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Uraga Jātaka (No. 154, 354)

1. Uraga Jātaka (No.154).– King Brahmadatta of Bārāṇasī once held a festival to which came the inhabitants of many worlds. A Nāga in the crowd, not noticing that the person beside him was a Garuḷa, laid a hand on his shoulder; discovering his mistake, he was frightened to death and ran away, pursued by the Garuḷa. The Nāga, coming to a river, where an ascetic, who was the Bodhisatta, was bathing, took refuge in the ascetic’s bark-garment. The Garuḷa, though able to see the Nāga, would not attack him out of respect for the ascetic. The latter took both of them to his hermitage and made them friendly towards each other by teaching the blessings of loving-kindness.

The story was related in reference to two soldiers who were in the habit of quarrelling whenever they met. Not even the king could reconcile them. The Buddha visited them at their homes and, having made them both Stream-winners, took them to see each other. Thenceforth they were great friends, and people marvelled at the Buddha’s power (J.ii.12‑14). The Nakula Jātaka was also taught in this connection.

2. Uraga Jātaka (No.354).– The Bodhisatta was once a brahmin in Bārāṇasī. His household consisted of himself, his wife, a son, a daughter, a daughter-in-law and a female slave. They lived happily together, and on the Bodhisatta’s advice kept their thoughts constantly fixed on the inevitableness of death. One day, while burning some rubbish in the field, the son was bitten by a snake and died. The father laid his body under a tree, and having sent word to his house that all the others should come with perfumes and flowers, when bringing his meal, be went on with his work. After the meal they made a funeral pyre and burnt the body, but not one of them wept a single tear. By virtue of their piety, Sakka’s throne was heated and he appeared to them in disguise. He questioned them separately as to whether their lack of any show of grief for the dead meant that they did not love him. Being convinced that their composure was due to their practice of the thought of death, he revealed his identity, and filled their house with the seven kinds of treasures. The story was related to a landowner of Sāvatthi who, when his son died, gave himself up to despair. The Buddha visited him and consoled him (J.iii.162 ff).

This story is referred to in the Dhammapada Commentary DhA.iii.277.

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