The Jataka tales [English], Volume 1-6

by Robert Chalmers | 1895 | 877,505 words | ISBN-13: 9788120807259

This is the Kama-Vilapa-jataka (English translation) including a glossary and notes. The jatakas (buddhist birth history) are a category of literature within buddhism and narrate the previous births of the historical Buddha (Siddhartha Gautama). They include various obstacles which a Buddha-character encounters and must overcome. Alternative title: Kāma-Vilāpa-jātaka.

Jataka 297: Kāma-Vilāpa-jātaka

"O bird, that fliest," etc.—This story the Master told at Jetavana, about a man who pined for his former wife. The circumstances which called it forth are[1] explained in the Puppharatta Birth-tale[2], and the tale of the past in the Indriya Birth-tale[3].


So the man was impaled alive. As he hung there, he looked up and saw a crow flying through the air; and, nought reeking of the hitter pain, he hailed the crow, to send a message to his dear wife, repeating these verses following:

"O bird, that fliest in the sky!
O winged bird, that fliest high!
Tell my wife, with thighs so fair:
Long will seem the time to her.

"She knows not sword and spear are set:
Full wroth and angry she will fret.
That is my torment and my fear,
And not that I am hanging here.

"My lotus-mail I have put by,
And jewels in my pillow lie,
And soft Benares cloth beside.
With wealth let her be satisfied."

[444] With these lamentations, he died.


When the Mister had ended this discourse, he declared the Truths, and identified the Birth (now at the conclusion of the Truths, the lovesick brother attained the fruition of the First Path): "The wife then was the wife now; but the spirit who saw this, was I myself."

Footnotes and references:


Reading kathitaṃ.


No. 147 above, vol. i. page 312.


No. 423.