1 So the assembly of Ms clansmen doubted no
Now one day the future Buddha, wanting to go to
his pleasure ground, told his charioteer to harness his
chariot. The latter accordingly decked the gloriously
beautiful chariot with all its trappings, and harnessed
to it four state horses of the Sindhi breed, and white
as the leaves of the white lotus flower. And he
informed the Bodisat. So the Bodisat ascended the
chariot, resplendent like a mansion in the skies, and
went towards the garden.
The devas thought : " The time for young Sid-
dhattha to attain Enlightenment is near, let us show
him the Omens." And they did so by making a son
of the devas represent a man wasted by age, with
decayed teeth and grey hair, bent and broken down
in body, and with a stick in his hand. But he was
only visible to the future Buddha and his charioteer.
Then the Bodisat asked his charioteer, as is told
in the Mahapadana 2 : " What kind of man is this,
whose very hair is not as that of other men ? " When
he heard his servant s answer, he said : " Shame then
be upon life ! since the old age of what is born is
evident ! " and with agitated heart he turned back at
that very spot and re-entered his palace.
The king asked : " Why does my son turn back so
hurriedly ? "
" He has seen an old man," they said, " and having
seen an old man, he will forsake the world."
" By this you ruin me," exclaimed the raja ;
1 A gloss adds, " This should be understood as is related
fully in the Sarabhanga Jatalca " (no. 522).
2 Dialogues of the Buddha, ii, p. 18.
THE STORY OF THE LINEAGE 167
" quickly get ready plays to be performed before my
son. So long as he continues in the enjoyment of
pleasure, he will not turn his thoughts to forsaking
the world ! " Then increasing the guards, he placed
them at each point of the compass, at intervals of
half a league.
Again, one day, when the future Buddha, as he was
going to his pleasure ground, saw a sick man repre
sented by the devas, he made the same inquiry as
before ; and then, with agitated heart, turned back
and re-entered his palace. The king also made the
same inquiry, and gave the same orders as before ;
and again increasing the guard, placed them all
round as far as three gavutas.
Once more, when the future Buddha, as he was
going to his pleasure ground, saw a dead man repre
sented by the gods, he made the same inquiry as
before ; and then, with agitated heart, turned back
and re-entered his palace. The king also made the
same inquiry, and gave the same orders as before ;
and again increasing the guard, placed them all
round as far as a league.
Once again, when the future Buddha, as he was
going to his pleasure ground, saw one who had aban
doned the world, carefully and decently clad, he asked
his charioteer : " Friend, what kind of man is that ? "
As at that time there was no Buddha at all in the
world, the charioteer understood neither what a
recluse was nor what were his distinguishing character
istics ; but nevertheless, inspired by the devas, he
said, " That is a recluse " ; and described the
advantages of renouncing the world. And that day
168 BUDDHIST BIRTH STORIES
the future Buddha, cherishing the thought of re
nouncing the world, went on to his pleasure ground.
The repeaters of the Digha Nikaya, 1 however, say
that he saw all the four Omens on the same day, and
then went to his pleasure ground. There he enjoyed
himself during the day and bathed in the beautiful
lake ; and at sunset seated himself on the royal
resting stone to be robed. Now his attendants
brought robes of different colours, and various kinds
of ornaments, and garlands, and perfumes, and
ointments, and stood around him,
At that moment the throne on which Sakka was
seated became warm. 2 And thinking to himself :
" Who is it now who wants me to descend from
hence ? " he perceived that the time for the adorn
ment of the future Buddha had come. And he said
to Vissakamma : " Friend Vissakamma, the young
noble Siddhattha, to-day, at midnight, will carry
out the Great Renunciation. This is the last time
he will be clad in splendour. Go to the pleasure
ground and adorn him with heavenly array."
By the miraculous power which devas have,
he accordingly, that very moment, drew near
in the likeness of the royal barber ; and taking from
1 The members of the Buddhist Order of almsmen (bhikkhus)
were in the habit of selecting some book or books of the Buddhist
Scriptures, which it was their especial duty to learn by heart,
repeat to their pupils, study, expound, and preach from. Thus
the DlgJia Nikaya, or collection of long treatises, had a special
school of repeaters (bhariaka) to itself.
2 At critical moments in the lives of persons of importance
in the religious legends of Buddhist India, the seat of the deva-
governor Sakka becomes warm. Fearful of losing his temporary
bliss, he then descends himself, or sends Vissakamma, the Buddhist
Vulcan, to act as a deus ex machina, and put things straight.
THE STORY OF THE LINEAGE 169
the barber s hand the material for the turban, he
arranged it round the Bodisat s head. At the touch
of his hand the Bodisat knew : " This is no man, it is
a son of the devas." When the first round of the
turban was put on, there arose, by the appearance of
the jewel on the diadem, a thousand folds ; when
the turban was wrapt the second time round, a
thousand folds arose again ; when ten times, ten
thousand folds appeared. How so many folds could
seem to rise on so small a head is beyond imagination ;
for in size the largest of them were as the flower of the
Black Piyangu creeper, and the rest even as Kutum-
baka blossoms. And the head of the future Buddha
became like a Kuyyaka flower in full bloom.
And when he was arrayed in all his splendour the
musicians the while exhibiting each one his peculiar
skill, the brahmins honouring him with words of joy
and victory, and the men of lower station with festive
cries and shouts of praise ; he ascended his superbly
At that time Suddhodana the king, who had heard
that the mother of Rahula had brought forth a son,
sent a message, saying : " Make known my joy to
my son ! " The future Buddha, hearing this, said :
" An impediment has come into being, a bond has
come into being." When the king asked : " What
did my son say ? " and heard that saying, he gave
command : " From henceforth let Kahula (impedi
ment) be my grandson s name." But the Bodisat,
riding in his splendid chariot, entered the town with
great magnificence and exceeding glory.
At that time a noble maiden, Kisa Gotami by name,
170 BUDDHIST BIRTH STORIES
had gone to the flat roof of the upper story of her
palace, and she beheld the beauty and majesty of the
Bodisat as he was proceeding through the city.
Pleased and delighted at the sight, she burst forth
into this song of joy :
271. Blessed indeed is that mother
Blessed indeed is that father
Blessed indeed is that wife
Of whom such an one is master !
Hearing this, the Bodisat thought to himself : " On
catching sight of such an one the heart of his mother is
made happy, the heart of his father is made happy,
the heart of his wife is made happy ! So she says.
But in peace as to what can the heart be at peace ? "
And to him whose mind was estranged from sin the
answer came : " When the fire of lust is gone out,
then peace is gained ; when the fires of hatred and
delusion are gone out, then peace is gained ; when the
troubles of mind, arising from vain conceits, opinions,
and all other corruptions have ceased, then peace
is gained ! Sweet is the lesson this singer makes me
hear, for the going out which is Peace is that which
I have been trying to find out. This very day I will
break away from household cares ! I will renounce
the world ! I will follow only after the Nirvana itself ! l
1 The force of this passage is due to the fullness of meaning
which, to the Buddhist, the words Nibbuta and Nibbdnam convey.
No words in western languages cover exactly the same ground,
or connote the same ideas. To explain them fully to anyone
unfamiliar with Indian modes of thought would be difficult
anywhere, and impossible in a note ; but their meaning is pretty
clear from the above sentences. Where in them, in the song, the
words blessed, happy, peace, and the words gone out, ceased, occur,
nibbuta stands in the original in one or other of its two meanings ;
THE STORY OF THE LINEAGE 171
Then loosing from his neck a string of pearls worth
a hundred thousand, he sent it to Kisa Gotami as a
teacher s fee. Delighted at this, she thought : " Prince
Siddhattha has fallen in love with me, and has sent
me a present." But the Bodisat, on entering his
palace in great splendour, reclined on a couch of
Thereupon women clad in beautiful array, skilful
in the dance and song, and lovely as deva-maidens,
brought their musical instruments, and ranging them
selves in order, danced, and sang, and played delight
fully. But the Bodisat, his heart being estranged
from sin, took no pleasure in the spectacle, and fell
And the women, saying : " He for whose sake we
were performing is gone to sleep ? Why should we
weary ourselves ? " laid aside the instruments they
held, and lay down to sleep. Lamps fed with sweet-
smelling oil were burning. The Bodisat, waking up,
sat cross-legged on the couch, and saw those women
with their music truck laid aside and sleeping some
drivelling at the mouth spittle-besprinkled, some
grinding their teeth, some snoring, some muttering
in their sleep, some gaping, and some with their
dress in disorder plainly revealed as mere horrible
occasions of worldly ways.
Seeing this change in their appearance, he became
more and more unfain of sense-desires. To him that
where in them the words Nirvana, going o>it which is Peace
occur, Nibbdnam stands in the original. Nirvana is a lasting
state of happiness and peace, to be reached by the extinction of
172 BUDDHIST BIRTH STORIES
magnificent apartment, as splendid as Sakka s
residence, began to seem like a great area laden with
divers offal, like a enamel-field full of corpses. Life,
whether in the worlds subject to passion, or in the
other worlds of form, or in the formless worlds,
seemed to him like staying in a house that had become
the prey of devouring flames. 1 An utterance of
intense feeling broke from him " It all oppresses
me ! It is intolerable ! " and his mind turned ardently
to the state of those who have renounced the world.
Resolving that very day to accomplish the Great
Renunciation, he rose from his couch, went to the
door and called out : " Who is there ? "
Channa, who had been sleeping with his head on the
threshold, answered : " It is I, sir, Channa."
Then said he : "I want to-day to accomplish the
Great Renunciation saddle me a horse."
So Channa saying : Very good, sire, and taking
harness, went to the stable-yard, and entering the
stables saw by the light of the lamps Kanthaka, prince
of steeds, standing at a pleasant spot under a canopy
of cloth, beautified with a pattern of jasmine flowers.
" This is the very one I ought to saddle to-day,"
thought he ; and he saddled Kanthaka.
Even whilst he was being saddled the horse knew :
"He is saddling me so tightly and not as on other
days for such rides as those to the pleasure grounds,
because my master is about to-day to carry out the
1 Lit., " The three Bhavas seemed like houses on fire." The
three Bhavas are existence in the Kama-loka, the Rupa-loka,
and the Arupa-loka respectively ; that is, existence in the worlds
whose inhabitants are subject to passion, who have material
forms, but not passion, and have no forms respectively.
THE STORY OF THE LINEAGE 173
Great Kenunciation." Then, glad at heart, he
neighed a mighty neigh ; and the sound thereof
would have penetrated over all the town, had not
the devas stopped the sound and let no one hear it.
Now after the Bodisat had sent Channa on this
errand, he thought : "I will just look at my son."
And rising from his cross-legged sitting he went to the
apartments of Rahula s mother, and opened her
chamber door. At that moment a lamp, fed with
sweet-smelling oil, was burning dimly in the inner
chamber. The mother of Rahula was asleep on a bed
strewn with many jasmine flowers, 1 and resting her
hand on the head of her son. Stopping with his foot
on the threshold, the Bodisat thought, " If I lift her
hand to take my son, she will awake ; and that will
prevent my going away. I will come back and see
him when I have become a Buddha." And he left the
Now what is said in the Jataka commentary : "At
that time Rahula was seven days old," is not found in
the other commentaries. Therefore the view given
above should be accepted. 2
And when the Bodisat had left the palace, he went
to his horse, and said : " Dear Kanthaka, do thou
bear me over this once to-night ; so that I, having
become a Buddha by thy help, shall bear over the
world of men and devas." Then leaping up, he seated
himself on Kanthaka s back.
1 Lit., " about an ammana (i.e. five or six bushels) of the large
jasmine and the Arabian jasmine."
2 The Jataka Commentary here referred to is, no doubt, the
older commentary of Elu, or old Singhalese, on which the present
work is based.
174 BUDDHIST BIRTH STORIES
Kanthaka was eighteen cubits in length from the
nape of his neck, and of proportionate height ; he
was strong and fleet, and white all over like a clean
chank shell. If he should neigh or paw the ground,
the sound would penetrate through all the town.
Therefore the devas so muffled the sound of his
neighing that none could hear it ; and placed, at each
step, the palms of their hands under his feet.
The Bodisat rode on the excellent back of the
excellent steed ; told Channa to catch hold of its tail,
and arrived at midnight at the great gate of the city.
Now the king thinking : "In that way the Bodisat
will not be able at any time to open the city gate and
get away ", had placed a thousand men at each of the
two gates to stop him. The Bodisat was mighty and
strong according to the measure of elephants as ten
thousand million elephants, and according to the
measure of men as a million million men. He thought :
" If the door does not open, sitting on Kanthaka s
back with Channa holding his tail, I will press Kan
thaka with my thighs, and jumping over the city
rampart, eighteen cubits high, I will get away ! "
Channa thought : "If the door is not opened, I will
take my master on my neck, and putting my right
hand round Kanthaka s girth, I will hold him close
to my waist, and so leap over the rampart and get
away ! " Kanthaka thought : "If the door is not
opened, I will spring up with my master seated as he
is on my back, and Channa holding by my tail, and
will leap over the rampart and get away ! " And if
the door had not been opened, verily one or other of
hose three would have accomplished that whereof
THE STORY OF THE LINEAGE 175
lie had thought. But the deva residing at the gate
At that moment Mara came there with the intention
of stopping the Bodisat ; and standing in the air, he
exclaimed : "Go not forth sir ! in seven days from
now the treasure-wheel will appear, and will make you
sovereign over the four continents and the two
thousand adjacent isles. Stop, my lord ! "
" Who are you ? " said he.
" I am Vasavatti," was the reply.
" Mara ! Well do I know that the treasure- wheel
would appear to me ; but it is not sovereignty that I
desire. I shall become a Buddha, and make the ten
thousand world-systems shout for joy."
Then thought the Tempter to himself : " Now, from
this time forth, whenever a thought of lust or anger or
malice shall arise within you, I will get to know of it."
And he followed him, ever watching for some slip, as
closely as a shadow which never leaves its object.
But the future Buddha, making light of the
kingdom of the world, thus within his reach casting
it away as one would spittle left the city with great
honour on the full-moon day of Asalhi, when the moqn
was in the Uttarasalha lunar mansion (i.e. on the
1st July). And when he had left the city a desire
sprang up within him to look back upon it ; and the
instant he did so the broad earth revolved like a
potter s wheel, and was stayed : saying as it were to
him : "0 great man, there is no need for you to stop
in order to fulfil your wish." So the Bodisat, with his
face towards the city, gazed at it ; and he fixed at
that place a spot for The Shrine of Kanthaka s
176 BUDDHIST BIRTH STORIES
Staying. And keeping Kanthaka in the direction in
which he was going, he went on with great honour and
For then, they say, devas in front of him carried
sixty thousand torches, and behind him too, and on
his right hand, and on his left. And while some devas
undefined on the edge of the horizon, held torches
aloft ; other devas, and the Nagas, and Winged
Creatures, and other superhuman beings, bore him
company doing homage with heavenly perfumes,
and garlands, and sandal-wood powder, and incense.
And the whole sky was full of Paricchattaka flowers
as with the pouring rain when thick clouds gather.
Divine songs floated around : and on every side
thousands of musical instruments sounded, as when
the thunder roars in the womb of the sea, or the ocean
heaves against the boundaries of the world !
Advancing in this pomp and glory, the Bodisat, in
that one night, passed beyond three kingdoms, and
arrived, at the end of thirty leagues, at the bank of the
river called Anoma. But why could not the horse go
still further ? It was not through want of power : for
he could go from one edge of the world s disc to the
other, as easily as one could step across the cir
cumference of a wheel lying on its side ; and doing
this in the forenoon, he could return and eat the food
prepared for him. But on this occasion he was
constantly delayed by having to drag himself along,
and break his way through the mass of garlands and
flowers, cast down from heaven in such profusion by
the devas, and the Nagas, and the Winged Creatures,
that his very flanks were hid. Hence it was that he
only got over thirty leagues.
THE STORY OF THE LINEAGE 177
Now the Bodisat, stopping at the river side, asked
Channa : " What is this river called ? "
" Its name, sire, is Anoma."
" And so also our leaving the world shall be called
Anoma (illustrious)," said he ; and signalling to his
horse, by pressing it with his heel, the horse sprang
over the river, five or six hundred yards in breadth,
and stood on the opposite bank.
The Bodisat, getting down from the horse s back,
stood on the sandy beach, extending there like a sheet
of silver, and said to Channa : " Good Channa, do
thou now go back, taking my ornaments and
Kanthaka. I am going to leave the world."
" But I also, sire, will leave the world."
Thou canst not be allowed to leave the world, do
thou go back," he said. Three times he refused this
request of Channa s ; and he delivered over to him
both the ornaments and Kanthaka.
Then he thought ; " These locks of mine are not
suited for a recluse. Now it is not right for any one
else to cut the hair of a future Buddha, so I will cut
them off myself with this sword." Then, taking his
sword in his right hand, and holding the plaited
tresses, together with the diadem on them, with his
left, he cut them off. So his hair was thus reduced to
two inches in length, and curling from the right, it lay
close to his head. It remained that length as long as
he lived, and the beard the same. There was no need
at all to shave either h air or beard any more.
The Bodisat, saying to himself : "HI am to become
a Buddha, let it stand in the air ; if not, let it fall to
the ground ", threw the hair and diadem together as
178 BUDDHIST BIRTH STORIES
he held them towards the sky. The plaited hair and
the jewelled turban went a league off and stopped in
the air. Sakka, the deva-king, caught sight of it with
his deva-eye, and receiving it into a jewel casket, a
league high, he placed it in Tavatimsa, in the Dagaba
of the Diadem.
272. Cutting off his hair, with pleasant perfumes sweet,
The supreme person cast it to the sky.
The thousand-eyed one, Sakka, by his head,
Received it humbly in a golden casket.
Again the Bodisat thought : " This my raiment of
Benares muslin is not suitable for a recluse." Now
the great Brahma Ghatikara, who had formerly been
his friend in the time of Kassapa Buddha, 1 was led by
his friendship, which had not grown old in that long
interval, to think : " To-day my friend is accomplish
ing the Great Renunciation, I will go and provide him
with the requisites of a recluse.
273. The three robes, and the alms bowl,
Razor, needle, and girdle,
And a water strainer these eight
Are the wealth of the monk devout.
Taking these eight requisites of a recluse, he gave
them to him. The Bodisat dressed himself in the
banner of an Arahant , and adopted the sacred garb
of Renunciation ; and he enjoined upon Channa to go
and, in his name, assure his parents of his safety. And
Channa did homage to the Bodisat reverently, and
Now Kanthaka stood listening to the Bodisat as he
talked with Channa. And thinking: "From this
1 See above, p. 51.
THE STORY OF THE LINEAGE 179
time forth I shall never see my master more ! " he was
unable to bear his grief. And going out of their sight,
he died of a broken heart; and was reborn in
Tavatimsa as a deva, with the name of Kanthaka. So
far the sorrow of Channa had been but single ; now
torn with the second sorrow of Kanthaka J s death, he
returned, weeping and bewailing, to the city.
But the Bodisat, having renounced the world, spent
seven days in a mango grove called Anupiya, hard by
that spot, in the j oy of renunciation. Then he went on
foot in one day to Rajagaha, a distance of thirty
leagues, 1 and entering the city, begged his food from
door to door. The whole city at the sight of his
beauty was thrown into commotion, as was
Rajagaha by the entrance of Dhana-palaka, or like
the deva-city by the entrance of the governor of
The guards went to the king and said, describing
him : " Sire, such and such a being is coming for
alms through the town. We cannot tell whether he
is a deva, or a man, or a Naga, or a Supanna, 2 or
what he is."
1 The word rendered league is i/ojana, said by Childers (Pali
Diet, s.v.) to be twelve miles, but really only between seven and
eight miles. See my Ancient Coins and Measures, pp. 16, 17. The
thirty yojanas here mentioned, together with the thirty from
Kapilavatthu to the river Anoma, make together sixty, or four
hundred and fifty miles from Kapilavatthu to Rajagaha, which
is far too much for the direct distance. There is here, I think,
an undersigned coincidence between Northern and Southern
accounts ; for the Lalita Vistara (Chap, xvi, at the commence
ment) makes the Bodisat go to Rajagaha via Vesali, and this
would make the total distance exactly sixty yojanas.
2 These are the superhuman Snakes and Winged Creatures,
who were supposed, like the gods or angels, to be able to assume
the appearance of men.
180 BUDDHIST BIRTH STORIES
The king, watching the great man from his palace,
became full of wonder, and gave orders to his guards,
saying, "Go, I say, and watch. If it is a super
human being, he will disappear as soon as he leaves
the city ; if a deva, he will depart through the air ;
if a snake, he will dive into the earth ; if a man, he
will eat the food just as it is."
But the great man collected mixed food. And
when he perceived there was enough to support him,
he left the city by the gate at which he had entered.
And seating himself, facing towards the East, under
the shadow of the Pandava rock, he began to eat his
meal. His stomach, however, turned, and made as if
it would come out of his mouth. Then, though
distressed by that revolting food, for in that birth he
had never even beheld such food with his eyes, he
himself admonished himself, saying : " Siddhattha,
it is true thou wast born in a family where food and
drink were easily obtainable, into a state of life where
thy food was perfumed third-season s rice, with
various curries of the finest kinds. But ever since
thou didst see one clad in a mendicant s garb, thou
hast been thinking : When shall I become like him,
and live by begging my food ? would that that time
were come ! And now that thou hast left all for
that very purpose, what is this that thou art doing ? "
And overcoming his feelings, he ate the food.
The king s men saw this, and went and told him
that had happened. Hearing what his messengers
said, the king quickly left the city, and approaching
the Bodisat, was so pleased at the mere sight of his
dignity and grace, that he offered him all his kingdom.
THE STORY OF THE LINEAGE 181
The Bodisat said ; "In me, king ! there is no
desire after wealth or sinful pleasures. It is in the
hope of attaining to complete enlightenment that I
have left all." And when the king gained not his
consent, though he asked it in many ways, he said :
" Assuredly thou wilt become a Buddha ! Deign at
least after thy Buddhahood to come to my kingdom
This is here concisely stated ; but the full account,
beginning : "I sing the Renunciation, how the Wise
One renounced the world ", will be found on referring
to the Pabbajja Sutta x and its commentary.
And the Bodisat, granting the king s request, went
forward on his way. And joining himself to Alara
Kalama, and to Uddaka, son of Rama, he acquired
their systems of ecstatic trance. But when he saw
that that was not the way to enlightenment, he left
off applying himself to the realization of that system
of Attainment. And with the intention of carrying
out the Great Struggle against sin, and showing his
might and resolution to devas and men, he went to
Uruvela. And saying : " Pleasant, indeed, is this
spot ! " he took up his residence there, and devoted
himself to the Great Struggle. 2
1 See Sutta Nipata, vers. 405-24.
2 The Great Struggle played a great part in the Buddhist system
of moral training ; it was the wrestling with the flesh by which a
true Buddhist overcame delusion and sin, and attained to Nirvana.
It is best explained by its four-fold division into 1. Mastery over
the passions. 2. Suppression of sinful thoughts. 3. Meditation
of the seven kinds of Enlightenment (Bodhi-anga, see Buddhism,
p. 173) ; and 4. Fixed attention, the power of preventing the
mind from wandering. It is also called Sammappadhana, Right
Effort, and a formula alluded to in many Suttas. The system
was, of course, not worked out at the time here referred to ; but
182 BUDDHIST BIRTH STORIES
And those five recluses, Kondanya and the rest, 1
begging their way through villages, market towns, and
royal cities, met with the Bodisat there. And for
six years they stayed by him and served him, while
he was carrying out the Great Struggle, with different
kinds of service, such as sweeping out the hermitage,
and so on ; thinking the while : " Now he will become
a Buddha ! now he will become a Buddha ! "
Now the Bodisat thought : "I will perform the
uttermost penance/ And he brought himself to live
on one seed of the oil-plant, or one grain of rice, and
even to fast entirely ; but devas gathered the sap of
life and infused it into him through the pores of his
skin. By this fasting, however, he became as thin as
a skeleton ; the colour of his body, once fair as gold,
became dark ; and the thirty-two signs of a great
man disappeared. And one day, when walking up
and down, plunged in intense meditation, he was
overcome by severe pain ; and he fainted, and fell.
Then certain of the devas began to say : " He is
dead." But others said : " Such is the way of
saints." And those who thought he was dead
went and told Suddhodana the king, saying : " Your
son is dead."
" Did he die after becoming a Buddha, or before ? "
" He was unable to attain to Buddhahood, and fell
down and died in the midst of the Great Struggle."
throughout the chronicle the biographer ascribes to Gotama from
the beginning, a knowledge of the whole Buddhist theory as
afterwards elaborated. For to our author that theory had no
development, it was Eternal and Immutable Truth already
revealed by innumerable previous Buddhas.
1 See above, p. 62.
THE STORY OF THE LINEAGE 183
When the king heard this, he refused to credit it,
saying : " I do not believe it. My son could never die
without attaining to Enlightenment ! "
If you ask : " Why did not the king believe it ? "
it was because he had seen the miracles at the foot of
the jambu-tree, and on the day when Kala Devala
had been compelled to do homage to the Bodisat. 1
And the Bodisat recovered consciousness again, and
stood up. And those devas went and told the king,
Your son, king, is well." And the king said :
" I knew my son was not dead."
And the great being s six years penance became
noised abroad, as when the sound of a great bell is
heard in the sky. But he perceived that penance was
not the way to enlightenment ; and begging through
the villages and towns, he collected ordinary material
food and lived upon it. And the thirty-two signs of a
great man appeared again upon him, and his body
became fair in colour, like unto gold.
Then the five attendant monks thought : " This
man has not been able, even by six years penance, to
attain all-knowledge ; how can he do so now, when
he goes begging through the villages, and takes
material food ? He is altogether lost in the struggle.
To think of getting spiritual eminence through him
is like a man, who wants to bathe his head, thinking
of using a dewdrop. What could we get from him ? "
And leaving the great man, they took each his robes
and begging bowl, and went eighteen leagues away,
and entered Isipatana. 2
1 See above, p. 157.
2 A Buburb of Benares, famous for its schools of learning
184 BUDDHIST BIRTH STORIES
Now at that time, at Uruvela, in the village
Senani, there was a girl named Sujata, born in the
house of Senani the landowner, who, when she had
grown up, made a vow at a Nigrodha-tree, saying :
" If I am married into a family of equal rank, and
have a son for my first-born child, then I will spend
every year a hundred thousand on an offering to thee."
And this her vow took effect.
And in order to make her offering, on the full-moon
day of the month of May, in the sixth year of the Great
Being s penance, she had driven in front of her a
thousand cows into a meadow of rich grass. With
their milk she had fed five hundred cows, with theirs
two hundred and fifty, and so on down to eight. Thus
aspiring after quantity, and sweetness, and strength,
she did what is called : " Working the milk in and in."
And early on the full-moon day in the month of
May, thinking : " Now I will make the offering ",
she rose up in the morning early and milked those
eight cows. Of their own accord the calves kept
away from the cows udders, and as soon as the new
vessels were placed ready, streams of milk poured
into them. Seeing this miracle, Sujata, with her own
hands, took the milk and poured it into new pans ;
and with her own hands made the fire and began to
cook it. When that rice-milk was boiling, huge
bubbles rising, turned to the right and ran round
together ; not a drop fell or was lost ; not the least
smoke rose from the fireplace.
At that time the four guardians of the world came
and kept watch by the fireplace. A great Brahma
held over it a canopy of state. Sakka put the sticks
THE STORY OF THE LINEAGE 185
together and lighted the fire. By their divine power
the devas gathering so much of the sap of maintenance
as would suffice for the support of all men and devas
of the four continents, and their circumjacent two
thousand isles as easily as a man crushing the honey
comb formed round a stick would take the honey
they infused it into the milk-rice. At other times
devas infused the sap into each mouthful of rice as he
took it ; but on the day of his Buddhahood, and on
the day of his passing away, they infused it into the
very vessel-full of rice itself.
Sujata, seeing that so many wonders appeared to
her on this one day, said to her slave-girl Punna :
" Punna, my girl ! Very gracious is our deva to-day !
Never before have I seen such a wonder. Go at once
and keep watch by the holy place." " Very good,
madam," replied she ; and ran and hastened to the
foot of the tree.
Now the Bodisat had seen that night five dreams,
and on considering their purport he had drawn the
conclusion : " Verily this day I shall become a
Buddha." And at the end of the night he washed
and dressed himself, and waiting till the time should
come to go round for his food, he went early, and sat
at the foot of that tree, lighting it all up with his
And Punna coming there saw the Bodisat sitting at
the foot of the tree and lighting up all the region of
the East ; and she saw the whole tree in colour
like gold from the rays issuing from his body. And
she thought : " To-day our deva, descending from
the tree, is seated to receive our offering in his own
186 BUDDHIST BIRTH STORIES
hand." And excited with joy, she returned quickly,
and announced this to Sujata. Sujata, delighted at
the news, gave her all the ornaments befitting a
daughter, saying : " To-day, from this time forth,
be thou to me in the place of an elder daughter ! "
And since, on the day of attaining Buddhahood, it is
proper to receive a golden vessel worth a hundred
thousand, she conceived the idea : " We will put the
milk-rice into a vessel of gold." And sending for a
vessel of gold worth a hundred thousand, she poured
out the well-cooked food to put it therein. All the
rice-milk flowed into the vessel, like water from a
lotus leaf, and filled the vessel full. Taking it she
covered it with a golden platter, and wrapped it in
a cloth. And adorning herself in all her splendour,
she put the vessel on her head, and went with great
dignity to the Nigrodha-tree. Seeing the Bodisat,
she was filled with exceeding joy, taking him for the
tree-deva ; and advanced bowing from the spot whence
she saw him. Taking the vessel from her head, she
uncovered it ; and fetching sweet-scented water in a
golden vase, she approached the Bodisat, and stood by.
The earthenware pot given him by the deva
Ghatikara, which had never till then left him,
disappeared at that moment. Not seeing his pot, the
Bodisat stretched out his right hand, and took the
water. Sujata placed the vessel, with the milk-rice
in it, in the hand of the great man. The great man
looked at her. Pointing to the food, she said : " 0,
sir ! accept what I have offered thee, and depart
whithersoever seemeth to thee good." And adding :
" May there arise to thee as much joy as has come to
THE STORY OF THE LINEAGE 187
me ! " she went away, valuing her golden vessel,
worth a hundred thousand, at no more than a dried
But the Bodisat rising from his seat, and leaving the
tree on the right hand, took the vessel and went to the
bank of the Neranjara river, down into which on the
day of their complete Enlightenment so many thou
sand Bodisats had gone. The name of that bathing
place is the Supatitthita l ferry. Putting the vessel
on the bank, he descended into the river and bathed.
And having dressed himself again in the banner of
the Arahants worn by so many thousand Buddhas, he
sat down with his face to the East : and dividing the
rice into forty-nine balls of the size of so many single-
seeded palmyra fruits, he ate all that sweet-milk rice
without any water. 2 Now that was the only food
he had for forty-nine days, during the seven times
seven days he spent, after he became a Buddha, at the
foot of the Tree of Enlightenment. During all that
time he had no other food ; he did not bathe ; nor
wash his teeth ; nor feel the cravings of nature. He
lived on Jhana-joy, on Path- joy, on Fruition-
But when he had finished eating that milk-rice, he
took the golden vessel, and said : " If I shall be able
to-day to become a Buddha, let this pot go up the
stream : if not, let it go down the stream ! " and he
threw it into the water. And it went, in spite of the
2 The fruit of the Palmyra (Borassus flabelliformis) has always
three seeds. I do not understand the allusion to a one-seeded
188 BUDDHIST BIRTH STORIES
stream, eighty cubits up the river in the middle of the
stream, all the way as quickly as a fleet horse. And
diving into a whirlpool it went to the palace of Ka la
Nagaraja (the Black Snake King) ; and striking
against the bowls from which the three previous
Buddhas had eaten, it made them sound " killi-
killi ! " and stopped as the lowest of them. Kala,
the snake-king, hearing the noise, exclaimed :
Yesterday a Buddha arose, now to-day another has
arisen " ; and he stood praising him in many hundred
But the Bodisat spent the heat of the day in a grove
of sal-trees in full bloom on the bank or the river.
And in the evening, when the flowers droop from
their stems, he proceeded, like a lion when it is roused,
towards the Tree of Enlightenment, along a path five
or six hundred yards wide, decked by devas. The
Snakes, and Genii, and Winged Creatures, 1 and other
superhuman beings, offered him sweet-smelling
flowers from heaven, and sang heavenly songs. The
ten thousand world-systems became filled with
perfumes and garlands and shouts of approval.
At that time there came from the opposite direction
a grass-cutter named Sotthiya, carrying grass ; and
recognizing the great man, he gave him eight bundles
of grass. The Bodisat took the grass : and ascending
1 Nagas, Yakkhas, and Supannas. The Yakkhas are character
ized throughout the Jataka stories by their cannibalism ; the
female Yakkhas as sirens luring men on to destruction. They are
invisible till they assume human shape ; but even then can be
recognized by their red eyes. That the Ceylon aborigines are
called Yakkhas in the Mdhavamsa probably results from a
tradition of their cannibalism. On the others, see above, p. 179.
THE STORY OF THE LINEAGE 189
the rising ground round the Bo-tree, he stood at the
South of it, looking towards the North. At that
moment the Southern horizon seemed to descend
below the level of the lowest hell, and the Northern
horizon mounting up seemed to reach above the
The Bodisat, saying : " This cannot, methinks, be
the right place for attaining Buddhahood ", turned
round it, keeping it on the right hand ; and went to
the Western side, and stood facing the East. Then
the Western horizon seemed to descend beneath the
lowest hell, and the Eastern horizon to ascend above
the highest heaven ; and to him, where he was
standing, the earth seemed to bend up and down like
a great cart wheel lying on its axis when its
circumference is trodden on.
The Bodisat, saying : " This cannot, I think, be
the right place for attaining Buddhahood ", turned
round it, keeping it on the right hand ; and went to
the Northern side, and stood facing the South. Then
the Northern horizon seemed to descend beneath the
lowest hell, and the Southern horizon to ascend above
the highest heaven.
The Bodisat, saying : " This cannot, I think, be
the right place for attaining Buddhahood ", turned
round it, keeping it on the right hand ; and went to
the Western side, and stood facing towards the East.
Now in the East is the place where all the Buddhas
have sat cross-legged ; and that place neither
trembles nor shakes.
The great being, perceiving : " This is the steadfast
spot chosen by all the Buddhas, the spot for the
190 BUDDHIST BIRTH STORIES
throwing down of the cage of sin ", took hold of the
grass by one end, and scattered it there. And
immediately there was a seat fourteen cubits long.
For those blades of grass arranged themselves in
such a form as would be beyond the power of even the
ablest painter or carver to design.
The Bodisat turning his back upon the trunk of the
Bo-tree, and with his face towards the East, made the
firm resolve : " May skin, indeed, and sinews, and
bones wilt away, may flesh and blood in my body dry
up, but till I attain to complete enlightenment this seat
I will not leave ! " And he sat himself down in a
cross-legged position, firm and immovable, as if
welded with a hundred thunderbolts.
At that time the deva Mara, thinking : " Prince
Siddhattha wants to free himself from my dominion.
I will not let him get free yet ! " went to the hosts of
his Maras, 1 and told the news. And sounding the
drum called Mara-Cry, he led forth the hosts of
That army of Mara stretches twelve leagues before
him, twelve leagues to right and left of him, behind
him it reaches to the rocky limits of the world, above
him it is nine leagues in height ; and the sound of
its war-cry is heard, twelve leagues away, even as the
sound of an earthquake.
Then Mara deva, mounted his elephant, two
hundred and fifty leagues high, named " Girded with
mountains ". And he created for himself a thousand
arms, and seized all kinds of weapons. And of the
1 Lit., to the strength of Mara(s) (Marabala).
THE STORY OF THE LINEAGE 191
remainder, too, of the company of Mara, no two took
the same weapon ; but, assuming various colours and
various forms, they went on to overwhelm the great
But the devas of the ten thousand world-systems
continued speaking the praises of the great being.
Sakka, the deva-king, stood there blowing his trumpet
Vijayuttara. Now that trumpet is a hundred and
twenty cubits long, and can itself cause the wind to
enter, and thus itself give forth a sound which will
resound for four months, when it becomes still. The
Great Black One, the king of the Nagas, stood there
uttering his praises in many hundred stanzas. The
Maha Brahma stood there, holding over him the
white canopy of state. But as the army approached
and surrounded the seat under the Bo-tree, not one
of the hosts of Mara was able to stay, and they fled
each one from the spot where the army met them.
The Black One, king of the Nagas, dived into the
earth, and went to Manjerika, the palace of the Nagas,
five hundred leagues in length, and lay down, covering
his face with his hands. Sakka, taking the Vijayut
tara trumpet on his back, stopped on the rocky verge
of the world. Maha Brahma, putting the white
canopy of state on to the summit of the rocks at the
end of the earth, went to the world of Brahma. Not
a single deity was able to keep his place. The great
man sat there alone.
But Mara said to his company : " Sirs ! there is no
other man like Siddhattha, the son of Suddhodana.
We cannot give him battle face to face. Let us
attack him from behind ! " The great man looked
192 BUDDHIST BIRTH STORIES
round on three sides, and saw that all the devas had
fled, and their place was empty. Then beholding the
hosts of Mara coming thick upon him from the North,
he thought : " Against me alone this mighty host
is putting forth all its energy and strength. No father
is here, nor mother, nor brother, nor any other
relative to help me. But those ten perfections have
long been to me as retainers fed from my store. So,
making the perfections like a shield, I must strike
this host with the sword of perfection, and thus over
whelm it ! " And so he sat meditating on the Ten
Then Mara deva, saying : " Thus will I drive away
Siddhattha ", caused a whirlwind to blow. And
immediately such winds rushed together from the
four corners of the earth as could have torn down the
peaks of mountains half a league, two leagues, three
leagues high could have rooted up the shrubs and
trees of the forest and could have made of the towns
and villages around one heap of ruins. But through
the glow of the merit of the great man, they reached
him with their power gone, and even the hem of his
robe they were unable to shake.
Then saying : "I will overwhelm him with water
and so slay him ", he caused a mighty rain to fall.
And the clouds gathered, overspreading one another
by hundreds and by thousands, and poured forth
rain ; and by the violence of the torrents the earth
was saturated ; and a great flood, overtopping the
trees of the forest, approached the.Bodhisat. But
1 His acquisition of the Ten Perfections, or Cardinal Virtues, is
described above, pp. 101 ff.
THE STORY OF THE LINEAGE 193
it was not able to wet on his robe even the space where
a dew-drop might fall.
Then he caused a storm of rocks to fall. And
mighty, mighty mountain peaks came through the
air, spitting forth fire and smoke. But as they reached
the Bodhisat, they changed into divine garlands.
Then he raised a storm of deadly weapons. And
they came one-edged, and two-edged swords, and
spears, and arrows smoking and flaming through
the sky. But as they reached the Bodhisat, they
became divine flowers.
Then he raised a storm of charcoal But the
embers, though they came through the sky like red
kimsuka flowers, were scattered at the feet of the
future Buddha as divine flowers.
Then he raised a storm of embers ; and the embers
came through the air exceeding hot, and in colour
like fire ; but they fell at the feet of the future Buddha
as sandal-wood powder.
Then he raised a storm of sand ; and the sand,
exceeding fine, came smoking and flaming through
the air ; but it fell at the feet of the future Buddha as
Then he raised a storm of mud. And the mud
came smoking and flaming through the air ; but it
fell at the feet of the future Buddha as divine
Then saying : " By this I will terrify Siddhattha,
and drive him away ! " he brought on a thick darkness.
And the darkness became fourfold ; but when it
reached the future Buddha, it disappeared as dark
ness does before the brightness of the sun.
194 BUDDHIST BIRTH STORIES
Thus was Mara unable by these nine the wind, and
the rain, and the rocks, and the weapons, and the char
coal, and the embers, and the sand, and the mud, and
the darkness to drive away the future Buddha. So
he called on his host, and said : " Say, why stand you
still ? Seize, or slay, or drive away this prince ! "
And himself mounted the Mountain-girded, and seated
on his back, he approached the future Buddha, and
cried out : " Get up, Siddhattha, from that seat !
It does not belong to thee ! It belongs to me ! "
The great being listened to his words, and said :
" Mara ! it is not by you that the ten Perfections have
been perfected, neither the lesser Perfections, nor the
higher Perfections. It is not you who have sacrificed
yourself in the five great acts of renunciation, who
have perfected the way of good in knowledge nor the
way of good for the world nor the way of understand
ing. This seat does not belong to thee, it is to me that
Then the enraged Mara, unable to endure the
vehemence of his anger, cast at the great man
that Sceptre- javelin of his, the barb of which was in
shape as a wheel. But it became a wreath of flowers,
and remained as a canopy over him, whose mind was
bent upon the Ten Perfections.
Now at other times, when that Wicked One throws
his Sceptre- javelin, it cleaves asunder a pillar of solid
rock as if it were the tender shoot of a bambu. When,
however, it thus turned into a wreath-canopy, the
entire company of Mara shouted, " Now he will rise
from his seat and flee ! " and they hurled at him
huge masses of rock. But these too fell on the ground
THE STORY OF THE LINEAGE 195
as garlands at the feet of him whose mind was bent
upon the Ten Perfections.
And the devas stood on the edge of the rocks that
encircle the world ; and stretching forward in amaze
ment, they looked on, saying : " Lost ! lost is the
life of Siddhattha the Prince, supremely beautiful !
What can he do ? "
Then the great man said : " To me belongs the
seat on which sit the Buddhas-to-be when they have
fulfilled perfection on the day of their Enlightment."
^ And he said to Mara, standing there before him :
" Mara, who is witness that thou hast given alms ? "
And Mara stretched forth his hand to the hosts of
his followers, and said : " So many are my witnesses."
And that moment there arose a shout as the sound of
an earthquake from the company of Mara, saying,
" I am his witness ! I am his witness ! "
Then the Tempter addressed the great man, and
said : " Siddhattha ! who is witness that thou hast
given alms ? "
And the great man answered : " Thou hast living
witnesses that thou hast given alms : and I have in
this place no living witness at all. But not counting
the alms I have given in other births, let this great
and solid earth, unconscious though it be, be witness
of the seven hundredfold great alms I gave when I was
born as Vessantara ! "
And withdrawing his right hand from beneath his
robe, he stretched it forth towards the earth, and said :
" Art thou, or art thou not witness of the seven
hundredfold great gift I gave in my birth as
Vessantara ? "
196 BUDDHIST BIRTH STORIES
And the great Earth uttered a voice, saying : "I
am witness to thee of that ! " overwhelming as it
were the hosts of Mara as with the shout of hundreds
of thousands of foes.
Then the mighty elephant "Mount-girded"
as he realized what the generosity of Vessantara had
been, said : " The great gift, the uttermost gift was
given by thee, Siddhattha ! " And he fell down on his
knees before the great man. And the company of
Mara fled this way and that way, so that not even
two were left together : throwing of! their clothes and
their turbans, they fled, each one straight on before
But the company of devas, when they saw that the
hosts of Mara had fled, cried out : " Mara is
overcome ! Siddhattha the Prince has prevailed !
Come, let us honour the victor ! " And the Nagas,
and the Winged Creatures, and the Devas, and the
Brahmas, each urging his comrades on, went up to
the great man at the Bo-tree s foot, and as they
274. At the Bo-tree s foot the Naga bands
Shouted, for joy that the Sage had won ;
" The Blessed Buddha he hath prevailed !
And the Evil Mara is overthrown ! "
275. At the Bo-tree s foot the Winged Ones
Shouted, for joy that the Sage had won ;
" The Blessed Buddha he hath prevailed !
And the Evil Mara is overthrown ! "
276. At the Bo-tree s foot the Deva hosts
Shouted for joy that the Sage had won ;
" The Blessed Buddha he hath prevailed !
And the Evil Mara is overthrown ! "
277. At the Bo-tree s foot the Brahma Gods
Shouted, for joy that the Sage had won ;
" The Blessed Buddha he hath prevailed !
And the evil Mara is overthrown I "
THE STORY OF THE LINEAGE 197
The other devas, too, in the ten thousand world-
systems, offered garlands and perfumes and uttered
his praises aloud.
It was while the sun was still above the horizon,
that the great man thus put to flight the hosts of
Mara. Then, whilst the Bo-tree paid him homage,
as it were, by its shoots like sprigs of red coral falling
over his robe, he acquired in the first watch of the
night the knowledge of the past, in the middle watch
the clairvoyant eye, and in the third watch the
knowledge of the chain of causation. 1
Now on his thus revolving this way and that
way, and tracing backwards and forwards, and
thoroughly realizing the twelvefold chain of
causation, the ten thousand world-systems quaked
twelve times even to their ocean boundaries. And
again, when the great man, making the ten thousand
world systems to shout for joy, attained at break of
day to complete enlightenment, the whole ten
thousand world-systems became glorious as on a
festive day. The streamers of the flags and banners
raised on the edge of the rocky boundary tp the East
of the world reached to the very West ; and so those
on the West and North, and South, reached to the
East, and South, and North ; while in like manner
those of flags and banners on the surface of the earth
reached to the Brahma-world, and those of flags and
banners in that world swept down upon the earth.
Throughout the universe flowering trees put forth
their blossoms, and fruit-bearing trees were loaded
with clusters of fruit ; the trunks and branches of
1 Pubbe-nivasa-nana, Dibba-cakkhu, and Paticca-samuppada.
198 BUDDHIST BIRTH STORIES
trees, and even the creepers, were covered with bloom ;
lotus wreaths hung from the sky ; and lilies by sevens
sprang, one above another, even from the very rocks.
The ten thousand world-systems as they revolved
seemed like a mass of loosened wreaths, or like a
nosegay tastefully arranged : and the world-voids
between them, the hells whose darkness the rays of
seven suns had never been able to disperse, became
filled with light. The sea became sweet water down
to its prof oundest depths ; and the rivers were stayed
in their course. The blind from birth received their
sight ; the deaf from birth heard sound ; the lame
from birth could use their feet ; and chains and bonds
were loosed and fell away. 1
It was thus in surpassing glory and honour, and with
many wonders happening around, that he attained
all-knowledge, and gave vent to his emotion in the
hymn of triumph uttered by all the Buddhas.
278. Long have I wandered, long,
Bound by the chain of life
Through many births,
Seeking thus long in vain,
The baiilder of the house. And pain
Is birth again, again.
House-maker, thou art seen !
No more a house thou lt make.
Broken are all thy beams.
Thy ridge-pole shattered !
From things that make for life my mind has past :
The end of cravings has been reached at last ! a
1 Compare the Thirty- two Good Omens at the Buddha s Birth
above, p. 160.
2 The train of thought is explained at length in my Buddhism,
pp. 100-12. Shortly, it amounts to this. The unconscious
has no pain : without consciousness, individuality, there would
be no pain. What gives men consciousness ? It is due to a grasp
ing, craving, sinful condition of heart. The absence of these
THE STORY OF THE LINEAGE 199
III: THE PROXIMATE EPOCH 1
Now whilst he was still seated there, after he
had sung the hymn of triumph, the Blessed One
thought : "It is in order to attain to this seat
that I have undergone successive births for so long
cravings is Nirvana. Having reached Nirvana, consciousness
endures but for a time (until the body dies), and it will then no
longer be renewed. The beams of sin, the ridge-pole of care, give
to the house of individuality its seeming strength : but in the
peace of Nirvana they have passed away. The Bodisat is now
Buddha ; he has reached Nirvana : he has solved the great
mystery ; the jewel of salvation, sought through so many ages,
has been found at last ; and the long, long struggle is over.
The following is Spence Hardy s literal translation given in his
Manual of Buddhism, p. 180, where similar versions by Gogerly
and Turnour will be found : but they scarcely seem to express
the inner meaning of these difficult and beautiful verses :
Through many different births
I have run (to me not having found),
Seeking the architect of the (desire resembling) house,
Painful are repeated births !
house-builder ! I have seen (thee).
Again a house thou canst not build for me.
1 have broken thy rafters,
Thy central support is destroyed.
To Nirvana my mind has gone.
I have arrived at the extinction of evil desire.
(In the Theragatha (verses 183, 184) the hymn, slightly different,
is ascribed to an (unknown) monk, Sivaka. Ed.)
The figure of the house is found also in Manu (vi, 79-81) ; in the
Lalita Vistara (p. 107 of Foucaux s Oya Tcher Rol Pa) ; and in the
Adi Oranth (Trumpp, pp. 215, 216, 471). The last passage is as
A storm of divine knowledge has come !
The shutters of Delusion are all blown away are there no longer ;
The posts of Double-mindedness are broken down ; the ridge
pole of spiritual Blindness is shattered ;
The roof of Craving has fallen on the ground ; the vessel of Folly
has burst !
1 See above, p. 82. A similar explanation is here repeated in a
200 BUDDHIST BIRTH STORIES
a time, 1 that I severed my crowned head from my
neck and gave it away, that I tore out my darkened
eyes and my heart s flesh and gave them away, that
I gave away to serve others such sons as Jali the
Prince, and such daughters as Kanha Jina the
Princess, and such wives as Maddi the Queen. This
seat is a seat of triumph to me, and a seat of
glory ; while seated on it my aims have been fulfilled :
I will not leave it yet." And he sat there absorbed in
many thoughts 2 for those seven days referred to in
the text, beginning : " And then the Blessed One
sat motionless for seven days, realizing the bliss of
Now certain of the devas began to doubt, thinking :
" This day also there must be something more
Siddhattha has to do, for he still lingers seated there."
The Master, knowing their thoughts, and to appease
their doubts, rose into the air, and performed the
And the Master having thus by this miracle dis
pelled the devas doubts, stood a little to the north
east of the seat, thinking : "It was on that seat that
I attained all-knowing insight." And he thus spent
seven days gazing steadfastly at the spot where he
1 Literally for four asankheyyas and a hundred thousand
2 Anekakoti-sata-sahassa samapattiyo samapajjanto.
3 Yamaka-patihariyan ; Comp. pp. 88, 193, of the text, and
Mah. p. 107. (Described in the Patisambhidamagga, a book of the
5th Nikaya ; i, 125, as fire proceeding from the upper half of
his body, water from the lower half. Ed.) Bigandet, p. 93, has
performed a thousand wonders . Hardy, p. 181, omits the
clause ; and Beal omits the whole episode. A gloss here adds
that the Buddha performed a similar miracle on three other
THE STORY OF THE LINEAGE 201
had gained the result of the deeds of virtue fulfilled
through such countless years. And that spot became
known as the Dagaba of the Steadfast Gaze.
Then he created between the seat and the spot where
he had stood a cloistered walk, and he spent seven days
walking up and down in that treasure-cloister which
stretched from east to west. And that spot became
known as the Dagaba of the Treasure-Cloister.
But for the fourth week the devas created to the
north-west of the Bo-tree a Treasure-house ; and he
spent the week seated there cross-legged, and thinking
out the Abhidhamma Pitaka and here especially
the entire Patthana with its infinite methods. (But
the Abhidhammikas 1 say that Treasure-house here
means either a mansion built of the seven kinds of
jewels, or the place where the seven books were
thought out : and as they give these two explanations
of the passage, both may be accepted as correct.)
Having thus spent four weeks close to the Bo-tree,
he went, in the fifth week, to the Shepherd s Nigrodha-
tree : and sat there meditating on Doctrine, and
experiencing the happiness of deliverance.
Now at that time the deva Mara thought to him
self : "So long a time have I followed this man
seeking some access to him, and find no fault in him ;
and now, indeed, he is beyond my power." And
overcome with sorrow he sat down on the highway,
and as he thought of the following sixteen things
he drew sixteen lines on the ground. Thinking,
1 The monks whose duty it is to learn by heart, repeat, and
commentate upon the seven books in the Abhidhamma Pifaka.
See above, p. 168.
202 BUDDHIST BIRTH STORIES
" I did not attain, as he did, to the perfection of
Giving ; therefore I have not become like him ", he
drew one line. Then thinking : " I did not attain, as
he did, to the Perfections of Moral Practice, and Self-
abnegation, and Wisdom, and Exertion, and Patience,
and Truth, and Resolution, and Kindness, and
Equanimity ; x therefore I have not become like him,"
he drew nine more lines. Then thinking : "I did not
attain the Ten Perfections, the conditions precedent
to the penetration, the extraordinary knowledge of
the complete way of the senses, and therefore I have
not become like him ", he drew the eleventh line.
Then thinking : "I did not attain to the Ten Perfec
tions, the conditions precedent to the penetration, the
extraordinary knowledge of inclinations and latent
tendencies, of the attainment of compassion, of the
double miracle, of the removal of hindrances, and of
all-knowing : therefore I have not become like him ",
he drew the five other lines. And so he sat on the
highway, drawing sixteen lines for these sixteen
At that time Craving, Discontent, and Lust, 2 the
three daughters of Mara, could not find their father,
and were looking for him, wondering where he could
be. And when they saw him, sad at heart, writing
on the ground, they went up to him, and asked :
" Why, dear, are you sad and sorrowful ? "
And he answered : " My women, this great recluse
is escaping from my power. Long have I watched, but
1 On these Ten Perfections, see above, pp. 101 ff.
* Tanha, Arati, and Raga. Of. Kindred Sayings, i, 156,
giving the older version (Pali. Text Soc., 1917). Ed.
THE STORY OF THE LINEAGE 203
in vain, to find some fault in him. Therefore it is
that I am sad and sorrowful."
" If that is so," replied they, " think not thus. We
will subject him to our influence, and come back
bringing him captive with us."
" My women," said he, " you cannot by any means
bring him under your influence ; this man stands firm
in faith, unwavering."
" Dear one, we are women " was the reply ; " even
now we shall bring him bound by the sweetness of
lust. Do not think so."
So they approached the Blessed One, and said :
" recluse, upon thee we humbly wait ! "
But the Blessed One neither paid any attention to
their words, nor raised his eyes to look at them. He
sat, with a mind made free by the complete extinction of
rebirth-conditions, enjoying the bliss of detachment.
Then the daughters of Mara considered with them
selves : " Various are men s tastes. Some fall in love
with girls, some with young women, some with
mature women, some with older women. We will
tempt him in various forms." Soeachof them assumed
the appearance of a hundred women girls, women
who had never had a child, or only once, or only twice,
middle-aged women, older women and six times
they went up to the Blessed One, and professed them
selves his humble handmaidens ; and to that also
the Blessed One paid no attention, so was he made
free by the complete extinction of rebirth-conditions.
Now, some teachers say that when the Blessed One
saw them approaching in the form of elderly women,
he commanded, saying : " Let these women remain
204 BUDDHIST BIRTH STORIES
just as they are, with broken teeth, and bald heads."
This should not be believed, for the Master issues not
But the Blessed One said : " Depart ye ! What
have ye seen that ye thus strive ? Such things might
be done in the presence of men who linger in the paths
of sin ; but by the Tathagata lust is put away,
ill-will is put away, delusion is put away." And he
admonished them in those two verses from the Chapter
on the Buddha in the Scripture Verses :
280. Whose conquest is not overthrown
His conquest nought on earth assails.
That Buddha, infinite in range,
Pathless, by what path will ye lead ?
281. In whom there is no snare besetting.
Venomous craving any- whither leading.
That Buddha, infinite in range,
Pathless, by what path will ye lead ? x
And they saying : " Our father spoke the truth
indeed. The saint, the Well-Farer of the world is not
easily led away " and so on, returned to their father.
But the Blessed One when he had spent a week at
that spot, went on to the Muchalinda-tree. There he
spent a week. Muchalinda, the snake-king, when
a storm arose, shielding him with seven folds of his
hood, so that the Blessed One enjoyed the bliss of
deliverance as if he had been resting unharassed in a
fragrant chamber. Thence he went away to the
Kingstead-tree and there also sat down enjoying the
bliss of deliverance. And so seven weeks passed away,
during which he experienced no bodily wants, but
fed on Jhana-joy, Path- joy, and Fruition- joy. 2
1 Gloss : He taught the Doctrine, saying these two stanzas in
the Buddha-section of the Dhammapada. Dhammapada (verses
8 See above, p. 187.
THE STORY OF THE LINEAGE 205
Now, as lie sat there on the last day of the seven
weeks the forty-ninth day he felt a desire to bathe
his face. And Sakka, the deva-governor, brought a
fruit of the myrobolan-tree, and gave him to eat. And
Sakka, too, provided a tooth-cleanser of the thorns of
the snake-creeper, and water to bathe his face. And
the Master used the tooth-cleanser, and bathed his
face, and sat him down there at the foot of the
At that time two merchants, Tapassu and Bhalluka
by name, were travelling from Orissa to Central
India 1 with five hundred carts. And a deva, a blood
relation of theirs, stopped their carts, and moved
their hearts to offer food to the Master. And they
took a rice cake, and a honey cake, and went up to the
Master, and said : "0 sir, Blessed One ! out of
compassion for us accept this food."
Now, on the day when he had received the sweet
rice-milk, his bowl had disappeared ; 2 so the Blessed
One thought : " The Buddhas never receive food in
their hands. How shall I accept it ? " Then the four
Guardians knew his thought and, coming from the
four quarters of the sky, they brought bowls made of
sapphire. And the Blessed One accepted them. Then
they brought four other bowls, made of jade ; and
the Blessed one, out of kindness to the four devas,
received the four, and placing them one above another
commanded, saying : " Let them become one."
And the four closed up into one of medium size,
1 Ukkala to Majjhima-desa. The latter included all the
Buddhist Holy Land from the modern Patna to Allahabad. See
above, p. 61, note.
8 See above, pp. 178, 187.
206 BUDDHIST BIRTH STORIES
becoming visible only as lines round the mouth of it.
The Blessed One received the food into that new-
created bowl, and ate it, and gave thanks.
The two brothers took refuge in the Buddha, the
Doctrine, and the Order, 1 and became professed
disciples. Then, when they asked him, saying :
" Lord, bestow upon us something to which we may
pay reverence," with his own right hand he tore from
his head, and gave to them, the hair-relics. And
they built a Dagaba in their own city, and placed the
relics within it. 2
But the Perfectly Enlightened One rose up thence,
and returned to the Shepherd s Nigrodha-tree, and
sat down at its foot. And no sooner was he seated
there, considering the depth of the Doctrine which he
had gained, than there arose in his mind a doubt (felt
by each of the Buddhas as he became aware of his
having arrived at the Doctrine) that he had not that
kind of ability necessary to explain that Doctrine to
1 All three then non-existent institutions ! Ed.
2 We have here an interesting instance of the growth of legend
to authenticate and add glory to local relics, of which other
instances will be found in Buddhism, p. 195. The ancient form
of this legend, as found here, must have arisen when the relics
were still in Orissa. Both the Burmese and Singhalese now claim
to possess them. The former say that the two merchants were
Burmese, and that the Dagaba above referred to is the celebrated
sanctuary of Shooay Dagob (Bigandet, p. 101, 2nd ed.). The
latter say that the Dagaba was in Orissa, and that the hair-
relics were brought thence to Ceylon in 490 A.D., in the manner
related in the Hair-relic chronicle Kesa Dhdtu Vanisa, and
referred to in the Mahd Vamsa. (See verses 43-56 of my edition
of the 39th chap, of the M. V. in the J.R.A.S., 1875.) The legend
in the text is found in an ancient inscription on the great bell at
Rangoon (Hough s version in the Asiatic Researches, vol. xvi ;
comp. Hardy, Monastic Budhism, p. 183 ; Beal, Rom. Leg.), p. 240.
THE STORY OF THE LINEAGE 207
Then the great Kuler of the Brahma heavens,
exclaiming : " Alas ! the world is lost. Alas ! the
world is altogether lost ! " brought with him the
rulers of the worlds in the ten thousand world-systems, 1
and went up to the Master, and said : "0 Blessed
Lord, do thou proclaim the Doctrine ! Proclaim
the Doctrine, Blessed Lord ! " and in other words
of like purport begged from him the preaching of the
Then the Master granted his request. And con
sidering to whom he should first reveal the Doctrine,
thought at first of Alara, his former teacher, as one
who would quickly comprehend it. But, on surveying
(the country), he perceived that Alara had been dead
seven days. So he fixed on Uddaka. But he learnt
that he too had died that very evening. Then he
thought of the five mendicants : " they were very
helpful ! " And casting about in his mind : " where
are they now dwelling ? " he perceived they were at
the Deer-park in Benares. And he determined,
saying, " There going I will set rolling the wheel of
Doctrine." But he delayed a few days, begging his
daily food in the neighbourhood of the Bo-tree, with
the intention : "I will go to Benares on the full-
moon day of Asalhi."
And at dawn on the fourteenth day of the month,
when the night had passed away, he took his robe and
his bowl : and had gone eighteen leagues, just half
way, when he met the Ajivika friar Upaka. And he
announced to him how he had become a Buddha ; and
1 In the Vinaya and Sutta accounts, the Brahma governor
comes alone. Ed.
208 BUDDHIST BIRTH STORIES
on the evening of that day he arrived at the hermitage
near Benares. 1
The five elders, 2 seeing already from afar the
Buddha coming, said one to another : " Brethren,
here comes the recluse Gotama. He has turned back
to a free use of the necessaries of life, and has recovered
roundness of form, acuteness of sense, and beauty of
complexion. We ought to pay him no reverence ;
but as he is, after all, of a good family, he deserves
the honour of a seat. So we will simply prepare a
seat for him." 3
The Blessed One, casting about in his mind by the
power that he had of knowing what was going on in
the thoughts of all beings, as to what they were
thinking, knew their thoughts. Then, concentrating
that feeling of his good-will which was able to pervade
generally all beings in earth and heaven, he directed
it specially towards them. And the sense of his good
will diffused itself through their hearts ; 4 and as he
came nearer and nearer, unable any longer to adhere
to their resolve, they rose from their seats, and bowed
down before him, and welcomed him with every mark
of reverence and respect. But, not knowing that he
had become a Buddha, they addressed him, in every
thing they said, either by name, or as " Brother ". 5
Then the Blessed One announced to them his Buddha-
hood, saying : " Mendicants, address not a Buddha
by his name, or as avuso. I, mendicants, am a
1 Isipatana, the hermitage in the Deer-park close to Benares,
See above, p. 183. 2 Thera.
3 This snobbish allusion is not in the old (Vinaya) account. Ed.
4 Avuso; lit., a corruption of ayasma, "(your) reverence." Ed.
6 This " loving will " passage is not in the Vinaya. Ed.
THE STORY OF THE LINEAGE 209
perfectly awakened one, one of those who have thus
Then, seated on the place prepared for him, and
surrounded by myriads of devas, he addressed the five
attendant elders, just as the moon was passing out of
conjunction with the lunar mansion in Uttarasalha
and taught them in that discourse which was The
Foundation of the Kingdom of Righteousness. 2
Of the five Elders, Kondanya the Believer 3 sending
forth insight as the discourse went on, as it concluded,
he, with myriads of devas, had arrived at the Fruit
of the First Path. 4 And the Master, who remained,
there for the rainy season, sat in the vihdra the next
day, when the other four had gone a-begging, talking
to Vappa : and Vappa that morning attained to the
Fruit of the First Path. And, in a similar manner,
Bhaddiya on the next day, and Maha-Nama on the
next, and Assaji on the next, attained to the Fruit
of the First Path. And, on the fifth day, he called
all five to his side, and preached to them the discourse
On the Mark ofnot-soul. 5 At the end of that discourse
the five elders attained to the Arahant-fruition.
Then the Master perceived that Yasa, a young man
of good family, was capable of entering the Paths.
And when day was breaking, he having left his home
and gone away, the Master called him, saying: "Come,
Yasa ! " and on that very night he attained to the
1 Tathagato Sammasambuddho.
2 Lit., The Rolling of the Wheel of the Norm (Dhamma). Ed.
3 So called from his action on this occasion. See above, p. 161 f .
4 Lit., Stream- winning. Tantamount to the Christian term
5 All diary and almanac allusions absent in Vinaya. Ed.
210 BUDDHIST BIRTH STORIES
Fruit of the First Path, and on the next day to
Arahantship. And he received also other fifty-four,
his companions, into the order, with the sanction :
" Come, mendicants ! " and caused them to attain
Now when there were thus in the world sixty-one
persons who had become Arahants, the Master, after
the rainy season and the function with which it closes
were over, sent out the sixty in different directions
with the words : " Fare forth, mendicants."
And himself going towards Uruvela, he overcame at
the Kappasiya forest, half-way thither, the thirty
young Bhadda-vaggiyan nobles. Of these the least
advanced entered the First, and the most advanced
the Third Path : and he received them all into the
Order with the sanction, "Come, mendicants ! " And
sending them also forth into the regions round about,
he himself went on to Uruvela.
There he overcame, by performing three thousand
five hundred miracles, the three Hindu ascetics,
brothers Uruvela Kassapa and the rest who had
one thousand disciples. And he received them into
the Order with the sanction : " Come, mendicants ! "
and established them in Arahantship by his discourse,
when they were seated on Gaya-head hill : "On the
Lesson to be drawn from Fire." 2 And attended by
these thousand Arahants, he went to the grove called
the Palm-grove, hard by Rajagaha, with the object
of redeeming the promise he had made to Bimbi-
sara the king. 3
1 Pavarana. 2 They had been fire -worshippers .Ed.
3 See above, p. 181.
THE STORY OF THE LINEAGE 211
When the king heard from the keeper of the grove
the saying : " The Master is come," he went to the
Master, attended by innumerable brahmins and
householders, and fell down at the feet of the Buddha
those feet, which bore on their surface the pattern
of the wheel, and gave forth a halo of light like a
canopy of cloth of gold. Then he and his retinue
respectfully took their seats on one side.
Now the question occurred to those brahmins and
householders : " How is it then ? has the great
recluse entered as a student in religion under Uruvela
Kassapa, or Uruvela Kassapa under the great
recluse ? " And the Blessed One, becoming aware of
their thus doubting within themselves, addressed the
Elder in the verse
282. What hast thou seen, thou of Uruvela,
That thou hast left the Fire, votary austere ?
I ask thee, Kassapa, the meaning of this thing :
How hast renounced the sacrifice of fire ?
And the Elder, perceiving what the Blessed One
intended, replied in the verse :
283. Some men rely on sights, and sounds, and taste,
Desires and women, some on sacrifice ;
All dross to him who knows the springs of life.
Therefore not fain am I for altar rites.
And in order to make known his discipleship he bowed
his head to the Buddha s feet, saying : " The Blessed
Lord is my master, and I am the disciple ! " And
seven times he rose into the air up to the height of
one, two, three, and so on, up to the height of seven
palm-trees ; and descending again, he saluted the
Buddha, and respectfully took a seat aside. Seeing
that wonder, the multitude praised the Master,
212 BUDDHIST BIRTH STORIES
saying : " All ! how great is the power of the
Buddhas ! Even so mighty a thinker as this has
thought him worthy ! Even Uruvela Kassapa has
broken through the net of delusion, and is tamed by
the Tathagata ! "
But the Blessed One said : " Not now only have I
overcome Uruvela Kassapa ; in former ages, too, he
was tamed by me." And he uttered in that connexion
the Maha-Narada-Kassapa-Jataka, 1 and proclaimed
the Four Truths. And the King of Magadha, with
nearly all his retinue, attained to the Fruit of the
First Path, and the rest became lay disciples. 2
And the king still sitting near the Master told him of
the five wishes he had had ; and then, confessing his
faith, he invited the Blessed One for the next day,
and rising from his side, departed with respectful
The next day all the men who dwelt in Rajagaha,
eighteen myriads in number, both those who had
already seen the Blessed One, and those who had not,
came out early from Bajagaha to the Grove of Reeds
to see the successor of the Buddhas. The road, six
miles long, could not contain them. The whole of the
Grove of Reeds became like a basket packed quite
full. The multitude, beholding the exceeding beauty
of him whose power is tenfold, could not contain their
delight. Varmabhu was it called (that is, the Place of
Praise), for at such spots all the greater and lesser
characteristics of a Buddha, and the glorious beauty of
2 Upasakas ; that is, those who have taken the Three Refuges
and the vow to keep the Five Precepts (Buddhism, pp.139, 160).
THE STORY OF THE LINEAGE 213
his person, are to be extolled. There was not room for
even a single mendicant to get out on the road, or in
the grove, so crowded was it with the multitude gazing
at the beautiful form of the him of the tenfold power.
So that day they say the throne of Sakka felt hot, to
warn him that the Blessed One might be deprived of
nourishment, which should not be. And on con
sideration he understood the reason ; and he took
the form of a young brahmin, and descended in front
of the Buddha, and by deva-power made way for
him, singing the praises of the Buddha, the Doctrine,
and the Order :
284. The tamed together with the tamed,
Men erst of the matted hair, but now set free,
He who is to see like wrought gold,
The Blessed One hath entered Rajagaha.
285. The freed man together with the freed
286. The man who has crossed over 1 together with them that
have crossed over . . .
287. The man of way tenfold, 2 of power tenfold,
Knower of tenfold Norm, winner of ten, 3
With retinue of ten hundred the Blessed One hath entered
The multitude, seeing the beauty of the young
brahmin thought : " This young brahmin is exceed
ing fair, and yet we have never yet beheld him." And
they said : " Whence comes the young brahmin, or
whose son is he ? " And the young brahmin, hearing
what they said, answered in the verse :
288. He who is wise, and tamed in everything,
The Buddha, the unequalled among men,
The Arahant, Wellfarer of the world,
On him I humble wait.
1 Tinno, crossed the ocean of transmigration.
2 That is, the Four Paths, the Four Fruits thereof, Nirvana,
and the Scriptures (or the Truth, Dhamma).
3 Dasavasa, probably for dasavaso (so Vin. i, 38) : a tenfold
category taught in Dlgha, iii, 269 ; Anguttara, v, 29 f.- Ed.
214 BUDDHIST BIRTH STORIES
Then the Master entered upon the path thus made
free by Sakka, and entered Rajagaha attended by a
thousand mendicants. The king gave a great gift
to the Order with the Buddha at their head ; and had
water brought, bright as jems, and scented with
flowers, in a golden goblet. And he poured the water
over the hand of him of the tenfold power, in token of
the presentation of the Bambu Grove, saying : " I,
my lord, cannot live without the Three Gems (the
Buddha, the Order, and the Faith). In season and
out of season I would visit the Blessed One. Now
the Grove of Reeds is far away ; but this Grove
of mine, called the Bambu Grove, is close by, is
easy of resort, and is a fit dwelling-place for a
Buddha. Let the Blessed One accept it of me ! "
At the acceptance of this monastery the broad
earth shook, as if it said : " Now the Religion of
Buddha has taken root ! " For in all India there is
no dwelling-place, save the Bambu Grove, acceptance
of which caused the earth to shake : and in Ceylon
there is no dwelling-place, save the Great Vihara,
acceptance of which caused the earth to shake. 1
And when the Master had accepted the Bambu
Grove Monastery, and had given thanks for it, he
rose from his seat and went, surrounded by the
members of the Order, to the Bambu Grove.
Now at that time two ascetics, named Sariputta
and Moggallana, were living near Rajagaha, seeking
after salvation. Of these, Sariputta, seeing the Elder
Assaji 2 on his begging round, was touched and waited
1 Makavamsa, xv, 26 f .
2 See above, p. 209.
THE STORY OF THE LINEAGE 215
on him, and heard from him the verse beginning :
" What things soever are produced from causes." l
And he attained to the blessings which result from
conversion ; and repeated that verse to his com
panion Moggallana the ascetic. And he, too, attained
to the blessings which first result from conversion.
And each of them left Sanjaya, 2 and with his
attendants took orders under the Master. Of these
two, Moggallana attained Arahantship in seven days,
and Sariputta the elder in half a month. And the
Master appointed these two to the office of his Chief
Disciples ; and on the day on which Sariputta the
elder attained Arahantship, he made a muster of
Now whilst the Tathagatawas dwelling there in the
Bambu Grove, Suddhodana the king heard that his
son, who for six years had devoted himself to works
of austerity, had attained to complete enlightenment,
had founded the Kingdom of Righteousness, and was
then dwelling at the Bambu Grove near Rajagaha.
So he said to a certain courtier : " Come, I say, take a
thousand men as a retinue, and go to Rajagaha, and
and say in my name : Your 3 father, Suddhodana the
king, desires to see you ; and bring my son here."
1 The celebrated verse here referred to has been found inscribed
several times in the ruins of the great Dagaba at Isipatana, and
facsimiles are given in Cunningham s Archceological Reports,
plate xxxiv, vol. i, p. 123. The text is given by Burnouf in the
facsimiles are given in Cunningham s Archceological Reports,
plate xxxiv, vol. i, p. 123. The text is given by Burnouf in the
Lotus de la Bonne Loi, p. 523 ; and in the Vinaya, pp. 40, 41.
(Not elsewhere in the Pitakas. Ed.) See also Hardy s Manual,
2 Their teacher. Cf. Digha, ii, 58.
3 The Pali is also in the 2nd person plural. Ed.
216 BUDDHIST BIRTH STORIES
And he respectfully accepted the king s command
with the reply : " So be it, sire ! " and went quickly
with a thousand followers the sixty leagues distance,
and sat down amongst the disciples of him of the
tenfold power, and at the hour of instruction entered
the Vihara. And thinking, " Let the king s message
stay awhile ", he stood just beyond the disciples
and listened to the discourse. And as he so stood he
attained to Arahantship, with his whole retinue, and
asked to be admitted to the Order. And the Blessed
One stretched forth his hand and said : " Come,
mendicants." And all of them that moment appeared
there, with robes and bowls created by miracle, like
elders of a hundred years standing.
Now from the time when they attain Arahantship
the Arahants become indifferent to worldly things :
so he did not deliver the king s message to him of the
tenfold power. The king, seeing that neither did his
messenger return, nor was any message received from
him, called another courtier in the same manner as
before, and sent him. And he went, and in the same
manner attained Arahantship with his followers, and
remained silent. Then the king in the same manner
sent nine courtiers each with a retinue of a thousand
men. And they all, neglecting what they had to do,
stayed away there in silence.
And when the king found no one who would come
and bring even a message, he thought : " Not one of
these brings back, for my sake, even a message : who
will then carry out what I say ? " And searching
among all his people he thought of Kaludayin. For
he was in everything serviceable to the king
THE STORY OF THE LINEAGE 217
intimate with him, and trustworthy. He was born
on the same day as the future Buddha, and had been
his playfellow and companion.
So the king said to him : " Dear Kaludayin, as I
wanted to see my son, I sent nine times a thousand
men ; but there is not one of them who has either
come back or sent a message. Now it is hard to
know if life be in danger ; and I desire to see my son
before I die. Will one be able to let me see my son ? "
" I can, king ! " was the reply, " if I am allowed
to become a recluse."
" My dear," said the king, " whether thou become
a recluse or not let me see my son ! "
And he respectfully received the king s message
with the words : " So be it king ! " and went to
Kajagaha ; and stood at the edge of the congregation
at the time of the Master s instruction, and heard the
gospel, and attained Arahantship with his followers,
and was received with the come, bhikkhu sanction.
The Master spent the first Lent after he had become
Buddha at Isipatana ; and when it was over went to
Uruvela and stayed there three months and overcame
the three brothers, ascetics. And on the full-moon day
of the month of Phussa, he went to Rajagaha with a
retinue of a thousand mendicants, and there he dwelt
two months. Thus five months had elapsed since he
left Benares, the cold season was past, and seven or
eight days since the arrival of Udayin, the Elder.
And on the full-moon day of Phagguni Udayin
thought : " The cold season is past ; the spring has
come ; men raise their crops and set out on their
journeys ; the earth is covered with fresh grass ; the
218 BUDDHIST BIRTH STORIES
woods are full of flowers ; the roads are fit to walk on ;
now is the time for the Sage to show favour to his
family." And going to the Blessed One, he praised
travelling in about sixty stanzas, that the Sage might
revisit his native town, beginning thus :
289. Now crimson glow the trees, dear lord, and cast
In quest of fruit their sheathing coverings.
Like crests of flame they shine irradiant
And rich in tastes, great hero, is the time.
290. Not over hot, nor over cold ; nor is
There dearth of food for alms. The earth is green
With verdure. This the fitting time, great sage. 1
Then the Master said to him : " But why, Udayin,
do you sing the pleasures of travelling with so sweet
a voice 1 "
" Sir," was the reply, " your father is anxious to
see you once more ; will you not show favour to your
relations 1 "
" Tis well said, Udayin ! I will do so. Tell the
Order that they will fulfil the duty (laid on all its
members) of journeying from place to place."
Kajudayin accordingly told the brethren. And
the Blessed One attended by twenty thousand mendi
cants free from sin ten thousand clansmen from
Magadha and Anga, and ten thousand from Kapila-
vatthu started from Kajagaha, and travelled a
league a day : going slowly with the intention of
reaching Kapilavatthu, sixty leagues from Kajagaha,
in two months.
And the elder, thinking : "I will let the king know
that the Blessed One has started ", rose into the air
1 His verses are in the elder s anthology. See Psalms of the
Brethren, vers. 527-9. Only six slokas there make up his invita
tion ; they do not contain the last two lines above.- Ed.
THE STORY OF THE LINEAGE 219
and appeared in the king s house. The king was glad
to see the elder, made him sit down on a splendid
couch, filled a bowl with the delicious food made
ready for himself, and gave to him. Then the elder
rose up, and made as if he would go away.
" Sit down and eat," said the king.
" I will rejoin the Master, and eat then," said he.
" But where is the Master ? " asked the king.
" He has set out on his journey, attended by twenty
thousand mendicants, to see you, king ! " said he.
The king, glad at heart, said : "Do you eat this ;
and until my son has arrived at this town, provide
him with food from here."
The elder agreed ; and the king waited on him, and
then had the bowl cleansed with perfumed chunam,
and filled with the best of food, and placed it in the
elder s hand, saying : " Give it to the Tathagata."
And the elder, in the sight of all, threw the bowl
into the air, and himself rising up into the sky, took
the food again, and placed it in the hand of the Master.
The Master ate it. Every day the elder brought
him food in the same manner. So the Master himself
was fed, even on the journey, from the king s table.
The elder day by day, when he had finished his meal,
told the king : " To-day the Blessed One has come so
far, to-day so far." And by talking of the high
character of the Buddha, he made all the king s
family delighted with the Master, even before they
saw him. On that account the Blessed One gave him
pre-eminence, saying, " Pre-eminent, mendicants,
among all those of my disciples who gained over my
family, was Kaludayin." l
1 Angutlara i, 25.
220 BUDDHIST BIRTH STORIES
The Sakyas, as they sat talking of the prospect of
seeing their distinguished relative, considered what
place he could stay in ; and deciding that the
Nigrodha Grove would be a pleasant residence, they
made everything ready there. And with fragrant
flowers in their hands they went out to meet him ;
and sending in front the baby boys and girls and the
boys and girls of the town and then the young men
and maidens of the royal family, they themselves,
decked of their own accord with sweet-smelling
flowers and chunam, came close behind, conducting
the Blessed One to the Nigrodha Grove. There the
Blessed One sat down on the Buddha s throne pre
pared for him, surrounded by twenty thousand
The Sakyas are proud by nature, and stubborn in
their pride. Thinking : " Prince Siddhattha is
younger than we are, standing to us in the relation of
younger brother, or nephew, or son, or grandson ",
they said to the little children and the young people :
" Do you bow down before him, we will seat ourselves
behind you." The Blessed One when they had thus
taken their seats, perceived what they meant ; and
thinking : " My relations pay me no reverence ;
come now, I must make them to do so," he fell
into the ecstasy based on super-knowledge, and
rising into the air as if shaking of! the dust off his feet
upon them, he performed a miracle like unto that
double miracle at the foot of the Gandamba-tree. 1
1 See above, p. 105. The Dhammapada Commentary, p. 334,
has a different account of the miracle performed on this occasion.
It says he made a jewelled cloister (ratana-cankama) in the sky,
and walking up and down in it, preached the Faith (Dhamma).
THE STORY OF THE LINEAGE 221
The king, seeing that miracle, said : "0 Blessed
One ! When you were presented to Kala Devala to
do obeisance to him on the day on which you were
born, and I saw your feet turn round and place them
selves on the brahmin s head, I paid homage to you.
That was my first homage. When you were seated
on your couch in the shade of the jambu-tree on the
day of the ploughing festival, I saw how the shadow
over you did not turn, and I bowed down at your
feet. That was my second homage. Now, seeing
this miracle unseen before, I bow down at your feet.
This is my third homage."
Then, when the king paid him homage, there
was not a single Sakya who was able to refrain from
bowing down before the Blessed One : and all of
them did homage.
So the Blessed One, having compelled his relatives
to bow down before him, descended from the sky, and
sat down on the seat prepared for him. And when the
Blessed One was seated, the assembly of his relatives
yielded him pre-eminence ; and all sat there with
unity in their hearts.
Then a thunder-cloud poured forth a shower of
rain, and the copper-coloured water went away
rumbling beneath the earth. He who wished to get
wet, did get wet ; but not even a drop fell on the body
of him who did not wish to get wet. And all seeing
it became filled with astonishment, and said one
to another : " Lo ! what miracle. Lo ! what
wonder ! "
But the Teacher said : " Not now only did a shower
of rain fall upon me in the assembly of my relations,
222 BUDDHIST BIRTH STORIES
formerly also this happened." And in this connexion
he told the story of his Birth as Vessantara. 1
When they had heard his discourse they rose up,
and paid reverence to him, and went away. Not one
of them, either the king or any of his ministers, asked
him on leaving : " To-morrow accept your meal
So on the next day the Master, attended by twenty
thousand mendicants, entered Kapilavatthu to beg.
Then also no one came to him or invited him to his
house, or took his bowl. The Blessed One, standing
at the gate considered : " How then did the former
Buddhas go on their begging rounds in their native
town ? Did they go direct to the houses of the kings,
or did they beg straight on from house to house ? "
Then, not finding that any of the Buddhas had gone
direct, he thought : "I, too, must accept this descent
and tradition as my own ; so shall my disciples in
future, learning of me, fulfil the duty of going for
alms." And beginning at the first house, he went
straight on for alms.
At the rumour that the young chief Siddhattha was
going for alms from door to door, the windows in the
two-storied and three-storied houses were thrown
open, and the multitude was transfixed at the sight.
And the lady, the mother of Kahula, thought : " My
lord, who used to go to and fro in this very town with
gilded palanquin and every sign of royal pomp, now
with a potsherd in his hand begs his food from door
to door, with shaven hair and beard, and clad in
yellow robes. Is this becoming ? " And she opened
1 Jataka, no. 547 (the last one).
THE STORY OF THE LINEAGE 223
the window, and looked at the Blessed One ; and she
beheld him glorious with the unequalled majesty of
a Buddha, distinguished with the Thirty-two
characteristic signs and the eighty lesser marks of a
Great Being, and lighting up the street of the city
with a halo resplendent with many colours, proceeding
to a fathom s length all round his person.
And she announced it to the king, saying : " Thy
son is walking for alms from door to door ; " and she
magnified him with the eight stanzas on " The Lion
among Men ", beginning :
291. Glossy and dark and soft and curly is his hair ;
Spotless and fair as the sun is his forehead ;
Well-proportioned and prominent and delicate is his nose ;
Around him is diffused a network of rays
The Lion among Men !
The king was deeply agitated ; and he went forth
instantly, gathering up his robe in his hand, and going
quickly stood before the Blessed One, and said :
" Why, Master, do you 1 put us to shame ? Why do
you walk about for alms ? Do you think it impossible
to provide a meal for so many monks ? "
" This is our custom, king ! " was the reply.
" Not so, Master ! our descent is from the royal
race of the Great Elected ; 2 and amongst them all
not one chief has ever gone about for alms."
" This succession of kings is thy descent, king !
but mine is the succession of the Buddhas, from
Dlpankara and Kondanya and the rest down to
Kassapa. These, and thousands of others reckoned as
Buddhas, have gone about for alms, and lived on
1 So also the Pali.
3 Maha Sammata, the first king among men.
224 BUDDHIST BIRTH STORIES
alms." And standing in the middle of the street he
uttered the verse :
292. Let him rise up, and loiter not !
Let him fare the righteous faring !
Who fares in that way happy lives,
Both in this world and in the next. 1
And when the verse was finished the king attained to
the Fruit of the First, and then, on hearing the
following verse, to the Fruit of the Second Path :
293. The righteous faring let him fare !
Let him not fare amiss !
The righteous f arer happy lives,
Both in this world and in the next.
And when he heard the story of the Birth as the
Keeper of Righteousness, 2 he attained to the Fruit of
the Third Path. And just as he was dying, seated on
the royal couch under the white canopy of state, he
attained to Arahantship. The king never practised
spiritual exertions in the forest life.
Now as soon as he had realized the Fruit of Con
version, he took the Buddha s bowl and conducted
the Blessed One and his retinue to the palace, and
served them with savoury food, both hard and soft.
And when the meal was over, all the women of the
household came and did obeisance to the Blessed
One, except only the mother of Rahula. 3
But she, though she told her attendants to go and
salute their lord, stayed behind, saying : " If I have
virtue in his eyes, my lord will himself come to me ;
and when he has come I will pay him reverence."
1 Dhammapada, ver. 168 f .
2 MaTia-DTiammapala Jataka, no. 447.
* The following episode should be compared with the slighter
sketch in Vinaya, i, 82. Ed.
THE STORY OF THE LINEAGE 225
And the Blessed One, giving his bowl to the king to
carry, went with his two chief disciples to the apart
ments of the daughter of the king, saying : " The
king s daughter shall in no wise be spoken to, how
soever she may be pleased to welcome me." And he
sat down on the seat prepared for him.
And she came quickly and held him by the ankles,
and laid her head on his feet, and so did homage to
him, even as she had intended. And the king told of
the fullness of her love for the Blessed One, and of her
goodness of heart, saying : " When my daughter
heard, Master, that you had put on the yellow robes
from that time forth she dressed only in yellow. When
she heard of your taking but one meal a day, she
adopted the same custom. When she heard that you
renounced the use of elevated couches, she slept on
a mat spread on the floor. When she heard you had
given up the use of garlands and unguents, she also
used them no more. And when her relatives sent a
message, saying, Let us take care of you/ she paid
them no attention at all. Such are my daughter s
virtues, Blessed One ! "
"Tie no wonder, king ! " was the reply, " that
she should watch over herself now that she has you
for a protector, and that her wisdom is mature :
formerly, even when wandering among the mountains
without a protector, and when her wisdom was not
mature, she watched over herself." And he told the
story of his Birth as the Moonsprite ; l and rose from
his seat, and went away.
1 Candakinnara Jataka, no. 485, where this episode forma the
introduction to the story.
226 BUDDHIST BIRTH STORIES
On the next day the festivals of the coronation,
and of the housewarming, and of the marriage of
Nanda, the king s son, were being celebrated all
together. But the Buddha went to his house, and
gave him his bowl to carry ; and with the object of
making him abandon the world, he wished him true
happiness ; and then, rising from his seat, departed.
And (the bride) Janapada Kalyani, 1 seeing the young
man go away, gazed wonderingly at him, and cried
out : " my lord, whither go you so quickly ? " But
he, not venturing to say to the Blessed One, " Take
your bowl ", followed him even unto the Vihara.
And the Blessed One received him, unwilling though
he was, into the Order.
It was on the third day after he reached Kapilapura
that the Blessed One ordained Nanda. On the
seventh day the mother of Rahula arrayed the boy in
his best, and sent him to the Blessed One, saying :
" Look, dear, at that monk, attended by twenty
thousand monks, and beautiful in appearance as a
Brahma ! That is your father. He had certain
great treasures, which we have not seen since he
abandoned his home. Go now, and ask for your
inheritance, saying, Father, I am the prince. When
I am crowned, I shall become a king over all the
earth. I have need of the treasure. Give me the
treasure ; for a son is heir to his father s property.
The boy went up to the Blessed One, and gained
a love of his father, and stood there glad and joyful,
saying : " Happy, monk, is thy shadow ! " and
adding many other words befitting his position.
1 Lit., the lovely one of the country.
THE STORY OF THE LINEAGE 227
When the Blessed One had ended his meal, and had
given thanks, he rose from his seat, and went away.
And the child followed the Blessed One, saying:
Monk ! give me my inheritance ! give me my
inheritance ! "
The Blessed One turned the boy not back. And the
people with the Blessed One, were not able to
stop him. And so he went with the Blessed One even
up to the grove. Then the Blessed One thought :
c This wealth, this property of his father s, which he
is asking for, perishes in the using, and brings vexa
tion with it ! I will give him the sevenfold Ariyan
wealth which I obtained under the Bo-tree, and make
him the heir of a spiritual inheritance ! " And he
said to Sariputta : " Well, then do thou, Sariputta,
receive Rahula into the Order."
But when the child had been taken into the Order
the king grieved exceedingly. And he was unable to
bear his grief, and made it known to the Blessed One,
and asked of him a boon, saying : "If you so please,
master, let not my lords receive a son into the
Order without the leave of his father and mother."
And the Blessed One granted the boon.
And the next day, as he sat in the king s house after
his meal was over, the king, sitting respectfully by
him, said : " Master ! when you were practising
austerities, a deva came to me, and said : Your
son is dead ! And I believed him not, and rejected
what he said, answering : My son will not die
without attaining Buddhahood !
And he replied, saying : l!< Why should you now
have believed ? when formerly though they showed
228 BUDDHIST BIRTH STORIES
you my bones, and said your son was dead, you did
not believe them. * And in that connexion he told
the story of his Birth as the Great Keeper of
Righteousness. 1 And when the story was ended, the
king attained to the Fruit of the Third Path. And
so the Blessed One established his father in the
Three Fruits ; and he returned to Kajagaha attended
by the company of the brethren, and resided at
At that time the householder Anatha Pindika,
bringing merchandise in five hundred carts, went to
the house of a trader in Rajagaha, his intimate
friend, and there heard that a Blessed Buddha had
arisen. And very early in the morning he went to the
Teacher, the door being opened by the power of
devas, and heard the Truth and became converted. 2
And on the next day he gave a great donation to the
Order, with the Buddha at their head, and received
a promise from the Teacher that he would come to
Then along the road, forty-five leagues in length, he
built resting-places at every league, at an expenditure
of a hundred thousand for each. And he bought the
Grove called Jetavana for eighteen kotis of gold
pieces, laying them side by side over the ground, and
erected there a new building. In the midst thereof
he made a pleasant room for him of the tenfold power,
and around it separately constructed dwellings for
the eighty chief elders, and other residences with single
and double walls, and long halls and open roofs,
1 Mahadhammapala Jataka, no. 447. See above, p. 224.
a See Vin, ii, 154 f. ; Kindred Sayings, i, 271 f.
THE STORY OF THE LINEAGE 229
ornamented with ducks and quails ; and ponds also
he made, and terraces to walk on by day and by night.
And so having constructed a delightful residence
on a pleasant spot, at an expense of eighteen kotis,
he sent a message to him of the tenfold power that
he should come.
The Master, hearing the messenger s words, left
Rajagaha attended by a great multitude of monks,
and in due course arrived at the city of Savatthi.
Then the wealthy merchant decorated the monastery ;
and on the day on which the Tathagata should arrive
at Jetavana he arrayed his son in splendour, and sent
him on with five hundred youths in festival attire.
And he and his retinue, holding five hundred flags
resplendent with cloth of five different colours,
appeared before him of the tenfold power. And
behind him Maha-Subhadda and Chula-Subhadda,
the two daughters of the merchant, went forth with
five hundred damsels carrying water-pots full of
water. And behind them, decked with all her
ornaments, the merchant s wife went forth, with
five hundred matrons carrying vessels full of food.
And behind them all, the great merchant himself,
clad in new robes, with five hundred traders also
dressed in new robes, went out to meet the Blessed
The Blessed One, sending this retinue of lay
disciples in front, and attended by the great multitude
of monks, entered the Jetavana monastery with the
infinite grace and unequalled majesty of a Buddha,
making the spaces of the grove bright with the halo
from his person, as if they were sprinkled with gold
230 BUDDHIST BIRTH STORIES
Then Anatha Pincjika asked him : " How, my lord,
shall I deal with this Vihara ? "
" Householder," was the reply, " give it then to
the Order of Mendicants, whether now present or
hereafter to arrive."
And the great merchant, saying : " So be it, my
lord," brought a golden vessel, and poured water over
the hand of him of the tenfold power, and dedicated
the Vihara, saying, " I give this Jetavana Vihara to
the Order of Mendicants with the Buddha at their
head, and to all from every direction now present or
hereafter to come." x
And the Master accepted the Vihara, and giving
thanks, pointed out the advantages of monasteries,
294. Cold they ward off, and heat ;
So also beasts of prey,
And creeping things, and gnats,
And rains in the cold season.
And when the dreaded heat and winds
Arise, they ward them off.
295. To give to monks a dwelling-place,
Wherein in safety and at ease
To think and insight gain,
The Buddha praises most of all.
296. Let therefore a wise man,
Regarding his own weal,
Have pleasant monasteries built,
And lodge there learned men.
297. Let him with cheerful mien,
Give food to them, and drink,
And clothes, and dwelling-places
To the upright in mind.
298. Then they shall preach to him the Norm
The Norm, dispelling every grief
Which Norm, when here- he learns, he sins
No more, reaching the perfect well (Vinaya, Chulla-
vagga VI, 1).
1 This formula has been constantly found in rock inscriptions
in India and Ceylon over the ancient cave-dwellings of Buddhist
THE STORY OF THE LINEAGE 231
Anatha Pindika began the dedication festival from
the second day. The festival held at the dedication
of Visakha s building ended in four months, but
Anatha Pindika s dedication festival lasted nine
months. At the festival, too, eighteen kotis were
spent ; so on that one monastery he spent wealth
amounting to fifty-four kotis.
Long ago, too, in the time of the Blessed Buddha
Vipassin, a merchant named Punabbasu Mitta
bought that very spot by laying golden bricks over
it, and built a monastery there a league in length.
And in the time of the Blessed Buddha Sikhin, a
merchant named Sirivaddha bought that very spot
by spreading golden ploughshares over it, and built
there a monastery three-quarters of a league in length.
And in the time of the Blessed Buddha Vessabhu,
a merchant named Sotthiya bought that very spot
by laying golden elephant feet along it, and built a
monastery there half a league in length. And in the
time of the Blessed Buddha Kakusandha, a merchant
named Acchtita also bought that very spot by laying
golden bricks over it, and built there a monastery a
quarter of a league in length. And in the time of the
Blessed Buddha Konagamana, a merchant named
Ugga bought that very spot by laying golden tortoises
over it, and built there a monastery half a league in
length. And in the time of the Blessed Buddha
Kassapa, a merchant named Sumangala bought that
very spot by laying golden bricks over it, and built
there a monastery sixty acres in extent. And in the
time of our Blessed One, Anatha Pindika the merchant
bought that very spot by laying kahapana coins over
232 BUDDHIST BIRTH STORIES
it, and built there a monastery thirty acres in extent.
For that spot is a place which not one of all the
Buddhas has deserted. And so the Blessed One lived
in that spot from the attainment of all-knowledge
under the Bo-tree till his death.
This is the Proximate Epoch.
And now we will tell the stories of all his Births.
End of the Niddna Kathd.
TABLES ILLUSTRATIVE OF THE HISTORY
AND MIGRATIONS OF THE BUDDHIST
1. The Jdtaka Atthavannand. A collection, probably first
made in the third or fourth century B.C., of stories previously
existing, and ascribed to the Buddha, and put into its present
form in Ceylon, in the fifth century A.D. The Pali text has been
edited by Professor Fausboll, of Copenhagen, 1877-96. Eng.
trans. Ed. Cowell, Cambridge, 1895-1907.
la. Singhalese translation of No. 1, called Pan siya panas
Jdtaka pota. Written in Ceylon in or about 1320 A.D.
16. Outtila Kdwyaya. A poetical version in Elu, or old Sing
halese, of one of the stories in la, by Badawaettsewa Unnanse,
about 1415. Edited in Colombo, 1870, with introduction and
commentary, by Batuwan Tudawa.
Ic. Kusa Jdtakaya. A poetical version in Elu, or old Singhalese,
of one of the stories in la, by Alagiawanna Mohottale, 1610.
Edited in Colombo, with commentary, 1868.
Id. An Eastern Love Story. Translation in verse of Ic, by
Thomas Steele, C.C.S., London, 1871.
le. Asadisa Jdtakaya. An Elu poem, by Rajadhiraja Sinha,
king of Ceylon in 1780.
2. The Chariyd Pitaka. A book of the Buddhist Scriptures
of the (?) fourth century B.C., containing thirty-five of the oldest
stories. See Table IV.
3. The Jdtaka Mala. A Sanskrit work of unknown date, also
containing thirty-five of the oldest stories in No. 1 . See Table IV.
4. The Pannzsa-Jdtakam, or " 50 Jatakas ". A Pali work
written in Siam, of unknown date and contents, but apparently
distinct from No. 1 . See above, p. Ixi.
234 INDIAN WORKS
6. Pancha Tantra. ?Medieval. See above, pp. Ixviii-lxxii.
Text edited by Kosegarten, Bonn, 1848.
Kielhorn and Biihler, Bombay, 1868.
6. Translations : German, by Benfey, Leipzig, 1859.
7. French Dubois, Paris, 1826.
8. Lancerau, Paris, 1871.
9. Greek ,, Galanos and Typaldos,
10. Hitopadesa. Medieval. Compiled principally from No. 5,
with additions from another unknown work.
Text edited by Carey and Colebrooke, Serampur, 1804.
Hamilton, London, 1810.
Bernstein, Breslau, 1823.
Schlegel and Lassen, Bonn, 1829-31.
Nyalankar, Calcutta, 1830 and 1844.
Johnson, Hertford, 1847 and 1864, with
Yates, Calcutta, 1841.
E. Arnold, Bombay, 1859.
Max Miiller, London, 1864-8.
11. Translations: English, by Wilkins, Bath, 1787; re
printed by Nyalankar in his edition
of the text.
12. Sir. W. Jones, Calcutta,
12a. E.Arnold, London, 1861
13. German ,, Max Miiller, Leipzig,
13o. Dursch, Tubingen, 1853.
14. L. Fritze, Breslau, 1874.
15. French Langles, Paris, 1790.
16. ,, ,, Lancerau, Paris, 1855.
17. Greek Galanos and Typaldos,
18. Vetala Panca Vimsati. Twenty-five stories told by a
Vetala, or demon. Sanskrit text in No. 32, vol. 11. 288-93.
18a. Greek version of No. 18 added to No. 17.
19. VetMla Kathei. Tamil version of No. 18. Edited by
Robertson in A Compilation of Papers in the Tamil Language,
INDIAN WORKS 235
20. No. 19, translated into English by Babington, in Miscel
laneous Translations from Oriental Languages, London, 1831.
21. No. 18, translated into Brajbakha, by Surat, 1740.
22. Bytal Pachisi. Trans, from No. 21 into Eng. by Raja
Kali Krishna Bahadur, Calcutta, 1834. See No. 41a.
22a. Baital Pachisi. Hindustani version of No. 21, Calcutta,
1805. Edited by Barker, Hertford, 1855.
226. English versions of 22a, by J. T. Platts, Rollings, and
22c. Vikram and the Vampire, or Tales of Hindu Devilry.
Adopted from 226 by Richard F. Burton, London, 1870.
22d. German version of 22a, by H. Oesterley, in the Bibliothek
Orientalischer Mdrchen und Erzdhlungen, 1873, with valuable
introduction and notes.
23. Ssiddi Kur. Mongolian version of No. 18.
24. German versions of No. 23, by Benjamin Bergmann in
Nomadische Streifereien im Lande der KalmUcken, i, 247 and foil.,
1804 ; and by Juelg, 1866 and 1868.
25. German version of No. 18, by Dr. Luber, Gorz, 1875.
26. Suka Saptati. The seventy stories of a parrot.
27. Greek version of No. 26, by Demetrios Galanos and G.
Typaldos, Psittalcou Mythologiai Nukterinai, included in their
version of Nos. 10 and 18.
28. Persian version of No. 26, now lost ; but reproduce
Nachshebi under the title Tuti Nameh.
28a. Tola Kahani. Hindustani version of 26. Edited by
286 English version of 28a, by the Rev. G. Small.
29. Sirihasana Dvatrimsali. The thirty-two stories of
throne of Vikramaditya ; called also Vikrama Cantra. 1
m 29a. ^Singhasan Battisi. Hindi version of 29. Edited by Syed
30.Faim Singhasan. Bengali version of 29, Serampur,
1 Rl 8
31. Arji Borji Chan. Mongolian version of 29.
32 Vrihat-katha. By Gunadhya, probably about the sixth
century; in the Paisaci Prakrit. See above, pi -
33. KathaSaritSagara. The Ocean of the Rivers of Tales. It is
founded on No. 32. Includes No. 18, and a part of No. 5.
236 INDIAN WORKS
Sanskrit text edited by Brockhaus, Leipzig, vol. i, with German
translation, 1839 ; vol. ii, text only, 1862 and 1866. Original by
Sri Somadeva Bhatta, of Kashmir, at the beginning of the twelfth
century A.D. See above, pp. Ixvi f .
34. Vrihat-katha. A Sanskrit version of No. 34, by Kshemendra,
of Kashmir. Written independently of Somadeva s work, No. 32.
See above, p. Ixvii.
35. Panca Danda Chattra Prabandha. Stories about King
Vikramaditya s magic umbrella. Jain Sanskrit. Text and
German version by Weber, Berlin, 1877.
36. Vasavadatta. By Subandhu. Possibly as old as the sixth
century. Edited by Fitz-Edward Hall, in the Bibliotheca Indica,
Calcutta, 1859. This and the next are romances, not story-books.
37. Kadambari. By Bana Bhatta, ? seventh century. Edited
in Calcutta, 1850 ; and again, 1872, by Tarkavacaspati.
38. Bengali version of No. 37, by Tara Shankar Tarkaratna.
Tenth edition, Calcutta, 1868.
39. Dasa-kumdra-carita. By Dandin, ? sixth century. Edited
by Carey, 1804 ; Wilson, 1846 ; and by Biihler, 1873.
39a. Hindoo Tales, founded on No. 39. By P. W. Jacob,
396. Une Tetrade. By Hippolyte Fauche, Paris, 1861-3.
Contains a trans, into French of No. 39.
40. Katharnava, The Stream of Tales. In four Books ; the
first being No. 18, the second No. 29, the third and four
41. Purusha-pariksha, the Adventures of King Hammira.
Probably of the fourteenth century. By Vidyapati.
41a. English translation of No. 41, by Raja Kali Krishna,
Serampur, 1830. See No. 22.
42. Vlra-caritan, the Adventures of King Salivahana.
THE KALILAG AND DAMNAG LITERATURE
1. A lost Buddhist work in a language of Northern India,
ascribed to Bidpai. See above, pp. Ixv-lxvii.
2. Pelvi version, 531-79 A.D. By Barzuye, the Court
physician of Khosru Nushirvan. See above, p.. xxviii,
3. Kalilag und Damnag. Syrian version of No. 2. Published
with German trans, by Gustav Bickell, and Introduction by
Professor Benfey, Leipzig, 1876. This and No. 15 preserve the
best evidence of the contents of No. 2, and of its Buddhist original
4. Kalildh wd Dimnah (Fables of Bidpai). Arabic version of
No. 3, by Abd-allah, son of Almokaffa. Date about 750 A.D. Text
of one recension edited by Silvestre de Sacy, Paris, 1816. Other
recensions noticed at length in Ignazio Guidi s Studii sul testo
Arabo del libra di Calila e Dimna (Rome, 1873).
5. Kalila and Dimna. Eng. version of No. 4, by Knatchbull,
6. Das Buck des Weisen. German version of No. 4, by Wolff,
7. Stephanites kai Ichvelates Greek version of No. 4, by
Simeon Seth, about 1080 A.D. Edited by Seb. Gottfried Starke,
Berlin, 1697 (repr. in Athens, 1851), and by Aurivillius,
8. Latin version of No. 7, by Father Possin, at the end of his
edition of Pachymeres, Rome, 1866.
9. Persian translation of No. 4, by Abdul Maali Nasr Allah,
1118-53. Exists, in MS. only, in Paris, Berlin, and Vienna.
10. Anvar i Suhaili. Persian translation, through the last, of
No. 4, by Husain ben Ali el Vaiz U 1-KashifI ; end of the fifteenth
11. Anvar i Suhaili, or the Lights of Canopus. Eng. version of
No. 10, by Edward Eastwick, Hertford, 1854.
lla. Another Eng. version of No. 10, by Arthur N. Wollaeton
238 KALI LAG AND DAMNAG
12. Livre des Lumieres. French version of No. 10, by David
Sahid, d Ispahan, Paris, 1644, 8vo.
13. Del Ooverno de Eegni. Italian version of No. 7, Ferrara,
1853 ; by Giulio Nuti. Edited by Teza, Bologna, 1872.
14. Hebrew version of No. 4, by Joel (?), before 1250. Exists
only in a single MS. in Paris, of which the first part is missing.
15. Directorium Humance Vitce. Latin version of No. 14, by
John of Capua. Written 1263-78. Printed about 1480,
without date or name of place. Next to No. 3 it is the best
evidence of the contents of the lost books Nos. 1 and 2.
16. German version of No. 15, also about 1480, but without
date or name of place.
17. Version in Ulm dialect of No. 16. Ulm, 1483.
18. Baldo s Alter Msopus. A translation direct from Arabic
into Latin (? thirteenth century). Edited in du Meril s Poesies
inedites du moyen age, Paris, 1854.
19. Calila e Dymna. Spanish version of No. 4 (? through an
unknown Latin version). About 1251. Published in Biblioleca
de Autores Espanoles, Madrid, 1860, vol. 51.
20. Calila, et Dimna. Latin version of the last, by Kaimond de
21. Conde Lucanor. By Don Juan Manuel (died 1347), grand
son of St. Ferdinand of Spain. Spanish source not certain.
22. Sinbad the Sailor, or Book of the Seven Wise Masters. See
Comparetti, Ricerche intorno al Libro di Sindibad, Milano, 1869.
23. Conies et Nouvelles. By Bonaventure des Periers, Lyons,
24. Exemplario contra los Enganos. 1493. Spanish version of
25. Discorse degli Animali. Italian of last, by Ange Firenzuola,
26. La Filoso Fia Morale. By Doni, 1552. Italian of last but
27. North s English version of last, 1570.
28. Fables, by La Fontaine.
First edition in vi books, the subjects of which are mostly
taken from classical authors, and from Planudes jEsop,
Second edition in xi books, the five later taken from Nos.
12 and 23, Paris, 1678.
Third edition in xii books, Paris, 1694.
THE BARLAAM AND JOSAPHAT SERIES
1. St. John of Damascus s Greek Text. Seventh century, A.D.
First edited by Boissonade in his Anecdota Grceca, Paris, 1832,
vol. iv. Reprinted in Migne s Patrologia Cursus Completes, Series
Graca, torn, xcvi, pp. 836-1250, with the Latin translation by
Billy * in parallel columns. Boissonade s text is reviewed, and
its imperfections pointed out, by Schubart (who makes use of six
Vienna MSS.) in the Wiener Jahrbucher, vol. Ixiii.
2. Syriac version of No. 1 exists only in MS.
3. Arabic version of No. 2 exists only in MS., one MS. being
at least as old as the eleventh century.
4. Latin version of No. 1 of unknown date and author, of
which MSS. of the twelfth century are still extant. There is a
black-letter edition (? Spiers, 1470) in the British Museum. It
was adopted, with abbreviations in several places, by Vincentius
Bellovicensis, in his Speculum Historiale (lib. xv, cap. 1-63) ;
by Jacobus a Voragine, in his Legenda Aurea (ed. Griisse, 1846) ;
and was reprinted in full in the editions of the works of St. John
of Damascus, published at Basel in the sixteenth century. 2 From
this Latin version all the later medieval works on this subject
are either directly or indirectly derived.
4a. An abbreviated version in Latin of the fourteenth century
in the British Museum. Arundel MS. 330, fol. 51-7. See Koch,
No. 9, p. xiv.
5. Barlaam und Josaphat. A poem of the thirteenth century,
published from a MS. in the Solms-Laubach Library by L.
Diefenbach, under the title Mittheilungen ttber eine noch unge~
druckte m.h.d. Bearbeitung des E. and J. Giessen, 1836.
1 Billy (1535-77) was Abbot of St. Michael s, in Brittany.
Another edition of his Latin version, by Rosweyd, is also reprinted
in Migne, Series Latina, torn. Ixxiii ; and several separate editions
have appeared besides (Antwerp, 1602 ; Cologne, 1624, etc.).
2 The British Museum copy of the first, undated, edition, has
the date 1539 written in ink on the title-page. Rosweyd, in
Note 4 to his edition of Billius (Migne, vol. Ixxiii, p. 606), mentions
an edition bearing the date 1548. In the British Museum there
is a third, dated 1675 (on the last page).
240 BARLAAM AND JOSAPHAT
6. Another poem, partly published from an imperfect MS. at
Zurich, by Franz Pfeiffer, in Haupt s Zeitsch. f. d. Alterthum, i,
7. Barlaam und Josaphat. By Rudolf von Ems. Written
about 1230. Latest and best edition by Franz Pfeiffer, in
Dichtungen des deutschen Mittelalters, vol. iii, Leipzig, 1843. This
popular treatment of the subject exists in numerous MSS.
7a. Die Hystori Josaphat und Barlaam. Date and author not
named. Black-letter. Woodcuts. Title on last page. Fifty-
six short chapters. Quaint and forcible old German. A small
folio in the British Museum.
8. Historia von dem Leben der Zweien H. Beichtiger Barlaam
Eremiten, und Josaphat des Konig s in Indien Sohn, etc. Trans
lated from the Latin by the Counts of Helffenstein and
Hohenzollern, Miinchen, 1684. In 40 long chapters, pp. 602,
9. Het Leven en Bedryf van Barlaam den Heremit, en Josaphat
Koning van Indien. Noo in Nederduits vertaalt door F. v. H.,
Antwerp, 1593, 12mo.
A new edition of this version appeared in 1672. This is a long
and tedious prose version of the holy legend.
8. Poem by Gui de Cambray (1200-50). Edited by Hermann
Zotenberg and Paul Meyer in the Bibliothek des Literarischen
Vereins, in Stuttgart, vol. Ixxv, 1864. They mention also (pp.
9. La Vie de Seint Josaphaz. Poem by Chardry. Edited by
John Koch, Heilbronn, 1879, who confirms the editors of No. 8 as
to the following old French versions, 10-15 ; and further adduces
10. A third poem by an unknown author.
11. A prose work by an unknown author all three being of
the 13th cent.
lla. Another in MS. Egerton, 745, British Museum.
12. A poem in French of the fifteenth century, based on the
abstract in Latin of No. 4, by Jacob de Voragine.
13. A Provencal tale in prose, containing only the story of
Josafat and the tales told by Barlaam, without the moralizations.
14. A miracle play of about 1400.
BARLAAM AND JOSAPHAT 241
16. Another miracle play of about 1460,
16. Vita di fan Oiosafat convertito da Barlaam. By Geo.
Antonio Remondini. Published about 1600, at Venezia and
Bassano, 16mo. There is a second edition of this, also
without date ; and a third, published in Modena in 1768, with
17. Storia de SS. Barlaam e Oiosafatte. By Bottari, Rome,
1734, 8vo, of which a second edition appeared in 1816.
18. La santissima vita di Santo Josafat, figluolo del ReAvenero,
Re deir India, da che ei nacque per infino cKei mori. A prose
romance, edited by Telesforo Bini from a MS. belonging to the
Commendatore Francesco de Rossi, in pp. 124-52 of a collection,
Rime e Prose, Lucca, 1852, 8vo.
19. A prose Vita da Santo Josafat. In MS. Add. 10902 of the
British Museum, which Paul Mayer (see No. 8) says begins
exactly as No. 18, but ends differently. (See Koch, No. 9
20. A Rappresentatione di Barlaam e Josafat is mentioned by
Federigo Palermo in his / manuscritti Palatini de Firenze, 1860,
vol. ii, p. 401.
A full account of all the Skandinavian versions is given in
Barlaam s ok Josaphafs Saja, by C. R. Unger, Christiania,
Honesta, etc, historia de la rara vida de los famosos y singulares
sanctos Barlaam, etc. By Baltasat de Santa Cruz. Published in
the Spanish dialect used in the Phillipine Islands at Manila, 1692.
A literal translation of Bilius (No. 1).
In Horstmann s Altenglische Legenden, Paderborn, 1875, an Old
English version of the legend is published from the Bodleian MS.
No. 779. There is another recension of the same poem in the
Harleian MS. No. 4196. Both are of the fourteenth century;
and of the second there is another copy in the Vernon MS. See
further, Warton s History of English Poetry, i, 271-9, and ii, 30,
Horstmann has also published a Middle English version in the
Program of the Sagan Gymnasium, 1877.
242 BAELAAM AND JOSAPHAT
The History of the Five Wise Philosophers ; or, the Wonderful
Relation of the Life of Jehoshaphat the Hermit, Son of Avenerian,
King of Barma in India, etc. By N. H. (that is, Nicholas Herick),
Gent., London, 1711, pp. 128, 12mo. This is a prose romance, and
an abridged translation of the Italian version of 1600 (No. 16),
and contains only one fable (at p. 46) of the Nightingale and the
The work referred to on p. xliii, under the title Gesta Eoman-
orum, a collection of tales with lengthy moralizations (probably
sermons), was made in England about 1300. It soon passed to
the Continent, and was repeatedly re-written in numerous MSS.,
with additions and alterations. Three printed editions appeared
between 1472 and 1475 ; and one of these, containing 181 stories,
is the source of the work now known under this title. Tale No. 168
quotes Barlaam. The best edition of the Latin version is by
H. Oesterley, Berlin, 1872. The last English translation is
Hooper s, Bohn s Antiquarian Library, London, 1877. The Early
English versions have been edited by Sir F. Madden ; and again,
in vol. xxxiii of the Extra Series of the Early English Text
Society, by S. J. H. Herrtage.
The Seven Sages (edited by Thomas Wright for the Percy
Society, 1845) also contains some Buddhist tales.
8. Sivi-raja-c (2)
. 10. Sasa-pandita-c (0)
11. Silava-naga-c (J. 72)
15. Mahimsa-raja-c (27)
23. Ayoghara-c (33)
25. Soma-pandita-c (32)
27. Kapi-raja-c (25, 28)
29. Vattaka-potaka-c (16)
30. Maecha-raja-c (15)
32. Sutasoma-c (25, 32)
35. Maha-lomahamsa-c (J. 94)
THE CARIYA PITAKA AND THE
Putra-j / %
Sreshthi-j (4) -
Mahakapi-j (27, 28)
Mahakapi-j (25, 27)
Sutasoma-j (25, 32)
For the above lists see Feer, Etude sur Us Jatakas, p. 68 ;
Gogerly, Journal of the Ceylon Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society,
1853 ; Fausboll, Five Jatakas, p. 59 ; A Chinese Pilgrim on
the Jataka-mala, Ind. Antiquary, xi, 44; and also above, pp.
xlviii-1. It will be seen that there are seven tales with identical,
and one or two more with similar titles, in the two collections.
The former was edited by Rd. Morris, P.T.S., 1882, the latter by
E. Kern, H.O.S., 1891, trs. by. I. S. Speyer, S.B. Buddhists,
1895. The Cambridge University Library possesses a MS. of the
former, with the various readings of several other MSS. noted,
for me, by Dewa Aranolis.
ALPHABETICAL LIST OF JATAKA STORIES IN THE
Arranged from Cowell and Eggeling s Catalogue of Buddhist
Sanskrit MSS. in the Possession of the Royal Asiatic Society
vSakuntaka-j (Two with this
Siri-prabhasya roriga-rajasya j
Syama-j . 1 (Car. Pit. 33)
Trinakuniyan nama j
Upali ganga palanan-j
1 These two Jatakas also form the contents of a separate MS.
in the Royal Asiatic Society s Library (Catalogue, p. 14).
PLACES AT WHICH THE JATAKA TALES WERE TOLD
M. Leon Feer has taken the trouble to count the number of
times each of the following places is mentioned at the commence-
ment of the Commentary.
Jetavana monastery. .... 41(h
Savatthi 6/ 416
Veluvana ... . 49-
Rajagaha . . . . 5 1 55
Latthivanuyyana . . . . . 1
Vesali ........ 4
Kosambi ....... 5
Kundaladaha ....... 3
Magadha. ....... 2
Dakkhinagiri ....... 1
Migadaya ....... 1
Mithila .... ... 1
By the Ganges ...... 1
To which we may add from pp. 124-8 below
At his request the Rev. Spence Hardy s pandit * made an
analysis of the number of times in which the Bodisat appears in
the Buddhist Birth Stories in each of the following characters :
A king .
A tree god
A king s son .
A nobleman .
A learned man
A merchant .
A man of property .
A deer .
A lion .
A wild duck .
A snipe .
An elephant .
A cock .
A slave .
A bull .
A peacock .
83 An iguana ... 3
85 A fish . . . .2
43 An elephant driver . 2
26 A rat . . . .2
24 A jackal ... 2
24 A crow ... 2
24 A woodpecker . . 2
23 A thief .... 2
22 A pig . . . .2
20 A dog . . . . 1
18 A curer of snake bites
13 A gambler
12 A mason
11 A smith.
10 A devil dancer
8 A student
6 A silversmith.
6 A carpenter .
6 A water-fowl .
5 A frog ....
5 A hare ....
4 A kite ....
4 A jungle cock.
4 A fairy ....
JATAKAS ILLUSTRATED IN BAS-RELIEF ON THE
Arranged from General Cunningham s Stupa of Bharhut
Title inscribed on the stone.
Title in the Jataka Book.
Vitura-panakaya Jataka 1
Nigrodha-miga Jataka *
9. (?) Yambamano-ayavesi,,
( Janako Raja
Maha Kapi ,
Janako raja Sivali
1 There are four distinct bas-reliefs illustrative of this Jataka.
2 This is one of those which General Cunningham was unable to
^General Cunningham says (p. 52) : " The former [Naga,
Jataka, i.e. Elephant, Jataka] is the correct name, as in the legend
here represented Buddha is the King of the Elephants, and there
for the Jataka, or Birth, must of necessity have been named after
him " The title of each Jataka, or Birth Story, is chosen not
248 TABLE VIII
There are numerous other scenes without titles, and not yet
identified in the Jataka Book, but which are almost certainly
illustrative of Jataka Stories ; and several scenes with titles
illustrative of passages in the Nidana Katha of the Jataka Book.
So, for instance, PI. xvi, fig. 1, is the worship in heaven of the
Buddha s Head-dress, the reception of which into heaven is
described above, p. 178 ; and the heavenly mansion, the Palace of
Glory, is inscribed Vejayanto Pasado, the origin of which name is
explained below, p. 287. Plate xxviii has a scene entitled
Bhagavato Oklcanti (The Descent of the Blessed One), 7 in illustra
tion of Maya Devi s Dream (above, pp. 148 f.) ; and Plate Ivii
is a representation of the Presentation of the Jetavana Monastery
(above, p. 178). The identifications of Nos. 12 and 13 in the
above list are very doubtful.
Besides the above, Mr. Fergusson, in his Tree and Serpent
Worship, has identified bas-reliefs on the Sanchi Tope in illustra
tion of the Sanaa and Asadisa Jatakas (PI. xxxvi, p. 181) and of
the Vessantara Jataka (PI. xxiv, p. 125) ; and there are other
Jataka scenes on the Sanchi Tope not yet identified.
Mr. Simpson also has been kind enough to show me drawings
of bas-reliefs he discovered in Afghanistan, two of which I have
been able to identify as illustrations of the Sumedha Jataka
and another as illustrative of the scene described above,
pp. 222 f.
by any means from the character which the Bodisat fills in it,
but indifferently from a variety of other reasons. General
Cunningham himself gives the story called Isi-singiya Jataka
(No. 7 in the above list), in which the ascetic after whom the
Jataka is named is not the Bodisat*
4 Not as yet found in the Jataka Book ; but Dr. Biihler has
shown in the Indian Antiquary, vol. i, p. 305, that it is the first
tale in the Vrihat Katha of Kshemendra (Table I, No. 34), and in
the Katha Sarit Sagara of Somadeva (Table I, No. 33), and was
therefore probably included in the Vrihat Katha of Gunadhya
(Table I, No. 32).
6 The part of the stone supposed to have contained the inscrip
tion is lost.
It is mentioned above, p. 225, and is included in the Maha-
vastu (Table V), and forms the subject of the carving on one of
the rails at Buddha Gaya (Rajendra Lai Mitra, pi. xxxiv, fig. 2).
7 General Cunningham s reading of this inscription as Bhagavato
rukdanta seems to me to be incorrect, and his translation of it
( Buddha as the sounding elephant ) to be grammatically
1-3. Tanhankara Medhankara
The names mentioned in the Tables following the
Introduction are not included in this Index, as the Table
in which any name should occur can easily be found
from the Table of Contents.
In Pali pronounce vowels as in Italian, consonants as
in English (except c = ch, n. = ny, m^ng), and place the
accent on syllables containing a, e, or o, or which
begin-and-end with a consonant. This is a rough rule
for practical use. Details and qualifications may be
seen in my manual Buddhism, pp. 1, 2.
Abhidhamma, Iviii, 201
Advent of a Teacher, 147
JEsop, vi, x, xxix f .
Ajita, brahmin and Bodisat, 125
Alara Kalama, 181, 207
Anoma, a river, 177
Anupiya, a grove, 179
Arabian Nights, xlii
Arabian story-books, xxxix
Arahants, outward signs of, 178 ;
trance, a supposed condition of,
181 ; the first , 210 ; indifferent
to worldly things, 216
Arindama, King and Bodisat, 135
Asankheyya, an aeon, 82, 200
Ass in the Lion s Skin, iv
Assaji, the fifth convert, 209, 214
Assembly of disciples (sannipata),
Atideva, brahmin and Bodisat,
Atrta-vatthu = Birth Story, Ixix
Atthadassin, a monk in Ceylon,
81 ; a Buddha, 130
Atula, Naga-king and Bodisat,
Avadanas, see Apadana
Babrius, the Greek fabulist, xxxi
Bark, clothes of, 88
Barlaam and Josaphat, xxxiii f.
Baronius, martyrologist, xxxvi
Beal, the Rev. S., quoted, liii, 206
Begging for food, 222
Bells, 183, 206
Benares muslin, 178
Benfey, Professor, see Pancha
Bhaddiya the third convert, 209
Bhalluka, a merchant, 205
Bharhut sculptures, liv
Bhavas, the three, 172
Bhoja, a Brahman, 160
Bidpai, the Bactrian fabulist, xli,
Bimbisara, king of Rajagaha, 181,
Bodisat = Josaphat, xxxiv
Bowl, the Buddha s begging, 178,
Brahma waits upon Gotama, 154,
184, 191, 207
Brahmins and Buddhists, xxvi
Buddhas: Gotama the Buddha,
life of, 150-232 ; date of death
Buddhadeva, a monk in Ceylon,
Buddhaghosa, viii f.
Buddhamitta, a monk in Ceylon,
Buddhavamsa, 29 f., 83 f., 113
Carpenter, Dr. E., xxix
C(h)ariya Pitaka, xlviii
Channa, 172 f.
Charity, power of, 195
Crow and fox, xii
Crow and jackal, xi
Cup, the wishing, xx
Dadhivahana Jataka, xv
Dagaba of the Diadem, 178 ; of
Kanthaka s Staying, 175 ; of
the Steadfast Gaze, 201 ; of the
Jewelled Cloister, 201 ; of the
Dancing women, 171
Davids, Rev. T. W., xxxviii
Deer park, the, near Benares, 207
Delusion, one of the three great
roots of evil, 170
Dennys, Dr., Folklore of China,
Devadaha, a village, 153
Dhaja, a brahmin, 160
Dhammaka, a mountain, 88
Dhammapada, see Pitaka
Dhammapada Commentary, 220
Digha Nikaya, repeaters of, 168
Dlpavamsa, lii f ., Ivi
Diptychs in the early Christian
Double miracle (by the Buddha),
Earthquakes, miraculous, 117, 144,
East, facing towards the, 154, 189
Elephant, Mara s mystic, 190, 194,
Erasmus quoted, vi
Evil communications, etc., xx
Evil to be overcome with good,
Fausboll, Ixi, Ixxx, and passim
Fetish worship, xx
Feer, 1, Ixi
Fire worshippers, 210
Flying, accomplishment of Ara-
hants, 211, 219
Flying by means of a gem, xviii
Gaya-sisa hill near Rajagaha, 210
Gesta Romanorum, xliii
Ghatikara, a deva, 178, 186
Gilchrist, J., translator of ./-Esop,
Godpole s JDsop in Sanskrit, xxxiii
Gold of Ophir, xliv
Golden Hill, 150, 160
Gotama, name of the Buddha, 95,
Greek and Buddhist fables, xlv
Gunadhya, poet, Ixvii
Hair, unkempt, a sign of holiness,
158 ; the Buddha s, 178 ; Dag-
aba of the Hair-relic, 206
Halo from the Buddha s person,
185, 211, 221
Hell becomes filled with light, 198
Horse, see Sindh, Kanthaka
House, figuratively of the indi
Hungarian tales, xl
Hymn of triumph, the Buddha s,
Inherited, i.e. personal, qualities,
Isipatana, suburb of Benares, 217
Jackal and crow, xi
Jali, a prince, 200
Jambu-khadaka Jataka, xii
Jasmine, the Arabian, 173
Jataka Commentary, the old one,
Jataka Mala (in Sanskrit), xlix
Jerome quoted, vii
Jetavana, a monastery, gift of, 230
Jewish translators, xxix
Jews and Moslems, xxviii
John, St., of Damascus, xxxiv,
Jotipala, brahmin and Bodisat,
Kacchapa Jataka, viii
Kala-Nagaraja, 188, 191
Kalama, see AJara
Kalilag and Damnag literature,
xxxiv f .
Kaludayin, 120, 216 f.
Kanthaka Nivattana Chetiya, 17G
Kanthaka, the mystic horse, 172 f.
Kapilavatthu, 148, 218
Kappasiya forest, 210
Kassapa brahmin and Bodisat, 130
Kassapa Buddha, see Buddhas
Kassapa, Maha Narada Jataka
(No. 644), 212
Kassapa of Uruvela, the sixty-
second convert, 210 f.
Khara-dhatika, a demon, 117
Khema, king and Bodisat, 136
Kingdom of Righteousness, 209
Kings, a lesson for, xxi
Kinnara, Jataka, 225
Kondanya, a brahmin, 161 f. ; be
comes the first disciple, 209
Kosala, a country near Benares,
Kshemendra, Kashmirian poet,
Kulavaka Jataka, Ixxiii
La Fontaine s fables, x. xii, xxxix
Lakkhana, a brahmin, 160
Lalita Vistara, 179, 199
Lamp, the wonderful, xx
Lang, A., xl
Latthivanuyyana (grove of reeds),
Liebrecht, xxxiv, xxxviii
Life like living in a house on fire,
Lion of the vermilion plain, 92
Lion as Bodisat, 126
Lion, the Buddha walks like a, 188
Lumbini grove, where the Buddha
was born, 153
Maddi, queen, 200
Maha-bharata quoted, xxvi
Maha-Dhammapala Jataka, 224,
Maha-Maya, mother of the
Buddha, 148 f.
Maha-nama, the fourth convert,
Mahapadana, Dialogues of the
Buddha, ii, i f., 161
Maha-Vamsa quoted, Iviii, 206
Mahirnsasaka, race of, 82
Mahosadha Jataka, xiii
Ma jj him a Desa, the Buddhist
Holy Land, 147, 205
Mallika, king of Kosala, xxii
Mangala, ascetic and Bodisat, 132
Manjerika, palace of the Nagaking,
Mantin, a brahmin, 160
Mara, the Buddhist Satan, tempts
Gotama with sovereignty, 175 ;
conflict between the Buddha
and, 190 f. ; the daughters of,
Marks on a child s body signs of
its future, 158, 161, 223
Marty rologies, xxxvi
Max Miiller, xxxii, xxxviii
Milk, legend of working in and
Moggallana, the chief disciple, 214
Monastery, gift of, 214, 230
Monk, the eight things allowed to
Morris, Rd., 1, Ivii
Muchalinda, the king of the cobras,
Nagas, mystic snakes, 176, 179,
188 ; king of, sings the Bodisat s
Nanda, the Buddha s half brother,
Neranjara, a river near Uruvela,
Nigrodha tree, 184 f., cf. Ixxii
Nipata, division of the Jataka
Nirvana, 86 f., 170, 200
Numbers, sacred or lucky, 159,
Offerings, uselessness of, 211
Omens, the thirty-two good, 151,
156 ; the four, 198
Ophir, probably in India, xliv, 162,
Overland route in ancient times,
Pabbajja Sutta, 181
Pabbata king and Bodisat, 50
Paccuppanna-vatthu = Intro
ductory Story, Ixxiv
Pahlavi, ancient Persian, xxix
Palmyra fruits, single -seeded, 94
Pancha Tantra, vii, xi, xxix, Ixx
Panda va, arocknearRajagaha, 88
Paramitas, the Ten Perfections, 18
and foil., 54 and foil.
Paricchataka flowers (of deva-
Penance not the way to wisdom,
Petrus de Natalibus, martyrologist,
Phsedrus, the Latin fabulist, xxxiii
Pitaka passages quoted or referred
Pabbajja Sutta, 181
Maha-padhana Sutta, 161
Samafina-phala Sutta, 88
Dhammapada, xxvi, 204
Jataka, see separate titles
Culla Vagga, xlviii
Samyutta Nikaya, xii, Hi
Anguttara Nikaya, Ivii
Abhidhamma, Iviii, 201
Chariya Pitaka, xlviii
Buddhavamsa, 1, 84, 113
Pancha Tantra, vi f., x, xxvi f.,
Perfections, the ten, 97, 101 f.,
Planudes, author of ^Esop, xxx f.
Plato quoted, vi
Ploughing festival, 163
Punna, slave girl of Sujata, 185
Rahula, Gotama s son, 169, 173,
Rajagaha, 179, 212, 217, 228
K a Java tana- tree, 204 f.
Rajovada Jataka, xxi
Kama, a brahmin, 160; father of
Buddha s teacher Uddaka, 181
Ramma, a city, 90, 110
Uammavati, a city, 115
Slavs of light stream from a
Buddha, 116, 185, and see
Renunciation, the Great, 172 f. ;
garb of, 178 ; power of, 194
Repeaters of the Scriptures (BMn-
Saddharma-Pundarlka, Ivii, Ixxv
Sahajata, or Connatal Ones, 256
Sakka as Bodisat, 132; his
character in Buddhist tales,
xvi f.. xx ; places the Buddha s
hair in a dagaba in heaven, 178 ;
serves the Buddha, 155, 168,
178, 205 ; legend of his throne
feeling hot, 168, 213
Sakyas, the, 220
Sanmfma-phala Sutta quoted, 88
Sanchi Tope, sculptures at, liv
Sanjaya teacher, 119
Sap of life, curious legend concern
ing, 182, 185
Sariputta, the chief disciple, 214,
Si-nan i, a landowner, father of
Shakespeare, vi, xxxix
Siddhattha, name of the Buddha,
lr,L>, Hif, f.. ISO, ]!)(
Signs, the thirty-two bodily, of a
great man ; see Marks
Siha-( amina Jataka, No. 189,
Simpson, \V., xli
Sinbad the Sailor, xxxix
Sindh horses. lt;t>
Sinhalese version of the Birth
Stories, ii, xiii
Sirens in Buddhist stories,
Slavonic tales, xl
Snakes, see Naga and Muchalinda
Solomon s Judgment, xv, xiii f.
Sotthiya, a merchant, 231
Sotthiya, the grasscutter, 188
Soul, sermon on, 209
Spring, beauties of, 217
St. Barlaam, xxxiv
St. John of Damascus, xxxiv,
St. Josaphat, xxxiv
Struggle, the Great, against sin,
Sudassana (Belle Vue) monastery,
90 ; city, 128
Sudassana, Sujata Buddha s chief
disciple, 136 ; king and Bodisat,
Sudatta, a brahmin, 160
Suddodhana, the Buddha s father,
Sujata, a Bodisat, 133
Sujata, Buddha, 128
Sujata, legend of her offering to
the Buddha, 184 f.
Sumedha, the Bodisat in the time
of Dlpankara, xli, 82 f.
Sumedha, Buddha, 128
Supannas, winged creatures, 176,
Supatifthita Ferry, 187
Suruci Jataka, Ixxiii
Suruci, a brahmin, 119
Susima ascetic and Bodisat, 131
Suyaraa, a deva-governor, 155 ; a
Takkasi!a=Taxila, a university
Tapassu, a merchant, 205
1 ft \.ttimsa heaven, 178, 179
Tortoise, of gold, 231 ; the
Transmigration of souls, Ixix
Trees pay homage to Maha Maya,
154 ; to the Buddha, 164, 190
Tree-deva, the Buddha mistaken
for a, 185 ; vow to, 184
Tree of Enlightenment (Bo- or
Tree-god, or genius, or fairy, the
Bodisat as, Ixxix, 212, 230, 238,
Tree-talk, see warding rune
Uddaka, the Buddha s teacher,
Ukkala, Orissa, 205
Ummagga Jataka, Ixxiii
Upaka, a Hindu mendicant, 207
Upatissa ( = Sariputta), 96
Uruvela, 184, 162, 210
Uttara, brahmin and Bodisat, 129
Vannabhumi (Place of Praise), 212
Vappa, the second convert, 209
Varro quoted, vii
Vedas, the three, xlvii, 84, 159
Veluvana (the Bambu-grove), 214
Verses in the Jatakas, Ixx f., Ixxvi
Vesali, Council of, li f .
Vessantara Jataka, 117, 195, 222
Vijayuttara, Sakka s trumpet, 191
Vijitavin, Bodisat, 134
Virtues, the Ten Cardinal, see
Warding rune, 118
Water of presentation, 230
Wheel, the sacred, 211
Winged creatures, see Supannas
Yakkhas, xiii, 188
Yakshas, see Yakkhas
Yakshini, see Yakkhas
Yasa, first lay convert, 209
Yojana (seven miles), 179
Printed in Great Britain by Stephen Austin & Sons, Ltd., Hertford.
rT-, t f"i - . i
r . es jataka tau