The Perfection of Patience - Kassapamandiya Jataka I



We read in the “Kassapamandiya Jataka”(no. 312):

“At that time while the Buddha was residing in the Jeta Grove

he spoke about an aged monk,

and he gave this explanation of the Dhamma,

with the words beginning with ‘should foolish youths...’ (appikassapamandiya).

 

A young nobleman at Savatthi, tradition says,

saw the danger of sense pleasures

and received ordination at the hands of the Buddha.

Within a short time he attained arahatship.

After that, when his mother had died,

he persuaded his father and younger brother to become monks

and to take residence in the Jeta Grove.

Near the beginning of the rainy season they took their residence in a village

where the requisites were easily obtained,

so that they could observe the rainy season there.

When the rainy season was over they returned to the Jeta Grove.

The youthful monk ordered the novice, his younger brother,

to let the elderly monk first take a rest, and then to take him along quietly.

He himself would go ahead to prepare beforehand the lodgings in the Jeta Grove.

 

The elderly monk walked very slowly

and the novice butted him as it were with his head in order to make him walk on.

Then the elderly monk turned back and started anew from the same point,

and this went on until sunset,

and when they reached the Jeta Grove it was already dark.

The young monk who was the elder brother waited for them until the evening,

he took a torch and went to meet them.

When he asked the reason why they came so slowly,

the elderly monk who was the father told him what had happened.

On that day the young monk could not pay his respects to the Buddha.

 

The next day when that monk went to pay his respects to the Buddha,

the Buddha knew that that monk had arrived on the previous day

but had not come to pay his respects.

Therefore, he blamed the elderly monk

and he said that also in a past life he had acted likewise.”

We may wonder why the elderly monk who was the father had to be blamed, and not the novice who was the younger son. Who should have patience?

We read about a story of the past:


“Formerly, in a past life, the Buddha was the Bodhisatta.

He became an ascetic in the Himalaya country.

The elderly monk at that time was the father of the Bodhisatta.

Their habitual conduct was almost the same as in the present life.

Thus, in the rainy season they left the Himalaya country

and went near the border of a city,

and when the fruits had ripened in the Himalaya country they returned there.

 

At that time the Bodhisatta made the two hermits stow away their requisites,

he gave his father a bath,

washed and anointed his feet and massaged his back.

He set out a pan of charcoal

and when his father had recovered from his fatigue he sat down near him.

He said: ‘Father, young boys are just like earthen vessels,

they are broken in a moment.

Once they are broken it is not possible to mend them.

Young boys may be abusive or censure others,

but old men should bear with them patiently.’ ”

 

In order to admonish his father Kassapa, he said these stanzas:

“Should foolish youth scold, revile or blame,

The wise who have panna should endure

All the wrongs done by young boys...

Even wise men may quarrel,

But quickly they can become closely united again.

But fools part asunder like untempered clay,

They cannot calm down their hate.”

 

Topic 282