The Bodhisattva was born as a parrot in one of his births and lived in a fig tree. He enjoyed eating the ripe fruits of the tree and lived happily. After a few years, the fig tree became old and stopped bearing any fruit. Yet the parrot refused to leave the tree and go elsewhere like the other parrots had done. Sakka, the King of Gods, disguised himself as a goose and visited the parrot. He asked the parrot why he had not deserted the tree yet. “I cannot forsake my friend who has fed me for so many years,” replied the parrot. Sakka was pleased to hear this and returning to his own form said, “I am impressed with your feelings for the tree. Ask me what you want.” The parrot then bowed his head in respect and said, “Lord, my friend has given me shelter for years. Bless him with the ability to bear fruits throughout the year like before.” “So be it,” said Sakka and once again the fig tree became lively and full of fruits.
The Bodhisattva once served the king of Benaras as a strong and wise horse. The king named him Great Knowing-One, for the horse could sense his rider’s thoughts. Once, Benaras was attacked by seven neighbouring states. The bravest of the king’s knights rode on Great Knowing-One to fight the enemies.
Deciding to avoid bloodshed, Great Knowing-One suggested to the knight, “Sir, let’s not kill any of the enemy kings and instead capture them alive. I will help you to do that.” Saying so, Great Knowing-One stormed through the enemy cavalries. The knight captured the seven kings. But an enemy sword cut through Great Knowing-One’s stomach and he bled to death.
Before dying, the noble horse pleaded with his king to pardon the seven enemy kings. The king did as the horse wished and pardoned the kings and set them free. The enemy kings turned friends.
The Bodhisattva was once born as Clear-sighted, a wise ruler of a prosperous kingdom called Kusavati. He set down ten rules which he strictly followed in ruling his kingdom: uprooting ill will, defeating open enmity, protecting innocence, promoting self-control, patience, gentleness, charity generosity, straightforwardness and goodness. The people were all happy to have him as their ruler.
Kings from far and wide requested him to guide them in several administrative matters. In due course his rule was embraced by one and all and he became the King of the World. His reputation spread far and wide and people considered him immortal. They now called him Clear-sighted the Great. Years passed and one day Clear-sighted breathed his last, saying that whosoever is born is sure to die irrespective of his rank or position. And thus the King of the World too left for his heavenly abode after leading a glorious life.
The Bodhisattva was once born as a great archer. Later he became an ascetic and came to be known as Sarabhanga. Sarabhanga had many disciples and he sent them to various places to preach the importance of leading a virtuous life. But unfortunately, they were often ill-treated. Once Kisavaccha, his chief follower was abused by King Dandaki of Kumbhavati. Kisavaccha was heartbroken and went back to his home near River Godavari where he breathed his last. Such was his piety that during his funeral, the Gods showered flowers on his pyre as a mark of respect.
The kingdom of Kumbhavati together with King Dandaki soon perished as a punishment for ill-treating Kisavaccha and abetting his death. When the kings of neighbouring states came to know about this, they felt scared. Many of them atoned for their past sings and started living a virtuous life.
The Bodhisattva, living amidst all the comforts of heaven, was always keen to help those suffering on earth. Angadinna, the king of Videha, nursed a false notion that there was no afterlife and indulged in immoral acts fearing no retribution. The Bodhisattva noted that this otherwise good king had gone astray due to bad companions. Their words had made the king lose interest in charity and religion.
The Bodhisattva decided to set things right. He felt that King Angadinna should be shown the truth. So the Bodhisattva came down to earth to give him advice and recite sermons. The king was amazed to see the resplendent beauty of the Bodhisattva and realized that, contrary to his belief, there existed a life after death during which a person’s actions were judged and punished or rewarded accordingly.
Once there lived a man called Moggallana. He had a beautiful wife whom he loved very much. But this lady had a wicked nature and used to ill-treat Moggallana’s old, blind parents. She kept pushing Moggallana to send his parents away to the forest. Unwilling to displease his wife, Moggallana one day took his parents to the forest and left them there. “We are unable to take care of ourselves. Please don’t leave us all alone in the forest,” pleaded his mother. But Moggallana paid no heed to his mother’s pleas and went away. On the way, he fell into a pit and broke his legs. Unable to move, Moggallana lay there in pain. The Bodhisattva was passing by the pit. When he saw Moggallana, he helped him out. But alas! Moggallana had become a cripple for life. He then realized that one always pays for one’s misdeeds, and sought his parents’ forgiveness.
One day, the chief queen of King Brahmadatta wished to swim in the lake in the royal garden and left her jewellery with the servant girls before taking a dip in the water. Now, this garden was home to many monkeys. One she-monkey had been sitting on the branch. She got particularly interested in a beautiful pearl necklace that belonged to the queen. “Now I know why the queen always looks so charming. If I wear that pearl necklace, then I shall look as beautiful as her,” thought she and waited patiently for the right moment to steal the necklace. After a while, when the servant girl dozed off, the monkey swung down from the tree and grabbed the necklace in a flash and disappeared into the thick foliage of the tree. When the news of the theft reached the King, he ordered his guards to leave no stone unturned to catch the thief. Just then a poor man was passing by the garden. The hullabaloo from inside the garden scared him and he ran away. Seeing him run, the guards took him to be the thief and after chasing him for some distance, they captured him. When he was produced before the king, he said he had stolen the necklace and added that the chief financial advisor had asked him to do so and that the necklace should be with him. When the chief financial advisor was questioned he passed the responsibility to the royal priest, who in turn passed it on to the chief court musician and he again involved the chief court dancer. But when the dancer was summoned to the court, she denied the allegation altogether. At the end of the day the king was confused and ordered all of them be put behind bars.
The Bodhisattva, who was at that time a minister to the king, did not quite believe that these detainees were the actual culprits because the theft had taken place inside the heavily guarded garden. It would not be possible for any of them to go and steal it from there. “I am sure they are lying out of fear. The poor man must have involved the advisor to save himself. The advisor then must have involved the priest thinking that it would be easier for him if he involved someone very important. I believe the priest involved the musician thinking that if all were imprisoned then music could heal their pain and the musician felt the same way when he involved the dancer,” he thought and was quite confident that it was the work of a she-monkey. So, he ordered all female monkeys to be captured and adorned them with imitation jewellery. Then the monkeys were released by the king’s men, who kept a close watch on them. Now, the actual culprit had hidden the necklace in a hollow of the tree. When her companions flaunted their jewellery with an air of pride, she could not control herself any longer. To make them realize that her’s was actually a better necklace, she brought the necklace out and wore it around her neck. The guards noticed and scared the monkey to drop it. The queen got her necklace back and all the detainees were released from custody.