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Ekarāja

1. Ekarāja.– King of Bārāṇasī. He was the Bodhisatta. A minister, whom he expelled on the ground of misconduct in the royal harem, took service under Dabbasena, king of Kosala, and incited him to make war on Ekarāja. The latter was captured while sitting on the dais in the midst of his councillors and hanged head downwards by a cord from the lintel of a door. In this position Ekarāja cultivated thoughts of loving-kindness towards his enemy and attained a stage of complete absorption in mystic meditation. His bonds burst and he sat cross-legged in mid air. Dabbasena was, meanwhile, seized with a burning pain in his body and, on the advice of his courtiers, had Ekarāja released, whereupon the pains disappeared. Realising Ekarāja’s holiness, Dabbasena restored the kingdom to him and asked his forgiveness (J.iii.13‑15).

In the Ekarāja Jātaka, reference is made to the Mahāsīlava Jātaka for details regarding the expulsion of the minister for misconduct and of the subsequent events. However, there the king is called Sīlava and not Ekarāja. The two stories contain certain similarities but the details vary very much. See also the Seyya Jātaka, where the king is called Kaṃsa, and compare it with the Ghaṭa Jātaka. The Ekarāja Jātaka is given as an example of a birth in which the Bodhisatta practised loving-kindness (metta) to perfection (e.g., BuA.51; Mbv.11). The story of Ekarāja is the last in the Cariyāpiṭaka (No.xiv).

According to the Cariyāpiṭaka Commentary (p.205), Ekarāja was a title given to the king on account of his great power, in which case his real name might have been Sīlava, as mentioned above. The scholiast on the Ekarāja Jātaka (J.iii.14), however, says that Ekarāja was the king’s personal name.

2. Ekarāja.– King of Pupphavatī (Bārāṇasī). He was the son of Vasavatti and the father of Caṇḍakumāra. For his story see the Candakumāra Jātaka (J.vi.131 ff). He belonged to the Koṇḍaññagotta (J.vi.137).

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