Sunday, January 08, 2006

Maha-ummagga Jataka - A Buddhist Epic (Chapter One)

(Continued from the Introduction)

Chapter One: The Child's Seven Tests

Test One: The Flesh

One day, while the Bodhisatta was going to the playground, a hawk, grasping a piece of meat from a swollen plank, sprung forth into the sky. Having seen this, the boys followed after the hawk, thinking, "we will make it drop the piece of meat!" They, watching it high above and going after it, one behind the next, tripped over rocks and so on and became tired.

Then, the wise one said to them, "I will make it let go."

"Make it let go, master!"

"Well then, do you watch." He, not looking up above, ran with the speed of the wind, and having stepped on the hawk's shadow, clapped his hands, sounding a great sound. Through his glory, that sound peicered through the belly of the hawk, as though it had emitted therefrom. Afraid, it dropped the meat. The Great Being, knowing this fact of dropping, watched the shadow and, without letting it fall to the ground, caught it right out of the air.

Having seen this wonder, the greater populace, yelling and clamouring and clapping their hands, made a loud noise. The minister, having come to know about this incident, sent a messenger to the king, saying, "by this means, he caused it to drop the piece of meat; may the Lord come to know this."

Having heard this, the king asked Senaka, "what, Senaka? Shall we have the wise man come?"

He thought, "starting from the moment of his coming here, we will come to have no glory - the king will not know we even exist. It is not proper to cause him to come." Out of this foolish avarice for gain, he said, "Great king, not by such is one called a wise man. This is something trifling."

The king, indifferent, sent him back again, saying, "may he test him just there."
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