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Kurudhamma Jātaka (No.276)

The Bodhisatta was once born as the son of Dhanañjaya, king of the Kurū, and, after his father’s death, reigned in Indapatta. He observed the “Kurudhamma” — that is to say, the five precepts (pañcasīla) — as did the queen-mother, his queen-consort, the viceroy, the chaplain, the king’s driver, his charioteer, the treasurer, the keeper of the royal granaries, the palace porter and the courtesan of the city. The country thus became very prosperous and its people happy. In the kingdom of Kāliṅga there was a drought and consequent scarcity of food. The king, acting on the advice of his ministers, sent brahmins to beg from the Bodhisatta the loan of his state elephant, Añjanavasabha, who was reported to bring rain. The elephant was lent willingly but no rain fell. It was thereupon decided that the prosperity of the Kurū was due to the Kurudhamma observed by the king and the others, and messengers were despatched to find out which these Kurudhamma were. From the king down to the courtesan, all had rigorously kept them, but each had unwittingly done something that he or she considered a violation of the Dhamma. The messengers, therefore, had to visit each one and take down a list of the Dhamma. The incidents related by each to the messengers, explaining wherein they had transgressed the precepts, only served to emphasise how scrupulously they had conducted themselves. The Kāliṅga king practised the Kurudhamma and rain fell in his country.

The story was told in reference to a monk who had killed a wild goose. Two monks bathed in the Aciravatī, and while standing on the bank, drying themselves, they saw two geese appear. The monks took a bet as to which should hit the goose in the eye, and one of them threw a stone, which pierced one eye and came out of the other. The monk was reported to the Buddha. J.ii.365 ff; DhA.iv.86 ff; cp. Cariyāpiṭaka i.3.

Compare the introductory story to that of the Sālittaka Jātaka (J.i.418).

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