The Perfection of Renunciation - Susima Jataka II

We read in the Commentary to the “Susima Jataka”:

“This thought occurred to the Bodhisatta during a past life

when King Brahmadatta was reigning in Varanasi.

The Bodhisatta was at that time the son of the King’s priest

and his name was young Susima.

The King’s son was named young Brahmadatta.

The two boys grew up together and learnt all sciences at Takkasíla,

and when they had accomplished their studies they came home again.

Young Brahmadatta became viceroy,

and at his father’s death he became King

and made young Susíma his advisor and priest.


One day the King went around the city in procession seated on the shoulder
of an elephant

while he made the priest sit on the back of the elephant.

The queen-mother, when she stood and looked out from the royal window,

saw the priest sitting behind the King.

She fell in love with him and did not want to eat anymore.

The King went to see her and asked what ailed her,

but the queen mother did not want to tell him because she was ashamed.

Thereupon the King sent his chief queen,

and the queen-mother spoke about what had happened.

The King entreated the priest to become King

and he made the queen-mother his chief queen

while he himself became the viceroy.


From then on the Bodhisatta was disenchanted with the household life.

The queen spoke to him in many ways and used several tricks with him

so that he would enjoy his reign,

but the Bodhisatta taught Dhamma,

he showed the delight and the misery of the sense pleasures,

and he returned the kingdom to the viceroy.

He became an ascetic sage

and cultivated the attainments of jhana and the supernatural powers,

so that he became destined for the Brahma world.”

  At the end of this Jataka the Buddha explained that the chief queen was Rahula’s mother, the king was Ånanda and king Susima was the Buddha himself.
In relating his past lives, the Buddha explained that nobody can know the force of lobha, nor in what way it will arise in each life. Renunciation from sense pleasures is most difficult, and going forth from the household life to become a monk is even more difficult, because the monk should carefully consider and observe the rules of the Vinaya. But anyway, if one wishes to give up sense pleasures, clinging to the sense objects, it is necessary to renounce them by the development of panna. One should know the characteristics of realities as not a being, not a person, not self. There may be attachment, aversion, seeing, hearing, jealousy, conceit or thinking of the importance of self, all these phenomena are realities that we refer to as different cittas and cetasikas, as different conditions, as realities that through their arising condition one another. All this is complex and deep in meaning. Panna should be able to penetrate the true nature of dhammas at this very moment and realize them as not a being and not self. 

Topic 279