Friday 3rd of February 2023

The Wise And The Fools Story

Once upon a time, when Brahmadatta was king in Benares, the Bodhisatta was born in the family of a Brahmin, whose fortune amounted to eighty crores. They named him Akitti. When the time came he was able to walk, a sister was born, and they gave her the name Yasavati. The Great Being proceeded to Benares, where he completed his education and then returned. After that his mother and father died. He had performed all that behaves for the spirits of the dead, and inspected his treasure. He thought, “This treasure gathered by so many is no more. I am not going to take this with me when I die.” So He called his sister and said, “Take charge of this treasure and I am going to become an ascetic.”

She answered, “Dear one! I will have none of it, but I also will become an ascetic.” Then he proclamed: “Let all those who wish for money come and get it!” For seven days he distributed great store of alms, and yet the treasure did not come to an end. Then he opened wide the doors of the house, saying, “It is a gift; let the people take it.” So leaving the house he and his sister departed to a pleasant spot made a hut of leaves and branches, and with his sister lived in it as an ascetic. Lot of visitors came there and paid gifts and honours. He thought, “I ought to dwell alone.” So at a time when no man expected, without even warning his sister, ahe departed alone, and came to the kingdom Damila, where dwelling in a park over against Kavirapattana, he cultivated a mystic ecstasy and the supernatural Faculties. There also he received much honour and great store of gifts. This was not liked by him. He travelled through the air descended at the isle of Kara, which is over against the island of Naga. At that time, Karadipa was named Ahidipa, the Isle of Sanakes. There he built an hermitage beside a great kara-tree, and lived in it. But no man knew.

Now his sister went searching for her brother, and in due course came to the kingdom of Damila. She could not find him there, yet lived in the very place where he lived, but could not induce the mystic ecstasy. The Great Being was rigorously continuing penance. By the fire of his virtue Sakka’s marble throne became hot. “Who would bring me down from my place?” thought Sakka, and considering, he beheld the wise man. Sakka went to test him. The man lives in misery, eats kara-leaves sprinkled with water: if he desires to become Sakka, he will give me his own sodden leaves; but if not, then he will not give them.” Then in the guise of a brahmin he went to the Bodhisatta.

The Bodhisatta sat at the door of his leaf-hut, having sodden the leaves and laid them down. “When they are cool,” thought he, “I will eat them.” At that moment Sakka stood before him, craving an alms. When the Great Being beheld him, he was glad at heart; “A blessing for me,” he thought, “I see a beggar; this day I shall attain the desire of my heart, and I shall give an alms.” When the food was ready, he took all of it in his bowl at once, and gave it to Sakka. The brahmin took it, and disappeared. But the Great Being, having given his gift, cooked no more again, but sat still in joy and blessedness. Next day and the next day, the same thing happened. Sakka thought: “This brahmin fasting for three days, weak as he is, yet gives to me, and tales joy in his giving. There is no other meaning in his thoughts; I do not undrsand what it is he desires and why he gives these gifts, so I must ask him, and find out his meaning, and learn the cause of his giving.” Accordingly he waited till past midday, and in great glory and magnificence came to the Great Being blazing like the young sun; and standing before him, put to him the question: “Ho, ascetic! Why do you practice the ascetic life in this forest, surrounded by the salt sea, with hot winds beating upon you?”

When the Great Being heard this, and perceived that it was Sakka, he answered and said to him, “Those Attainments I do not crave; but craving for omniscience I live the life of a recluse.”

Hearing these words, Sakka was pleased in his heart, and thought, “He is dissatisfied with all kinds of being, and for being, and for Nirvana’s sake dwells in the forest. I will offer him a boon.” Then he invited him to choose a boon.

The Great Being chose his boon.

“I pray no lust for such as these may harbor in my breast.”

Then Sakka, much pleased, offered yet other boon:

Lands, goods, and gold, slaves, horse, and line, grow old and pass away:

May I be not like them, nor be this fault in me, I pray.”

Then Sakka, much pleased, offered yet other boon:

May I not see or hear a fool, nor no such dwell with me,

Nor hold no converse with a fool, nor like his company.”

Sakka asked, “What has a fool e’er done to you, O Kassapa, declare!

Come tell me why fools’ company is more than you can bear?”

The Great Being replied: “The fool does wickedly, binds loads on him that none should bear,

Ill-doing is his good, and he is wroth when spoken fair,

Knows not right conduct; this is why I would have no fool there.”

Then Sakka, much pleased, offered yet other boon:

Be it mine the wise to see and hear, and may he dwell with me,

May I hold converse with the wise, and love his company.”

Sakka asked:

“What has the wise man done to you, O Kassapa, declare!

Why do you wish that where you are, the wise man should be there?”

The Bodhisatta replied:

“The wise does well, no burden binds on him that none should bear,

Well-doing is his good, nor is he wroth when spoken fair,

Knows well right conduct; this is why ’tis well he should be there.”

“Sakka, the lord of beings all, has offered me a boon.

May I be free from lusts, and when the sun begins to shine

May holy mendicants appear, and grant me food divine;

May this not dwindle as I give, nor I repent the deed,

But be my heart in giving glad: this choose I for my meed.”

Then Sakka, much pleased, offered yet other boon:

The Bodhisatta replied: “O Sakka, visit me no more: this boon is all I crave.”

Sakka said:

“But many men and women too of those who live aright

Desire to see me: can there be a danger in the sight?”

The Bodhisatta replied:

“Such is thy aspect all divine, such glory and delight,

This seen, I may forget my vows: this danger has the sight.”

Sakka said, “Well! Sir! I will never visit you more”; and so saluting him, and craving his pardon, Sakka departed. The Great Being then lived all his life long, cultivating the Excellences, and was born again in the world of Brahma.

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