The Perfection of Wisdom - Dasannaka Jataka II

We read that the wise Pukkusa said:

“ ‘All other things are easy to do, King Magadha, I have answered you.’

The King, when he had heard this, considered,

‘I first said, I will give the queen to the priest’s son,

and then I did according to my word and gave her;

surely I have done a difficult thing.’ So his sorrow became lighter.”

  We see that the King could give up attachment. He could take action in  accordance with the words he had spoken. This is harder to do than swallowing a sword of thirtythree inches long. We read: 

“Then it came to his mind: ‘There is no one wiser than wise Senaka,

I will ask this question of him.’ ” 

Senaka would be in his last life the Sammasambuddha, the Exalted One. We read that the King asked wise Senaka:

“What is harder to do than giving something away?”

One may say that one will give and then do so according to his words. The King wanted to know whether there was something harder than that. We read:

“Wise Senaka, when he answered the King’s question,

spoke the sixth stanza:

‘If a man should give a gift, whether small or great, in charity,

Nor regret the giving afterwards, nor sorrow about it.

Not having regret is harder than swallowing a sword.

It is harder than saying that one will give,

It is harder than giving what is dear to one,

All other things are easier to do than this.

King Magadha, I have answered you.’


When the King had heard the words of the Bodhisatta, he reflected,

‘When I gave the queen to the priest’s son I had sorrow about this,

and this is not proper.

If the queen loved me she would not forsake her kingdom and flee away.

But since she acted like this, of what use is it to have sorrow about her?’

When the King reflected in this way all his sorrow disappeared

as a drop of water falling off from a lotus leaf.

At that moment he was cured of his sickness and became well and happy.


He praised the Bodhisatta and spoke the last stanza:

‘Wise Åyura and wise Pukkusa answered my questions.

The answer of wise Senaka solved my problems completely,

saying, when one gives something,

one should not regret it afterwards.’

The King who was delighted praised him

and gave him an abundance of gifts.”


When the Buddha gave this Dhamma discourse, he explained the true Dhamma

and finally told the story of this Jataka to a monk who wanted to leave the Order

because he was tempted by his former wife. In a former life he was the King, and

now he attained the first stage of enlightenment, the stage of the sotapanna. The

Buddha said that Maha-Moggallana was wise Åyura and Sariputta wise Pukkusa,

and that he, the Tathagata, was wise Senaka.

  We can see that it is important not to have regret after we have given something away. When we have regret, it is evident that we cling and that we have attachment to the object we give away, but this object is only something outside us. In reality there is not anybody who can possess it or who can be the owner all the time. We should be mindful of the “momentary death” of realities. When we have seen an object just for an extremely short moment, attachment to it arises, but seeing falls away immediately and then visible object does not appear any more. We cannot own visible object.

Panna and all kinds of kusala must have sufficient strength so that one is able to further develop and accumulate them time and again, for an endlessly long time, from life to life. Panna has to be developed so that we know the nature of our citta, and understand what is beneficial and what not, when there is kusala citta and when there is akusala citta. We may have regret after we have given something away, because of our clinging. However, when satipatthana arises, we can notice that we cling to the nama and rupa that appear, and that we do not want to let go of them, that we do not want to give up the idea of self, being or person. The stages of insight are of many degrees, its development is a gradual process, because it is so difficult to give up nama and rupa.


Topic 280