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Cūḷahaṃsa Jātaka (No.502, 533)

1. Cūḷahaṃsa Jātaka (No.502).– Once Khemā, wife of King Bahuputtaka of Bārāṇasī, dreamed of a golden goose teaching the Dhamma and craved for her dream to come true. The king had a lake, called Khemā, dug outside the city, and put into it various kinds of food in order to entice the golden geese that lived in Cittakūṭa. They came, led by Dhataraṭṭha the Bodhisatta, who was caught in the snare laid by the king’s hunter. The Bodhisatta gave the alarm, and all the geese fled except Sumukha, his captain, who refused to leave him even though told to do so. When the hunter came, Sumukha persuaded him to let Dhataraṭṭha free and to take him instead. The hunter agreed, but when the Bodhisatta heard of the reason for his capture, he, too, insisted on going before the king. Both geese were, therefore, led before the king, who was overjoyed. Dhataraṭṭha taught the Dhamma and the queen’s craving was appeased; the geese were then allowed to fly away.

The story was related in reference to Ānanda’s readiness to give his life for the Buddha. Channa is identified with the huntsman, Sāriputta with the king, Khemā Therī with the queen, and Ānanda with Sumukha. J.iv.423‑30; cf. the Mahāhaṃsa Jātaka.

2. Cūḷahaṃsa Jātaka (No.533).– The Bodhisatta was once born as Dhataraṭṭha, king of ninety thousand golden geese living in Cittakūṭa. One day some of his flock came upon Lake Mānusiya, near the haunts of men, and finding it a rich feeding-ground, persuaded him much against his will to go there with them. However, immediately he alighted he was caught in a fowler’s noose and found escape impossible. He waited until the flock had fed, then gave the cry of alarm at which all the geese flew away except his commander-in-chief, Sumukha. When the fowler came, Sumukha offered to give his life for his king, and thereby softened the fowler’s heart. The latter set Dhataraṭṭha free and tended his wounds, and because of the man’s great charity the king of the geese became whole again. When the fowler suggested that they should fly home, the two geese insisted that they should be taken to Sakula, the king of the land, the Mahiṃsaka country, that they might obtain for the fowler a suitable reward. When the king heard the story he gave to the fowler a village yielding one hundred thousand annually, a chariot and a large store of gold. Dhataraṭṭha taught the king the moral law and, after being paid great honour, returned to Cittakūṭa.

The story was related in reference to Ānanda’s attempt to offer his life in order to save the Buddha from being killed by the elephant Nālāgiri (q.v.) Channa is identified with the fowler, Sāriputta with the king, and Ānanda with Sumukha. J.v.333‑.54; DhA.i.119; cf. the Mahāhaṃsa Jātaka and the Haṃsa Jātaka.

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