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Story of a Tortoise
The Illustrated Jataka & Other Stories of the Buddha by C.B. Varma
|031 - The Story of a Tortoise|
there lived a potter in a village on the outskirt of Varanasi. He had a
small family. Close to his village was a pond, where dwelt fishes and
tortoises. The pond was somewhatan extension of the river Ganga. So, the
creatures of the pond could easily come and go to the river. As these
creatures could intuit whether or not a season would be rainy or dry, they
had known that the following summer would hardly have enough rain. So,
they all moved out of the pond and entered the river for the future
the same pond, there lived a tortoise, which did not leave the pond
despite the imminent danger, as it had strong attachment with his abode.
and by, in the summer the water dried away. So he dug a hole and lay
day, the potter and his friends came to the pond with spades to dig and
collect clay for potteries. Incidentally, they started digging the same
ground, where the tortoise had buried itself. Unknowingly, the potter hit
its shell and pulled it out as if it was a large lump of clay. The dying
tortoise then realised his infatuation and recited,
But his realisation
was too late, as he then died.
The potter then brought
the carcass of the tortoise and exhibited it before his fellow villagers.
Then narrating the whole story he said that the tortoise met his end
because of his attachment. As he was too fond of his home he died. Then he
advocated that the people, too, suffer because of attachment, such as
“I have sight; I have
hearing; I have smell; I have taste; I have touch; I have a son; ; I have
a daughter; ; I have servants; I have possessions; ; I have gold; ; I have
house and so on … . Thus, we cling to it. As every worldly phenomenon is
transitory and subject to decay-and-death; nothing can be kept for ever.
Further, when the object to which we are attached slips away from our
clinging. And the sudden realisation of the loss then makes us suffer.”
discourse was well received by the audience, and as per the story he was
remembered by the people for seven thousand years.
potter is identified with the Bodhisatta; and Ananda with the turtle).
Kacchapa Jataka Jataka Pali No.
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