วันพุธที่ 3 สิงหาคม พ.ศ. 2554

[Article] The Story of Vessantara Jataka (Thai: มหาเวสสันดรชาดก, Maha Wetsandon Chadok).

[Article] The Story of Vessantara Jataka (Thai: มหาเวสสันดรชาดก, Maha Wetsandon Chadok).Roytavan : EditorCr. - wikipedia

Original : http://bangkrod.blogspot.com/

The Vessantara Jataka (Thai: มหาเวสสันดรชาดก, Maha Wetsandon Chadok) is one of the most popular avadānas of Theravada Buddhism. The Vessantara Jataka tells the story of one of Buddha's past lives, about a compassionate prince, Vessantara, who gives away everything he owns, including his children, thereby displaying the virtue of perfect charity.

Table contents of Vessantara Jataka 13 part:
1. The Blessings ; the ten blessings which the god Indra gave to Queen Putsadi, who became Wetsandon's mother
2. Himaphan ; the early life of Prince Wetsandon
3. The Gifts ; Prince Wetsandon gives away all his possessions
4. The Wandering : Prince Wetsandon and his wife and children go to their exile
5. Chuchok ; the story of the beggar Brahmin
6. The Small Forest ; Chuchok set out to find Prince Wetsandon
7. The Large Forest ; Chuchok continues his travels
8. The Children ; Chuchok begs for Prince Wetsandon's children
9. Princess Matsi ; Matsi cannot prevent Prince Wetsandon giving the children to Chuchok
10. Phra Indra ; The god Indra prevents Prince Wetsandon giving away his wife
11. The Great King ; Prince Wetsandon's father rescues the children from Chuchok
12. The Six Ksatriya ; The royal families are reunited
13. The City ; Prince Wetsandon and his family are welcomed back to their city.

Description :
When Gautama Buddha visited his father's kingdom for the first time after he achieved the supreme enlightenment, arrogant elders of the ruling dynasty denied to respect as they were older than 'Siddhartha Rajakumar'. The Buddha made a miracle by appearing in the air above his relatives. His father was the first to bow down and admitted that this was his third time to pay respect to his own son. Members of the dynasty then bowed down and accept the religion. Suddenly, rain clouds gathered and a red-drop rain appeared. This miracle led to his followers' question of 'what is this rain?'. He then explained that there was once that this rain appear, way back to his last life before his present life. Hence;he told the story of King Vessantara, his previous life.

King Vessantara was the son of Sañjaya, king of Sivirattha (Sivi-Rashtra), and was born in the capital city of Jatuttara as a Bodhisatta.

His mother; according to the belief, was a princess who made a great merit with a wish to become a mother of a future Bodhisatta who will be the next Buddha. After she died the princess ascended to the Celestial Kingdom and became one of God Indra's consort. She lived happily until the day she had to rebirth again as human. Indra gave her 10 boons and one of them was 'Let me become the mother of Bodhisatta, who in his next life will achieve enlightenment'. She descended to human world, was born to the court of a king, and later married to King Sañjaya.

On the last day of her pregnancy, the Queen wished to sightsee the capital city. Her husband granted her that wish. She visited several district and people were delight by their queen. Until she was in the merchant quarter that she needed an emergency deliver at the bazaar, the heart of the city. Hence; the new-born prince and heir was named Vessantara, which mean 'Born in the merchant quarter'. As soon as he opened his eyes, the infant-prince asked his mother for money to give to the poor. One the same day; a female elephant brought her new born cub to the royal palace. The cub was pure white.

Vessantara grew up to be a kind person and willing to give away his belonging to others. His parents were delighted by their son's character and supported the prince's charity with their treasures. Vessantara married princess Maddi. They had 2 children: the Prince Jali and the Princess Kanhajina. Sañjaya retired and Vessantara was crowded King.

One day Vessantara gave away the magical white elephant which brought rain to his kingdom to envoys from Kalinga, a neighboring country which was facing a drought. The citizens of Vessantara's kingdom were distressed by the fear of drought because of the loss of the elephant. Thus, they convinced King Sanjaya to resume control of the kingdom and banish his son Vessantara.

The former king readily gave away his kingdom to his father. Before leaving the city and going to live in the forest as a hermit with his wife Maddi and their two children, he also gave away his wealth.

One of his loyal courtiers suggested that the family should live at Vamka Mountain. They left the city on a four-horse chariot. Along the way; Vessantara gave away his horses and four deities appeared in stags form to pull the chariot. Then he gave away his chariot (stags disappeared) The family walked on foot through a forest. The young prince and princess saw wild fruits hung on high branches but their parents could not reach those fruit. Miraculously; all trees bended their branches for them.

The family then arrived at their neighbour's kingdom, Ceti. King of Ceta was informed of their arrival and rushed to greet the prince. He was touched by their story and offered his throne but the prince denied, they also denied to stay in a palace. King of Ceta ordered a hunter to patrol the entrance to Vamka Mountain, to prevent anyone to disturb the family.

Meanwhile Jujaka, a greedy old Brahmin who lived as a beggar, had a very young wife, Amittada, who was also very beautiful and hard-working. During the drought Amittada used to regularly bring water from the well for her old husband, and the husbands of the other women in the village put her as an example of a good industrious wife. Jealous of her, one day all the village women gathered by the well and beat up the Brahmin's young wife, tearing her clothes.

From that day onwards the girl stubbornly refused to go to the well any longer. Amittada harassed Jujaka telling him to find her some servants in order to spare her more ridicule. She didn't give her husband any peace.

Jujaka met the hunter and tricked him. He met a rishi and also tricked him as well. Finally the Brahmin Jujaka went to the forest to prince Vessantara at a moment that his wife Maddi was away. He asked him for his two children, which Vessantara readily gave away. Jali and Kanha went to hid in a lotus pond. Their father found them and asked if they will help their father achieve his highest goal. Both agreed and became Jujaka's slaves.

Vessantara told the Brahmin to bring his children to their grandfather, "The king will reward you for bringing their beloved grandchildren back to them". Jujaka disagreed, stating the Sunjaya will execute him for this. The Brahmin tied both children with vines and dragged them like cattle. Both children begged their father to help them while the old man scolded and beat them with his stick. Vessantara could not stand this scene and reached for his weapon he kept in his hut. However; he overcame all anger and let his children be taken away.

Maddi's return passage to their resident was blocked by tigers (gods in disguise). When she didn't see her children, she wandered around all night looking for them and finally collapsed before her husband. Vessatara thought she was death so he lamented of his lost. He put her head on his laps and realised that she still breath. He revived Maddi with water. She woke up and rose immediately as the couple had take a celibacy vow and will not touch each other. Vessantara told her the truth and Maddim after she had learnt that her husband gave away their children, she praised him for his greatness.

Fearing that Vessantara would have given away his wife as well, God Indra intervened and in disguise, asked for his wife Maddi, which Vessantara readily gave him as well. Then Indra gave Vessantara Maddi back as a trust, for all his acts of benevolence and generosity had been perfect.

A god and a goddess felt sympathy to young prince and princess. They disguised as their parents and helped nursing Jali and Kanha. They made Jujaka took a wrong turn and led him to Sivi Kingdom, finally, through the palace gate. King Sanjaya saw two familiar faces and ordered royal guards to bring them to him. He recognized his grandchildren and paid for their price. Kanha price was higher than her brother as her father want no one to buy her from Jujaka. In fact, both Jali and Kanha's price are so high that only the wealthy king Sanjaya of Sivi can pay.
Jujaka became extremely rich. At his first meal as a richman, he ate too much. His digestive system failed and he died upon his plate. King Sanjaya sent his men to find Jujaka's family to inherit his wealth; however, his wife and in-laws were too afraid of the punishment for Jujaka's treason so they escaped.

Sanjaya arranged a grandeur procession to meet his sons and daughter-in-law. Kalinga Kingdom also return the white elephant after Kalinga became prosperous again, which lifted Sivi people anger. Jali led the army and men to his parents residence and the family reunited. After the most happy moment, all six of them collapsed.

Heaven poured the red rain, which will 'soak one who want to be soaked, will not soak those who want to stay dry' (same red rain to the beginning) , to revive them. Vessantara was crowned as king again and returned to his Kingdom. Indra blessed Sivi Kingdom with a seven-gem rain. Vessantara allowed people to keep those gems for themselves and the leftover will went to the Kingdom treasury which he will use for his charity. He was also given a boon of never run out of treasure for his charity.

Lord Buddha explained that each figure had rebirth as people surrounded him. His parents were Vessantara's parents. Maddi was reborn as his former wife. Jali became Rahul, his son. Kanha became Ubolvanna, the Bhikuni (female monk). The loyal courtier who informed him of the place he should stay became Anada, his cousin and attendant. Jujaka became Devadutt, his arch enemy. The white elephant became Maha Kassapaya.