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Story of Chullabodhi - The Conqueror of Anger
The Illustrated Jataka & Other Stories of the Buddha by C.B. Varma
040 - Chullabodhi
– The Conqueror of Anger
Once the Bodhisatta
was born in an erudite family and became a scholar of great fame. His name
was Chullabodhi. As he remembered his past lives and the fruits of the
life of a recluse, therefore, he one day, renounced the worldly life and
became an ascetic. His wife, a well accomplished lady, too, resolved to
follow him and accompanied him wherever he went despite all
discouragements and persuasions. She happily accompanied him even in the
cemeteries, desert houses, mountains, the forests infested with wild
animals and so on. Thus, several years passed.
Once, in a gorgeous
sunny day of spring when the groves and gardens were in their full bloom;
the cuckoos were singing; and the soft and silky wind was wafting the
aroma of the fully blossomed flowers, Chullabodhi, seated in front of his
forest hermitage was sewing his pamsakula
(rags of an ascetic) and his elegant semi-clad wife was meditating under a
tree. The king of the country then spotted them and stopped there. He was
particularly attracted to the chiselled beauty of the woman flashing
through her birch garments. He, instantly thought of abducting her. But
taking a note of the presence of the male ascetic and remembering some old
tales of the supernatural powers of the ascetics he initially exercised
restraint. So, to examine the power of the ascetic he asked him as to how
would he defend the woman if a thief or a wild animal were to attack her.
Chullabodhi answered him coolly “I would not release him”.
The Woman ascetic engrossed in meditation, Ajanta
The king, who did not
bother to comprehend the message hidden in the sentence hastily inferred
that the ascetic had no supernatural power. So, he thought that it would
be easy for him to take away the woman. He then ordered his guards to take
her to his harem.
When the woman heard
the king’s order she looked like a doe, which is attacked by a wild
animal. Her countenance changed, and her eyes were filled with tears. She
wailed and lamented, and in a faltering voice asked the ascetic to use his
supernatural powers to save her. Yet, the ascetic remained calm. He did
not show even a jot of anger. When she was forcibly pushed to the king’s
chariot the king suddenly pondered over the utterances made by the
ascetic. Failing to comprehend the exact meaning of his reply, he asked
him to explain, who he referred to as “him” in his statement.
The ascetic said,
“By ‘him’ I mean ‘Anger’, which is like fire, which by the
process of attrition springs from a piece of wood to destroy that very
wood. So does the wrath, that breaks out by a false conception, destroys
the very person in whom it arises. When the fever of anger bursts forth
with fierceness, the man loses all his reputation just like the water
lilies, which lose charm with the dissipation of the moon-shine owing to
the sun-rise. But when one pays no heed to the insults and remembers that
anger alone is his real enemy his reputation shines forth like the bright
disc of the moon. Further, an angry person, no matter whether adorned with
the best of ornaments would look ugly, because the fire of wrath would
destroy the serenity of his beauty. Bewildered
by the wrath, a man deviates from the path of happiness; and tread the
path of misery just like the moon, which loses its lustre when enters the
dark course of the fort-night. So, by ‘him’ I mean the man’s chief
enemy - the Anger’, which I did not release to redeem my pledge.”
These marvellous words and the serenity in the face of the ascetic changed the heart of the king. He suddenly grew reverence for him and felt ashamed of his guilt. He then bowed down on his feet and begged for his forgiveness after praising his virtues.
Further, he released
the wife of Chullabodhi and proceeded to his kingdom with a purified mind.
it is said,
who wins anger appeases his enemies.
who loses anger burns but himself.
Chullabodhi Jataka Jataka Pali No. 443; Chariyapitaka 2.4; jm21
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