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Vedabba Jātaka (No.48)

There was once a brahmin who knew the Vedabba charm which, if repeated at a certain conjunction of the planets, made the seven precious things rain down from the sky. The Bodhisatta was his pupil, and one day, while journeying in the forest, they were attacked by five hundred robbers called “despatchers” (pesankacorā). They were so called because when they took two prisoners they would keep one, sending the other for ransom.

These robbers kept the brahmin and sent the Bodhisatta for the ransom. The Bodhisatta, knowing that that night the conjunction of the stars would occur, which ensured the efficacy of the charm, warned the brahmin not to make use of it. However, when night came the brahmin repeated the charm, and the robbers were so delighted that he was able to persuade them to set him free. They set off with the treasures that had fallen from the sky, the brahmin accompanying them, but on the way they were attacked by another robber band. These were told that the brahmin could make treasures fall from the sky; they were therefore set free, only the brahmin being kept back. However, on being told that they must wait for one year for the necessary conjunction of planets, they were angry, cut the brahmin in two, and pursued the first band of robbers, destroying them entirely. Unable to agree on the division of the spoils that they thus obtained, the second band fought among themselves until only two were left. These took the treasure and hid it in a jungle near the village. One guarded it while the other went to the village for rice. When he returned he cooked the rice, ate his share, and put poison in the rest hoping thus to rid himself of his companion; the latter, however, killed him, then ate the rice and died himself. The Bodhisatta returning with the ransom, found all the dead bodies, in various places, and realised what had happened. He took the treasure to his own house.

The story was told in reference to a self-willed monk who is identified with the Vedabba brahmin. J.i.253‑6.

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