Jataka Story

The Mouse Merchant – Diligence and Gratitude [Cullasetthi – Jataka]

When the Buddha was dwelling in the city of Rajagaha in the lay physician Jivaka’s mango grove, this Jataka story was delivered by the Buddha on account of the elder Cullapanthak. In the city of Rajagaha, the chief millionaire’s daughter Later, she had an affair with one of her young slaves. became pregnant. At that time, she said to the slave, I have become pregnant. It is not good for us to stay here. Should my father and mother come to know of what we have done, they will kill us both. Let us run away from here. The young slave boy, though, postponing and postponing their departure, kept delaying it. In the meantime, one day the young girl went home when her lover was not there, gathered her things, and left, When the young boy came home, not seeing her, he chased after her. When it became dark, he met up with her at an inn, where she had just given birth to their child. The young boy said, “Now, we can no longer return home. Both agreed not to return to Rajagaha and to settle down away from her family, unbeknown to anyone. As the boy was born on the road, he was named Panthaka [Journeyman, One Born on the Road].

She lien gave birth again, in the same way, while traveling on the road, but this time while going to see her parents. As this son, too, was born on the road, they called the elder son Mahipanthaka [ Big Panthaka ] and this younger Son Cullapantlhaka [ Little Panthaka ]. When the two children had grown up, the millionaire’s daughter sent them to her father asking him to give them a good education.

At their grandfather’s home, they grew up to become young men, and they went with their grandfather to listen to the Buddha’s Sermons. As they used to go to listen to the Buddha often, the elder son, Mahapanthaka, decided to become a monk. And obtaining permission from his gandparents, he became a monk. After a few years, when he reached the age of twenty, he received higher ordination. And after meditating for a few months, he attained Arahant ship [sainthood through the eradication of one’s cravings], and lived blissfully. Once that he had experienced the rapturous ecstasy of Arahant – ship, he thought, “Why should I not also share such an experience with my younger brother?” Thinking this, he got permission from his grandfather to give ordination to his younger brother as a millionaire novice.

But because of a previous unwholesome deed that the younger brother had done in a past life, he could not learn by heart even a four – line stanza of the Law [Dhamma over a ! period of four months, His elder brother then expelled him from the temple, saying, “As you have not been able to learn even a four – line stanza of the Law in four months, you cannot fulfill the discipline of a monk.” Cullapanthaka became very sad and thought, disrobe and return home, where I can practice charity and perform perform other good works as a lay householder. Thinking this, he left the temple early in the morning of the next day. On that day, early in the morning, the omnipresent one was viewing the world with his divine eye, and he saw Cullapanthakal leaving the temple for home.

He therefore alighted on the road, walking toward Cullapanthaka. When Cullapanthaka saw the Buddha, he went up to the Buddha and prostrating himself before the Buddha, to the Buddha’s listenside, he told the Buddha what had happened to him. Hearing him the Buddha, knowing the whole story, told him not to Worry and gave him a piece of clean white cloth. He asked him to repeat again and again these Words while facing toward the rising sun: “ Removal of impurity; removal of impurity. Advising him in this way, the Buddha left at the appointed time with 550 monks from the temple for lunch at the physician Jivaka’s house.

While the venerable Cullapanthaka was repcating again and again the words the Buddha had told him to repeat, he was stroking over and over again the piece of clearn white cloth that the Buddha had given him, while doing this, he realized the impermanence of all things in the world, he realized that everything in the world comes into being and then ccases existence, and he gained Arahant – ship.

At the same tinc as he had been stroking the cloth, the Buddha saw that Cullapanthaka was developing his mind with regard to impermanence, Seeing this, the Buddha uttered three stanzas regarding the changing nature of the world to be heard by Cullapanthaka only. Hearing these three stanzas, the yenerable Cullapanthaka attained Arahant ship with the five higher knowledges [ pancabhinna – s ].

When Jivaka offered the Buddha water before luncha an invitation to eat, the Buddha put his hand over his bowl and asked a servant to go back to the temple to see whether or not there were still any monks there . Knowing this, the venerable Cullapanthaka thought, “My elder brother Mahapanthaka, thought that there were no monks in the temple. Therefore, I will have to inform him that there are indeed monks here. Thinking this, he filled up the whole mango grove with monks through his miraculous powers [iddhi – vidha – s]. Among them, Some monks Were stitching robes, Some were dyeing robes, and some were repeating sacred texts by heart. The servant who went there to see whether or not there were still any monks in the temple sawa thousand monks in all sorts of activities. said that there were many monks in the manoon He returned and the mango gove.

Then {he Buddha asked that man to go back and say to those monks that the Buddha wants to summon the venerable Cullapanthaka. The man returmed to the temple and said this, and a thousand monks said, “I am Cullapanthaka. I am Cullapanthaka. The man then returned to the Buddha and told him of this. The Buddha then said, “Now go again, and take the hand of the first monk to say, I am Cullapanthaka. All the others will then disappear, When the man did so, it happened in just this way. And the venerable Cullapanthaka came with the man.

At the end of lunch, the venerable Cullapanthaka delivered a sermon covering all Buddhist teachings [ the entire Tipitaka, or Theravada Buddhist canon]. This was discussed in the evening by the monks assembled in the preaching hall. At that time, the Buddha said, “Oh monks, just as Cullapanthaka has today thrived through religious teaching, just so in a previous birth Cullapanthaka prospered with Wealth. Then the monks invited the Buddha to disclose the story of Cullapanthaka’s past birth. The Buddha disclosed it in this Way:

Once upon a time, an inmportant adviser to a certain king [ Cullakasetthi ( Cullasetthi ), The Younger Millionaire Was on his way to a meeting with the king and other advisers. Out of the corner of his eye, he saw a dead mouse by the roadside, He said to those who were with him, “Even from such small beginnings as this dead mouse, an energetic young fellow could build a fortune. If he Worked hard and used his intelligence, he could start a business and support a Wife and family.”

A passer – by [Cullantevasika, The Junior Student] heard the remark. He knew this was a famous adviser to the king, so he decided to follow his words. He picked up the dead mouse by the tail and went off With it. As luck would have it, before he had gone even a block, a shopkeeper stopped him. He said, “My Cat has been pestering me all mming. Ill give you tWo copper coins for that mouse. So it was done.

With the two copper Coins, he bought Sweet cakes, and hihe side of the road with them and some Water. As he expected, some people who picked now ne people who picked flowers for making garlands were returning from Work. Since they were all hungry and thirsty, they agreed to buy su hey agreed to buy Sweet cakes and Water bunch of flowers from each of them. In the man sold the flowers in the city. With sow. garlands were returning from sweet cakes and returned the next for the price of a bunch of flowers evening, the man sold the flower the money he bought more sweet cakes day to sell to the flower pickers.

This went on for a while, until one day there was a terrible storm, with heavy rains and high winds. While walking by the king’s pleasure garden, he saw that many branches had been blown off the trees and were lying all around. So he offered to the king’s gardencr that he would clear it all away for him, if he could keep the branches, The lazy gardener quickly agreed. The man found some children playing in a park across the street. They were glad to collect all the branches and brush at the entrance to the pleasure garden, for the price of just one sweet cake for each child. Along came the king’s potter, who was always on the lookout for firewood for his glazing Oven, When he saw the piles of Wood the children had just collected, he paid the nman a handsome price for it. Eleeven threw into the bargain some This pots.

With his profits froin selling the flowers and the firewood, the man opened up a refreshment shop. One day all the local grass nowers, who Were on their Way into town, stopped in his shop. He gave them free Sweet cakes and drinks, They were surprised at his generosity and asked “What can we do for you ?” le said there was nothing for them to do now, but he Would let then know in the future.

A Week later, he heard that a horse dealer was coming to the city with 500 horses to sell. So he got in touch with the grass mowers and told each of them to give him a bundle of grass, He told then lot to sell any grass to the horse dealer until he had sold his. In this way he got a very good price.
Time passed until one day, in his refreshment shop, some customers told him that a new ship from a foreign country had just anchored in the port. He saw this to be the opportunity he had been waiting for. He thought and thought until he came up with a good business plan.

First, he went to a jeweler friend of his and paid a low price for a very valuable gold ring, with a beautiful red ruby in it. He knew that the foreign ship was from a country that had no rubies of its own, where gold too Was expensive, S0 he gave the wonderful ring to the captain of the ship as an advance on his commission. To earn this commission, the captain agreed to send all his passengers to him as a broker. He Would then lead them to the best shops in the city. In turn, the Inan got the merchants to pay him a commission for sending customers to them.

Acting as a middleman in this Way, after several ships came into port, the man became very rich. Being pleased with his success, he also remembered that it had all started with the words of the king’s wise adviser. So he decided to give him a gift of 100,000 gold coins. This was halfhis entire Wealth. After making the proper arrangements, he met with the king’s adviser and gave him the gift, along with his humble thanks.

The adviser was amazed , and he asked, “How did you earn So much wealth to afford such a generous gift? The man told him it had all started with the adviser’ s own words not so long ago. They had led him to a dead mouse, a hungry cat, sweet cakes, bunches of flowers, stom damaged tree branches , children in the park, the king’s potter, a refreshment shop, grass for 500 horses, a golden ruby ring, good business contacts, and finally a large fortune. Hearing all this, the royal adviser thought to himself, It would not be good to lose the talents of such an energetic man. I too have much Wealth, as well as my beloved only daughter. As this man is single, he deserves to marry her. Then he can inherit my wealth in addition to his own, and my daughter will be well cared for.”

This all came to pass, and after the Wise adviser died, the one who had followed his advice became the richest man in the city. The king appointed him to the adviser’s position. Throughout his remaining life, he generously gave his money for the happiness and well being of many people, The Buddha then said: This man [ Cullantevasika ] became the Venerable Cullapanthaka. And the king’s adviser who had seen the dead mouse [ Cullakasetthi ( Cullasetthi ) ] was I who have become the Buddha.

The moral : “With energy and ability, great rewards come even from small beginnings.”


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