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The Jātaka:
or
Stories of the Buddha's Former Births
Volume II

Book 2: Dukanipāta

No. 167

Samiddhi-Jātaka

Translated from the Pāli by
W.H.D Rouse, M.A., Sometime Fellow of Christ's College, Cambridge
Under the Editorship of Professor E. B. Cowell
Published 1969 For the Pāli Text Society.
First Published by The Cambridge University Press in 1895

This work is in the Public Domain. The Pali Text Society owns the copyright."

 


 

"Begging Brother, do you know," etc. — This story was told by the Master whilst he was staying in Tapoda Park near Rājagaha, about Elder Samiddhi, or Goodluck.

Once Father Goodluck had been wrestling in the spirit all night long. At sunrise he bathed; then he stood with his under garment on, holding the other in his hand, as he dried his body, all yellow as gold. Like a golden statue of exquisite workmanship he was, the perfection of beauty; [57] and that is why he was called Goodluck.

A daughter of the gods, seeing the Elder's surpassing beauty, fell in love with him, and addressed him thus. "You are young, Brother, and fresh, a mere stripling, with black hair, bless you! you have youth, you are lovely and pleasant to the eyes. Why should a man like you turn religious without a little enjoyment? Take your pleasure first, and then you shall become religious and do what the hermits do!" He replied, "Nymph, at some time or other I must die, and the time of my death I know not; that time is hid from me. Therefore in the freshness of my youth I will follow the solitary life, and make an end of pain."

Finding she received no encouragement, the goddess at once vanished. The Elder went and told his Master about it. Then the Master said, "Not now alone, Goodluck, are you tempted by a nymph. In olden days, as now, nymphs tempted ascetics." And then at his request the Master told an old-world tale.

 


 

Once upon a time, when Brahmadatta was king in Benares, the Bodhisatta became a brahmin's son in a village of Kāsi. Coming of years, he attained perfection in all his studies, and embraced the religious life; and he lived in Himalaya, hard by a natural lake, cultivating the Faculties and the Attainments.

[40] All night long he had wrestled in the spirit; and at sunrise he bathed him, and with one bark garment on and the other in his hand, he stood, letting the water dry off his body. At the moment a daughter of the gods observed his perfect beauty, and fell in love with him. Tempting him, she repeated this first stanza:—

"Begging brother, do you know
What of joy the world can show?
Now's the time — there is no other:
Pleasure first, then begging, brother!"

[58] The Bodhisatta listened to the nymph's address, and then replied, declaring his set purpose, by repeating the second stanza:—

"The time is hid — I cannot know
When is the time that I must go:
Now is the time: there is no other:
So I am now a begging brother[1]."

When the nymph heard the Bodhisatta's words, she vanished at once.

After this discourse the Master identified the Birth: "The nymph is the same in both stories, and the hermit at that time was I myself."

 


[1] The commentator, in explaining this passage, adds another couplet:

"Life, sickness, death, the putting off the flesh,
Re-birth — these five are hidden in this world."

 


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