"Those who fear to sin,"--This the Blessed One told while at Jetavana, concerning a monk of much property.
For a landed proprietor who dwelt at Savatthi became a monk, they are told, after the death of his wife. And when he was going to be ordained, he had a hermitage and a kitchen and a storehouse erected for his own use, and the store filled with ghee and rice, and so was received into the Order. And even after he was ordained he used to call his slaves and have what he liked cooked, and ate it. And he was well furnished with all things allowed to the fraternity; he had one upper garment to wear at night and one to wear by day, and his rooms were detached from the rest of the monastery.
One day, when he had taken out his robes and coverlets, and spread them in the cell to dry, a number of brethren from the country, who were seeking for a lodging, came to his cell, and seeing the robes and other things, asked him, "Whose are these?"
"Mine, brother," said he.
"But, brother, this robe, and this robe, and this under garment, and this under garment, and this coverlet--are they all yours?"
"Yes; mine indeed," said he.
"Brother, the Buddha has allowed only three sets of robes; yet, though you have entered the Order of the self-denying Buddha, you have furnished yourself thus grandly." And saying, "Come, let us bring him before the Sage," they took him, and went to the Teacher.
When the Teacher saw them, he said, "How is it, mendicants, that you bring this brother here against his will?"
"Lord! this mendicant has much property and a large wardrobe."
"Is this true then, brother, that you have so many things?"
"It is true, O Blessed One!"
"How is it, brother, that you have become thus luxurious? Have not I inculcated being content with little, simplicity, seclusion, and self-control?"
On hearing what the Teacher said, he called out angrily, "Then I will go about in this way!" and throwing off his robe, he stood in the midst of the people there with only a cloth round his loins!
Then the Teacher, giving him support in temptation, said, "But, brother, you had formerly a sense of shame, and lived for twelve years a conscientious life when you were a water-sprite. How then, now, having entered the so honorable Order of the Buddhas, can you stand there throwing off your robes in the presence of all the brethren, and lost to all sense of shame?"
And when he heard the Teacher's saying, he recovered his sense of propriety, and robed himself again, and bowing to the Teacher stood respectfully aside.
But the monks asked the Teacher to explain how that was. Then the Teacher made manifest the matter which had been hidden by change of birth.
"Long ago Brahmadatta was king in Benares, in the country of Kasi. And the Bodhisattva of that time assumed re-existence in the womb of his chief queen; and on the day on which they chose a name for him, they gave him the name of Prince Mahinsasa. And when he could run to and fro, and get about by himself, another son was born, whom they called the Moon Prince.
"When he could run to and fro, and get about by himself, the mother of the Bodhisattva died. The king appointed another lady to the dignity of chief queen. She became very near and dear to the king, and in due course she brought forth a son, and they called his name the Sun Prince.
"When the king saw his son, he said in his joy, 'My love! I promise to give you, for the boy, whatever you ask!'
"But the queen kept the promise in reserve, to be used at some time when she should want it. And when her son was grown up, she said to the king, 'Your majesty, when my son was born, granted me a boon. Now give me the kingdom for my son!'
"The king said, 'My two sons are glorious as flames of fire I I can't give the kingdom to your child alone!' And he refused her.
"But when she besought him again and again, he thought to himself, 'This woman will surely be plotting some evil against the lads!' And he sent for them, and said, 'My boys! when the Sun Prince was born, I granted a boon. And now his mother demands the kingdom for him! I have no intention of giving it to him. But the very name of womankind is cruelty! She will be plotting some evil against you. Do you get away into the forest; and when I am dead, come back and reign in the city that is yours by right!' So, weeping and lamenting, he kissed them on their foreheads, and sent them forth.
"As they were going down out of the palace, after taking leave of their father, the Sun Prince himself, who was playing there in the courtyard, caught sight of them. And when he learnt how the matter stood, he thought to himself, 'I, too, will go away with my brothers!' And he departed with them accordingly.
"They went on till they entered the mountain region of Himalaya. There the Bodhisattva, leaving the path, sat down at the foot of a tree, and said to the Sun Prince:
"'Sun Prince, dear! do you go to yonder pond; and after bathing and drinking yourself, bring us, too, some water in the leaves of the lotus plants.'
"Now that pond had been delivered over to a water-sprite by Vessavana (the King of the Fairies), who had said to him:
"'Thou art hereby granted as thy prey all those who go down into the water, save only those who know what is true divinity. But over such as go not down thou hast no power.'
"So from that time forth, the water-sprite used to ask all those who went down into the water, what were the characteristic signs of divine beings, and if they did not know, he used to eat them up alive.
"Now Sun Prince went to the pond, and stepped down into it without any hesitation. Then the demon seized him, and demanded of him:
"'Do you know what is of divine nature?'
"'Oh, yes! They call the Sun, and the Moon, Gods,' was the reply.
"'You don't know what is of divine nature,' said he, and carrying him off down into the water, he put him fast in his cave.
"But the Bodhisattva, when he found that he was so long in coming, sent the Moon Prince. Him, too, the demon seized and asked him as before:
"'Do you know what is of divine nature?'
"'Yes, I do. The far-spreading sky is called divine.'
"'You then don't know what is divine,' said he; and he took him, too, and put him in the same place.
"When he too delayed, the Bodhisattva thought to himself, 'Some accident must have happened.' He himself, therefore, went to the place, and saw the marks of the footsteps where both the boys had gone down into the water. Then he knew that the pond must be haunted by a water-sprite; and he stood fast, with his sword girded on, and his bow in his hand.
"But when the demon saw that the Bodhisattva was not going down into the water, he took to himself the form of a woodman, and said to the Bodhisattva:
"'Hallo, my friend! you seem tired with your journey. Why don't you get down into the lake there; and have a bath, and drink, and eat the edible stalks of the lotus plants, and pick the flowers, and so go on your way at your ease?'
"And as soon as the Bodhisattva saw him, he knew that he was the demon, and he said,
"'It is you who have seized my brothers!'
"'Yes, it is I,' said he.
"'What for, then?'
"'I have been granted all those who go down into this pond.'
"'Well; all save those who know what beings are divine. The rest are my prey.'
"'But have you then any need of divine beings?'
"'If it be so, I will tell you who are divine.'
"'Speak on then; and I shall get to know who have the attributes which are divine.'
"Then the Bodhisattva said, 'I would teach you regarding this matter; but I am all unclean with my journey.' And the water-sprite bathed the Bodhisattva, and provided him with food, and brought him water, and decked him with flowers, and anointed him with perfumes, and spread out for him a couch in a beautiful arbor.
"And the Bodhisattva seated himself there, and made the water-sprite sit at his feet, and said, 'Give ear then attentively, and listen what divine nature is.' And he uttered the verse--
"'The pure in heart who fear to sin.
"And when the water-sprite heard that, his heart was touched, and he said to the Bodhisattva--
"'O, Wise Teacher, in you I place my trust. I will give you up one of your brothers. Which shall I bring?'
"'Bring me the younger of the two.'
"'But, O Teacher; you who know so well all about the divine nature, do you not act in accordance with it?'
"'What do you mean?'
"'That neglecting the elder, and telling me to bring the younger of the two, you pay not the honor that is due to seniority.'
"'I both know, O Demon, what divinity is, and I walk according to it. It is on that boy's account that we came to this forest: for it was for him that his mother begged the kingdom from our father, and our father being unwilling to grant that, sent us away to live in the forest, that we might be safe from danger. The lad himself came all the way along with us. Were I to say, "An ogre has eaten him in the wilderness," no one would believe it. Therefore it is that I, to avoid all blame, have told you to bring him.'
"'Verily thou hast spoken well, O Teacher. Thou not only knowest what divinity is, but hast acted as a divinity would.'
"And when he had thus magnified the Bodhisattva with believing heart, he brought forth both the brothers and gave them back to him.
"Then said the Bodhisattva to him, 'Friend, it is by reason of evil deeds committed by you in some former birth, that you have been born as an ogre, living on the flesh of other beings. And now you still go on sinning. This thine iniquity will prevent thine ever escaping from re-birth in evil states. From henceforth, therefore, put away evil, and do good!'
"With these words he succeeded in converting him. And the ogre being converted, the Bodhisattva continued to live there under his protection. And one day he saw by the conjunction of the stars that his father was dead. So he took the water-sprite with him and returned to Benares, and took upon himself the kingdom. And he made Moon Prince his heir-apparent, and Sun Prince his commander-in-chief. And for the water-sprite he made a dwelling-place in a pleasant spot, and took care that he should be constantly provided with the best of garlands and flowers and food. And he himself ruled his kingdom in righteousness, until he passed away according to his deeds."
The Teacher having finished this discourse spoke on the Four Truths. And when he had done, that monk entered the First Stage of the Path leading to Nirvana. And the Buddha having told the double story, made the connection and summed up the Jataka by concluding, "The then water-sprite was the luxurious monk; the Sun Prince was Ananda; the Moon Prince was Sariputta; but the elder brother, the Prince Mahansasa, was I myself."