Tales From the Jātaka - The Cheating Merchant
Jataka Tale - The Cheating Merchant
Once on a time when Brahmadatta was reigning in Benares, The Bodhisatta was born into a merchant's family and on name-day was named "Wise." When he grew up he entered into partnership with another merchant named "Wisest," and traded with him. So, these two took five hundred wagons of merchandise from Benares to the country-districts, where they unloaded their wares, returning afterwards with the profits to the city.
When it came time to divide their proceeds, Wisest said, "I must have a double share." "Why so?" asked Wise. "Because while you are Wise, I am Wisest; and Wise ought to have only one share to Wisest's two. "But we both had an equal interest in the stock-in-trade and in the oxens and wagons. Why should you have two shares?" "Because I am Wisest." And so they talked away till they fell to quarrelling.
"Ah!" thought Wisest, "I have a plan." He then bade his father to hide in a hollow tree, enjoining the old man to say, when the two came, "Wisest should have a double portion." This arranged, he went to the Bodhisatta and proposed to him to refer the claim for a double share to the competent decision of the Tree-Sprite. Then he made his appeal in these words: "Lord Tree-Sprite, decide our cause!" Hereupon the father, who was hiding in the tree, in a changed voice asked them to state the case.
The cheat addressed the tree as follows: "Lord, here stands Wise, and here stand I Wisest. We have been partners in trade. Declare what share each should receive."
"Wise should receive one share, and Wisest two" was the response.
Hearing this decision, the Bodhisatta resolved to find out whether it was indeed a Tree-Sprite or not. So he filled the hollow trunk with straw and set it on fire. Wisest's father was half roasted by the rising flames and clambered up by clutching hold of a bough. Then falling to the ground he uttered this stanza:
Wise rightly, Wisest wrongly got his name;
Through Wisest, I'm nigh roasted in the flame.
Then the two merchants made an equal division and each took half; and at their death passed away to fare according to their deserts.
"Thus you see," said the Master, "that your partner was as great a cheat in past times as now." Having ended his story, he identified the Birth by saying,"The cheating merchant of today was the cheating merchant in the story, and I the honest merchant named Wise."
Translated by E.B. Cowell
Once on a time when Brahmadatta was
reigning in Benares -- Many Jātaka tales begin this way, though there
is no known king named Brahmadatta
Because Benares is the place where Gautama Buddha preached his first sermon (the "Deer-Park Sermon") and as it is situated on the sacred river Ganges, it is the great holy city of the Hindus
Bodhisatta -- "A being on the path to enlightenment." or a buddha-to-be; more commonly known by the Sanskrit equivalent Bodhisattva. In the Jātaka the term always connotes Gautama Buddha in one of his previous incarnations.
Tree Sprite -- One of the many demigods whose worship was absorbed into early Buddhism from popular cults of tree worship (male and female tree deities are abundantly represented in early Buddhist art).
Read More Articles by DogGodFrogLog
- Cryptofights - a Turn Based Street Fighter (Pc & Mobile)
CryptoFights is a free-to-play 1v1 arena game on Enjin. You start off by customizing a gladiator of your choice for the arena from one of the available races. After some quick training you're thrust into the arena to earn your fame and fortune!
- Enjin - Game Inside the Multiverse
Crafted exclusively for gaming, the Enjin platform allows you to game inside the Multiverse earning free items. The Multiverse is currently made up of 29 games that share items, collectibles, and rewards backed by a cryptocurrency called Enjin.
- War of Crypto - Characters & Lore
War of Crypto is a player-vs-player (PvP) web based and mobile multiplayer game that features unique, evolvable and tradeable heroes. Below see the heroes in War of Crypto. Read their lore and see why the Centrized threaten Crypta!
- How to Reroll in Star Wars Galaxy of Heroes
The guide to get Free Gems, Free Crystals, and Reroll Accounts for free 4 Star, 5 Star, & 6 Star Characters! Star Wars: Galaxy of Heroes: Tips, Tricks, and Cheats to help you get ahead in your favorite game!
- Sutta Pitaka: The Jātaka Tales
Buddhism's unique spiritual leader Gautama Buddha was born 550 times, as a bodhisattvas, each life he lived as a different animal. The Jataka has a story for each one of these lives that the Buddha lived. In every story he takes a different form and