Kurudhamma Jātaka: The Teaching of the Kurus

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Kurudhamma jataka

The story from the present

The Teacher told this story whilst staying in the Jetavana, about a monk who had killed a wild goose. [366] Two monks, who were great friends, took the going forth and the higher ordination together and used to travel around as if they were one. One day they came to Aciravatī, and had a bathe, then stood on the sand sunning themselves and having a good chat. At that moment two geese flew by in the sky. One of these young monks picked up a stone and said, ‘I’m going to hit that goose right in the eye!’ The other said, ‘But you can’t do that!’ ‘Leave it to me!’ said the other. ‘And, by the way, I can get him either in one eye or in the other!’ ‘But surely you should not do this!’ said the other. ‘Just watch this!’ said the young monk, and he picked up a three-cornered stone and hurled it just after the bird. The goose heard the stone whizzing through the air and turned back his head. At that point the young man grabbed a round stone and hurled it so that it hit the near eye and came out of the other. The goose gave out a shriek and fell to the ground at their feet. Monks who were standing here and there around saw this and complained. ‘Sir! What are you doing, in the time of the teaching of a Buddha, taking the going forth, and then doing something as shameful as taking life?’ And they took him to show him up to the Tathāgata. The Teacher asked him, ‘Is what they are saying true, that you have taken life?’ ‘It is true, sir,’ he said. ‘Monk, how could you do such a thing after taking the going forth in a teaching that leads to salvation? In times past wise men, even though there was not a Buddha, and even though they lived in the world, with all its impurities, felt concerns about the slightest things. How can you, when you have become a monk when there is a teaching, not feel so much as a scruple? A monk ought to be restrained in body, speech, mind and discernment.’ And he related this story about times past:

The story from the past

In times past, in the kingdom of Kuru in the city of Indapatta, the Bodhisatta took rebirth in the womb of the chief queen, during the reign of Dhanañjaya. In the course of time he attained adulthood and trained at Taxila in all branches of knowledge. His father installed him as viceroy and later, when his father had died, he took over the kingdom. [367] He did not wobble in the ten duties of a king, keeping his adherence to the teachings of the Kurus. Now the ‘Kuru teaching’ was actually the five precepts. These purifications the Bodhisatta guarded carefully. And not only the Bodhisatta. The queen mother, the chief queen, the viceroy, the Brahmin chief priest, the royal rope-holder, the minister, the driver, the businessman, the rice-tax measurer minister, the gatekeeper and the city beauty, the courtesan, all kept it.

King, king’s mother, king’s wife, viceroy and priest, ropeholder, driv-er, businessman, rice-tax measurer, and gatekeeper, even the courtesan: all eleven kept the teachings of the Kurus.

They all of them kept these five pure sīlas. The king had six alms-halls made: at the four gates of the city and in the middle of the city and at the gate of his own residence; and every day he distributed 600,000 pieces of money, and stirred up the entire continent of Jambudīpa with a holiday atmosphere. All of India was overwhelmed with his love of giving and his delight in it.

Now at this time there was, in the city of Dantapura, in the kingdom of Kāliṅga, a king named King Kāliṅga. And in that kingdom it did not rain, and because of this drought, there was famine in the land; and people became frightened that because of the famine, contagious disease might spread. These three fears gripped the people: of lack of food, drought and pestilence. People wandered here, there and everywhere, destitute, leading their children by the hand. And the entire population went to Dantapura, stood at the royal gate, and raised a clamour.

The king, standing by the window, heard the noise. ‘Why are they crying out?’ he asked.

[368] ‘Great king,’ was the reply. ‘Three fears have gripped the nation. It does not rain, the crops fail, and there is famine. People without food, destitute and stricken with disease, are wandering here, there and everywhere, holding their children by the hand. Get the gods to send rain!’

‘What did kings do in the olden days when there was no rain?’

‘In the olden days, when there was no rain, kings used to make gifts and observe the uposatha day.[*] They used to enter into a royal chamber and undertake a sīla for seven days, lying down on a grass mat. Then it would rain.’

The king said, ‘Very well,’ and did as they suggested. But still it did not rain. So the king asked the ministers, ‘I have done what was supposed to be done, and it still does not rain. What shall I do?’

‘Great king, in the city of Indapatta, there is an auspicious elephant, known as the Black Bull, that belongs to Dhanañjaya, the king of the Kurus. Let’s bring him here, and then it will rain.’

‘But this king has an army of horses and elephants. He will be hard to overcome. How can I bring the elephant?’

‘Great king,’ they replied, ‘there is no need to do it through battle. The king loves giving and delights in generosity. If he were asked, he would cut off his graciously adorned head, or tear out his trust-filled eyes. He would indeed even give up his kingdom. There is no need even to make entreaties. When asked, he will certainly give it to you.’

‘But who is capable of asking him?’

‘The Brahmins, great king.’

So the king assembled eight Brahmins from a brahmin village and with ceremonies and honour sent them to ask for the elephant. They took funds for their journey and put on travelling clothes and, only spending one night at each stop, they made a quick journey and within a few days were eating almsfood at the gates of the city. When they had satisfied bodily needs, they asked where the king went to give his donations. People told them that he came on three days in the fortnight: the fourth, the fifth and the eighth. ‘But tomorrow is the full moon, so he will come then too.’

 

Kurudhamma jataka 2[369] On the following day the brahmins went and stood by the eastern gate. The Bodhisatta also, washed and adorned in every way, riding upon an excellently adorned elephant, with a great retinue, went to the almsgiving hall at the eastern gate and, getting down from the elephant, distributed food to seven or eight people with his own hands. ‘This is the way to give’, he said, and, getting on his elephant, went to the southern gate.

 

Because of the intense security, the priests at the eastern gate did not get a chance at the eastern gate so they went to the southern gate to watch out for when the king would arrive. When the king had reached a raised mound not far from the gate, they raised their hands to hail the king. The king steered the animal with a sharp goad towards them and said, ‘Sirs, brahmins, what do you wish? Then the brahmins praised the virtue (guṇo) of the bodhisatta and uttered these verses:

 

We have come, knowing of your faith and good behaviour,

lord of the people,

At Kāliṅga we bartered our wealth

for the sake of the wealth of the ‘Black One’.

[370] The Bodhisatta replied, saying, ‘And if, priests, you have turned over all your money to get this elephant don’t worry: I’ll give you him in all his glory.’ And he said these two verses:

Dependents and those that are not dependents: whoever comes – all of these are not to be turned away.

This was the practice spoken of in the olden days.

So I give you, priests, this elephant,

Worthy of kings, a kingly possession,

In all his glory, with golden chain, driver and all,

And go wherever you wish.

[371] The Great Being said this while he was on the elephant’s back – so, giving it to them, he dismounted and said, ‘If there is any bit that is not decorated, I’ll decorate it and then give him.’ Three times he walked around him, keeping him to his right, and he found no spot that was unadorned. Then he placed the trunk into the hands of the Brahmins and sprinkled flower-perfumed water from a golden urn over them and made his gift. The priests accepted the elephant and his trappings and, seated on his back, rode to Dantapura and handed him over to their king. But even with the arrival of the elephant it still did not rain. The king asked, ‘What is the reason for this?’

They said, ‘King Dhanañjaya, the Kuru king, observes the Kuru teach-ings and so in his kingdom it rains every fortnight or every ten days. This is through the power of the king’s special virtue. How much are these virtues to do with this elephant?’ When he heard their reply, the king spoke, giving these orders to his priest and ministers, ‘Take this elephant, with all his adornment and trappings back and return him to the king. Inscribe upon a golden plate the teachings of the Kurus, and bring it back here.’

The King:

These went to the king and returned his elephant into his hands, saying, ‘King, even when this elephant came to the kingdom, it still did not rain. [372] You, they say, keep the Kuru teaching. Our king wishes to observe it too, and has sent us with the command to bring it to him, inscribed on this golden plate. So please give us the teaching of the Kurus!’

‘My friends, you’re right: I did observe the teachings of the Kurus. But actually there is some doubt in me in this regard. This teaching of the Kurus does not gladden my mind. Because of this I cannot give it to you!’ So why, you might ask, did this not satisfy the king? Because, it is said, every third year, in the month of Kattika, the kings used to hold a festival called Kattika. Celebrating this festival, the kings used to get dressed up with all kinds of decorations, like gods. They used to stand by a yakkha called the King of Many Colours, Cittarājā, and shoot to the four directions many-coloured arrows decorated with flowers. This king then, celebrating the festival, stood on the banks of a pool, near Cittarājā, and shot many-coloured arrows. They saw arrows go in three directions, but the fourth, that went over the surface of the water, they did not see land.

 

Kurudhamma jataka 3‘Oh no! What if the arrow that I shot hit the body of a fish?’ This worry (kukkucca = fourth hindrance), that he might have broken his sīla through the action of killing, came to the king: because of this, his sīla did not satisfy him. So he said, ‘My friends, this concern has come to me about my observation of the teachings of the Kuru.’

 

‘Now my mother really does guard the teachings very well. You should go and ask her.’

‘But, great king, the volition (cetanā) ‘I will take life’ never arose for you. Without that consciousness (citta), there is no taking of life. So, please give us your own (attāno) interpretation of the teaching of the Kurus.

‘Oh, OK. Write it down then’, he said, and had inscribed on the golden plate the words [373]:

What is alive should not be killed.

What is not given should not be taken.

Keep away from sex that harms.

If something is untrue do not say it.

Keep away from drink.

And when he had done this, he said, ‘But really, this doesn’t satisfy me. You should go and get the teachings from my mother.’

 

The Queen Mother:

So the messengers took their leave of the king went to visit the queen mother. ‘Madam: people say that you keep the teachings of the Kurus. Please could you give them to us,’ they said.

‘My friends, it is true that I have kept the teachings of the Kurus. But now this worry has come up for me, and the teaching does not bring happiness. So I am awfully sorry, but I can’t give it to you.’ The thing was that she had two sons: the elder being the king and the younger the viceroy. Now a certain king had sent to the Bodhisatta perfumes of fine sandalwood worth a hundred thousand, and a golden necklace, also worth a hundred thousand. And he had thought, ‘Well, I’ll honour my mother’ and sent them on to her. And she had decided, ‘I don’t rub sandalwood on and I don’t wear necklaces. I’ll give them to my daughters-in-law’. And then she thought, ‘My elder son’s wife is grand, established as the chief queen, so I’ll give her the gold necklace. The younger one is a poor thing. I’ll give her the sandalwood’. And she gave the gold necklace to the queen and the sandalwood to the viceroy’s wife. But when she had given them she pondered over it. ‘I observe the teachings of the Kurus. Whether they are poor or not is not important at all. Even doing something out of honour to the elder was not really fitting for me. So it rather looks as though through this omission I have broken my sīla.’ This worry came upon her, so she said this. And then the messengers said to her, ‘When something is your own, it should be given just as you wish. You have concern about something as insignificant as this: what other sin would you do? [374] Sīla is not broken by something like that. Please give us the teaching of the Kurus!’

And they received it from her and inscribed it on the golden plate.

‘But friends, even so, it does not satisfy me. My daughter-in-law, though, does keep the teaching really well. Please go and ask her.’

The Queen:

So the messengers paid homage to her and left. And they went up to the queen and made their enquiries of her in the same way as before about the teaching of the Kurus. But she, in the same way, said, ‘I am awfully sorry, but I cannot: this sīla does not bring me happiness!’ It turned out that one day she had been sitting by her lattice window and had looked down and seen the king making a ceremonial tour around the city, with the viceroy behind him, sitting on the back of an elephant. And desire had arisen in her. And she had speculated: ‘Now, what if I were to have intimacy him? And what if his brother were to die, and then he’d get the kingdom, and marry me!’ And then she thought: ‘Oh no! I am supposed to keep the teaching of the Kurus. I have a husband, and I’ve looked at another man with defilement! My sīla must have been broken.’ And worry came upon her. So then the messengers said to her: ‘Your highness, just because a state of mind has arisen that is not unfaithful-ness. If you feel concern about something like this what transgression will you actually make? There is no breach of sīla; please give us the teaching of the Kurus!’ Receiving it from her, they inscribed it upon the golden plate.

‘But friends, even so, it does not satisfy me. Now the viceroy really does keep the teaching well. Go and ask him.’

The Viceroy:

When she had said this the messengers went to the viceroy, and in just the same way they asked him about the teaching of the Kurus. Now the viceroy made a habit of going for an audience with the king in the evening. And, as he went into the palace courtyard, if he was going to eat with the king there or wanted to stay the night, he threw his reins and goad on the yoke. Through this signal people knew to leave, and they would come back again the next morning early to watch for his departure, while the driver would watch the chariot and come back the next day with it and wait at the palace door [375]. But if the viceroy was going to leave at that time, he just left the reins and goad in the chariot and went in to pay attendance to the king, and through this signal people knew that he was going to leave pretty soon, and waited by the palace door. One day this is just what he had done and had gone into visit the king, but while he was in there it had started to rain. When the king saw this he would not let him leave, and so he had eaten and slept there, while his attendants, thinking he was going to come out in a moment, had stayed all night where they were, getting dripping wet. When the viceroy had come out on the next day he had seen everyone waiting there, wet through, and thought, ‘Oh no! I am supposed to be keeping the teaching of the Kurus. I’ve treated these people badly. There must be a breach in my sīla.’ And so a worry had arisen in him. As a consequence of this, when the messengers asked him about the teaching of the Kurus he could only reply: ‘Certainly I have kept the teaching of the Kurus, but actually now I am worried about it, so I am afraid I cannot give you the teaching.’ And then the messengers said, ‘The state of mind associated with the thought, ‘Let these people be badly treated’, did not arise for you. Without volition there is no kamma. If you create a worry over such a small thing, how will you ever make a transgression?’ Saying this they went up to him, learnt his sīla and wrote it down on the golden plate.

‘But still’, he said, ‘this does not satisfy me. Now the chief priest: he really does keep it well. You should go and get it from him.’

The Chief Priest:

So the messengers went and approached the chief priest. But the thing was that one day, on his way to wait upon the king, the chief priest had spotted a chariot in the road, the colour of a budding sun, sent from another king to his king. ‘Whose chariot is that!’ He had asked. ‘Present for the king,’ they had said. ‘I am an old man,’ he had thought. ‘And if the king were to give me this chariot I would travel on it and sit in some comfort.’ Then he had gone to pay attendance on the king, and, while he was standing there giving him a blessing, they had shown the king the chariot. [376] The king had seen it and said: ‘That chariot is excessively fine. Give it to my teacher.’ The priest had felt unwilling, and had not wanted to take it, even though he had been asked again and again. And why was that? Because, as it happens, this thought had cropped up for him: ‘I keep the teaching of the Kurus, and I’ve felt desire for someone else’s possessions. So there must be a breach of sīla here.’ He explained this all to the messengers. ‘Friends, there is a concern for me with regard to the teaching of the Kurus. It just does not please me. So I am sorry I cannot teach you.’ But the messengers said, ‘Come on, sir! Sīla is not broken by such a trifle as the arising of desire. If you create a worry about something like that, what crime are you going to commit?’ And they received the sīla from the priest, and inscribed it on the golden plate.

‘Well, even so,’ he said, ‘it still does not satisfy me. Now the royal rope-holder: he really does keep the teaching of the Kurus well. Why don’t you go and have a chat with him?’

 

The Royal Rope-holder:

So the messengers went to visit the royal rope-holder. The problem here was that one day the royal rope-holder had been measuring a field in the countryside. He had tied a rope to a stick, got the owner of the field to take one end and had taken the other himself. The stick that had been attached to the rope that he had been holding had reached the middle of a crab-hole. He had thought, ‘If I put the stick in the hole, the crab inside it will suffer. But if I put it in the other side, the property of the king will suffer and diminish. What on earth am I supposed to do? And then he had decided, ‘The crab should be in his hole. But if he were, he would have shown himself.’ So he put the stick in the hole. But the stick made a cracking sound. So then he had thought, ‘The stick has hit the crab’s shell, and the crab must have been killed! And I am supposed to be keeping the teaching of the Kurus. There must be a breach of sīla.’ [377]

So he said to the messengers, ‘Through this keeping of the teaching of the Kurus worry has come up for me. So I just cannot teach you.’ But the messengers said, ‘The state of mind associated with the thought, ‘let the crab die’ did not arise for you. There is no kamma without volition. If you are worried about such a small thing, what real harm will you do?’ And they learnt the sīla from him and inscribed it on the golden plate.

‘Even so,’ he said, ‘this does not satisfy me. Now the royal driver really does keep the teaching well. Why don’t you go and ask him?’

The Royal Driver:

When they had said this they went and visited the royal driver, and asked him. The thing was that one day the driver had taken the king into his park. The king had spent the day amusing himself and in the evening he had mounted the chariot to leave, but at sunset, before they reached the city, an enormous rain cloud had gathered. The driver, fearful that the king would get soaked, had spurred the Sindh horses on with the goad and the horses had sprung forward at great speed. Ever since that time, whether going towards or leaving the park, at that spot they always went really fast. And why was this? Well apparently the horses thought, ‘There must be something dangerous here: that is why the driver goaded us.’ But the driver had thought: ‘Well, it’s no fault of mine if the king gets wet or not. More to the point is that I gave the goad to well-trained Sindh horses, and now because of me they go at speed whether or not they are tired. And I keep the teaching of the Kurus, and because of this it must be broken.’ And he explained this and said, ‘For this reason I have a worry about it, and I cannot give it to you.’ And then the messengers said, ‘The state of mind, ‘May the Sindh horses become tired’ did not arise for you. And without volition there is not technically a kammic action. If you feel worry about such a trifle, what crime will you commit?’ And they received the sīla from them and inscribed it on the golden plate. [378]

‘Well,’ said the driver, ‘it still does not satisfy me. Now as for the businessman: he really keeps the teaching well. You ought to receive it from him.’

The Businessman:

They then went to visit the businessman, and asked him. But one day he had gone to his own paddy field and had seen the tip of the rice coming out from the bud, and returning, had considered it and thought, ‘I’ll have the rice flowers bound’, and had had one handful of the heads taken and bound to a post. And then he had thought, ‘I ought to have given a portion from this field to the king. It would surely be taking what is not given if I even had a handful of riceheads taken from a field that had not paid its due! And I am supposed to keep the teaching of the Kurus. It must have been broken by me.’ So he explained this matter to them. ‘There is a concern in me with regard to the teaching of the Kurus. So I’m sorry, but I cannot give it to you.’ And the messengers replied: ‘No conscious-ness arose in you relating to theft. Without this it is not possible to declare that there has been the taking of something that is not given. If you have worry for having done something so trifling, how will you steal another person’s property?’ When they had said this, they received the sīla from him and inscribed it on the golden plate.

‘Even so,’ he said, ‘it still does not satisfy me. But the minister for the royal granaries keeps the teaching well. Why don’t you ask him?’

The Rice Tax Measurer:

So they went to visit the minister of rice measuring and questioned him. But the story goes that one day he had been sitting at the door of the rice store, having the rice for the king’s tax measured out, and was taking rice from the unmeasured heap of rice and setting it down as markers. At that moment it had started to rain. The minister, counting the markers, had thought, ‘That’s the amount of measured rice,’ and had swept up the rice markers with the measured rice. Then he had hastily gone into the rice store, and waiting there, had thought, ‘Oh dear. I wonder if I put the rice markers with the measured or the unmeasured rice?’ And then he said to himself, [379] ‘If I put them in with the measured rice, then the king’s property has increased and that of the householders has diminished. Now I am supposed to adhere to the teaching of the Kurus: it must have been broken!’ He explained this matter to the messengers: ‘I have a worry about the teaching of the Kurus. So I cannot give it to you.’ The messengers said to him, ‘There was no thought of theft in your mind. Without this it is not possible to declare that that you could call this taking what is not given. If you are worried about such a thing, how would you ever take someone else’s property?’ When they had said this they received the sīla from him and inscribed it on the golden plate.

‘Well,’ he said, ‘it still does not please me. But the gatekeeper really does keep the teachings well. Go and get them from him.’

The Gatekeeper:

So they went to the gatekeeper and made their enquiries from him. But, as it happens, one day he had cried out three times at the time for closing the gate to the city. And a certain poor fellow, who had gone into the woods with his own youngest sister to gather sticks and leaves, had dashed back with her on hearing the call for the closing of the gate and arrived there just in time. The gatekeeper had said, ‘Don’t you know that the king is in the city? Don’t you know it’s time the gate for the whole city is shut? So you wander off with women to make love and have fun in the woods?’ And he had replied, ‘Look, this is not my wife: it is my sister.’ And the gatekeeper had thought, ‘Oh no. It just is not on to call a sister a wife. I adhere to the teaching of the Kurus, and sīla must have been broken.’ So he informed the messengers about this, and said, ‘So you see, there is worry in me about the teachings of the Kurus, and I am unable to give it to you.’ But the messengers pointed out, ‘But you said this because this is how it seemed to you. [380] There is no breach of sīla in this. If you feel compunction for so slight a reason, how will you ever tell an intentional falsehood?’ And so they took down his sīla as well, and inscribed it on the golden plate.

‘Even so,’ said the gatekeeper. ‘This does not satisfy me. But there is a courtesan who observes sīla really well. Go and ask her about it.’

The Courtesan:

So they went to visit her. But she, just like the others, refused. And why was that? Well, the story goes that King Sakka, the lord of the heavens, had once come down to earth in the appearance of a young man, with the idea that he would test her virtue. So he had given her a thousand pieces with the words, ‘I’ll come and visit.’ He had then gone back to his heavenly realm and had not visited for three years. She, frightened of breaking her sīla, had not taken so much as a mite from the hand of any other man, but gradually she had become poor, and had thought, ‘This man turned up and gave me a thousand pieces but he has not been back for three years. Now I have become poor and I cannot eke out a livelihood. So I’ll just go and inform the ministers at the courts of justice and get my earnings as before.’ So she had gone to the courts of justice and said, ‘Sir, a certain man gave me a fee. He could be dead for all I know. I cannot eke out a livelihood. So what shall I do, sir?’ The reply had been, ‘As he has not returned after three years, what can you do? Earn your living as before.’

Kurudhamma jataka 4No sooner had she left the court than a certain man had approached her and had offered her a thousand coins. She had just been stretching out her hand to take it, when at that moment Sakka had shown himself. When she had seen him she had said, ‘This man has now arrived after giving me a thousand coins three years ago. The money from you is not for me.’ And she had withdrawn her hand. Sakka had then made his own body appear, and he had stood shining in the sky just like a dawning sun, gathering the whole city around.

Sakka, in the middle of the crowd, had then announced, [381] ‘Three years ago I gave this lady a thousand coins and did not visit, in order to test her. Just as she guards her sīla, you should guard yours!’ And with this injunction, he had her dwelling filled with seven kinds of jewels, and had said, ‘From this time onwards, be careful.’ And giving her this advice, he had returned back to the heavenly realm.

But she refused the messengers their request, for this reason, saying, ‘I held my hand out for one wage before I had earned another one. For this reason my sīla does not please: I cannot give it to you.’ And the messengers said, ‘There is no breach in sīla in holding out the hand. This is sīla of the highest purity!’ And saying this they had received the sīla from her, and inscribed it on the golden plate.

 

When they had written down the sīla of these eleven people on the golden plate, they returned to Dantapura and gave the golden plate to King Kāliṅga, and informed him about what had gone on. Then the king lived within this teaching of the Kurus and fulfilled the five precepts.

 

And as soon as he did, it rained over the whole kingdom of Kāliṅga, the three fears were allayed and the kingdom became safe and fertile. And the Bodhisatta fulfilled all kinds of virtues, and was generous, and with his companions went to fill the heavenly realms.

Kurudhamma jataka

 

The teacher gave this talk, revealed the four noble truths and made the connections with the births. And at the conclusion of the truths, some become stream-enterers, some once-returners, some never-returners and some arahats.

Kurudhamma jataka

And the connections for the Jātaka are as follows:[2]

The courtesan was Uppalavaṇṇā, the gate-keeper Puṇṇa then,

The rope-holder Kaccāna, the measurer Kolita,

At that time Sāriputta was the businessman, Anuruddha the driver,

The priest was the elder Kassapa and the viceroy Nandapaṇḍita,

The chief queen was Rāhulamātā and the older queen Māyā,

The king of the Kurus was the Bodhisatta: remember the Jātaka in this way.

Notes:

At the end of the tale, the characters of the Jātaka are identified as earlier rebirths of the Buddha and his followers. These are:

Uppalavaṇṇā – one of the Buddha's chief nuns, pre-eminent amongst nuns for psychic powers;

Puṇṇa – probably the Puṇṇa who discusses the stages of insight with Sāriputta in the Rathavinīta Sutta;

Kaccāna – one of the Buddha's chief disciples, chief among expounders in full of the brief sayings of the Buddha;

Kolita – another name for Moggallāna, the Buddha's chief disciple on his left, pre-eminent amongst monks for psychic powers;

Sāriputta – the Buddha's chief disciple, often depicted on his right;

Anuruddha – pre-eminent for many meditative attainments, including his mastery of breathing-mindfulness;

The elder Kassapa – another of the Buddha's chief disciples, particularly eminent for his mastery of minute observances of form; a lover of natural environments;

Nandapaṇḍita – chief of the Buddha's disciples in self-control;

Rāhulamātā (also called Yasodharā) – the Buddha's wife in his final life;

Māyā – the Buddha's mother in his final life; and

the Bodhisatta – the Buddha himself before his enlightenment.

Kurudhamma jataka

[*] Uposatha day: the day preceding the nights of the stages of the moon’s waxing and waning: approximately the 1st, 8th, 15th and 23rd nights of the month.

[2] See the notes on the following page.

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