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Somanassa Jātaka (No.505)

Once, when Reṇu was king of Uttarapañcāla, an ascetic, Mahārakkhita, visited him with five hundred others from the Himavā. The king entertained them and told them of his worry because he had no sons. Some time later, when the ascetics were returning, Mahā Rakkhita saw that the king would have a son and told his companions so. One of the ascetics, a cheat, hoping to get gain thereby, feigned illness, and, returning to the palace, told the king that a son would be born to his queen, Sudhammā. The king showed him great honour, and he came to be called Dibbacakkhuka. In due course, the Bodhisatta was born as the king’s son, and was named Somanassa. When the boy was seven years old the king had to leave home to quell a border rising, and Somanassa was left in the charge of the cheating ascetic. The boy soon discovered his real nature and paid him no honour. As soon as the king returned, Dibbacakkhu complained to him that the prince had ill-treated him. Somanassa was ordered to be executed, but he exposed the cheat’s knavery, and men, sent to search his hut, found bundles of money in it. Disgusted with life at court, Somanassa obtained the king’s leave and became an ascetic in the Himavā, where Vissakamma, commanded by Sakka, built a hermitage for him. The cheat was stoned to death by the people.

The story was related in reference to Devadatta’s attempt to kill the Buddha. He is identified with Dibbacakkhu, Sāriputta with Mahārakkhita and Somanassa’s mother with Mahāmāyā. J.iv.445 ff.

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