"The peak's a cubit,"--The Master told this while dwelling in Jetavana, concerning the admonition of a king. The occasion will appear in the Tesakuna Birth.
"Once upon a time when Brahmadatta was reigning in Benares, the Bodhisattva was his councillor in things temporal and spiritual. The king was set on the way of the evil courses, ruled his kingdom unrighteously and collected wealth by oppressing the people. The Bodhisattva wishing to admonish him goes about looking for a parable. Now the king's bedchamber was unfinished and the roof was not complete upon it: the rafters supported a peak but were only just set in position. The king had gone and taken his pleasure in the park: when he came to his house he looked up and saw the round peak: fearing it would fall upon him he went and stood outside, then looking up again he thought 'How is that peak resting so? and how are the rafters?' and asking the Bodhisattva he spoke the first stanza:--
"'The peak's a cubit and a half in height,
"Hearing him the Bodhisattva thought 'I have now got a parable to admonish the king,' and spoke these stanzas:--
"'The thirty rafters bent, of sara wood,
"'So is the wise man, girt by faithful friends,
"While the Bodhisattva was speaking, the king considered his own conduct, 'If there is no peak, the rafters do not stand fast; the peak does not stand if not held by the rafters; if the rafters break, the peak falls: and even so a bad king, not holding together his friends and ministers, his armies, his Brahmins and householders, if these break up, is not held by them but falls from his power: a king must be righteous.' At that instant they brought him a citron as a present. The king said to the Bodhisattva, 'Friend, eat this citron.' The Bodhisattva took it and said, 'O king, people who know not how to eat this make it bitter or acid: but wise men who know take away the bitter, and without removing the acid or spoiling the citron-flavor they eat it,' and by this parable he showed the king the means of collecting wealth, and spoke two stanzas:--
"'The rough-skinned citron bitter is to eat,
"'Even so the wise man without violence,
"The king taking counsel with the Bodhisattva went to a lotus-tank, and seeing a lotus in flower, with a hue like the new-risen sun, not defiled by the water, he said: 'Friend, that lotus grown in the water stands undefiled by the water.' Then the Bodhisattva said, 'O king, so should a king be,' and spoke these stanzas in admonition:--
"'Like the lotus in the pool,
"'So the man whom virtues rule,
"The king hearing the Bodhisattva's admonition afterwards ruled his kingdom righteously, and doing good actions, charity and the rest, became destined for heaven."
After the lesson, the Master declared the Truths and identified the Birth: "At that time the king was Ananda, the wise minister myself."