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Sīhacamma Jataka


Image Source: Wikimedia

Once upon a time, when Brahmadatta was reigning in Benares, the Bodhisattva was born in a farmer’s family, and when he grew up he got a livelihood by tillage.

At the same time there was a Merchant who used to go about hawking goods, which a donkey carried for him. Wherever he went, he used to take his bundle off the donkey, and throw a lion-skin over him, and then turn him loose in the rice and barley fields. When the watchmen saw this creature, they imagined him to be a lion, and so dared not come near him.

One day this hawker stopped at a certain village, and while he was getting his own breakfast cooked, he turned the donkey loose in a barley field with the lion-skin on. The watchmen thought it was a lion, and dared not come near, but fled home and gave the alarm. All the villagers armed themselves, and hurried to the field, shouting and blowing on conchs and beating drums. The donkey was frightened out of his wits, and gave a hee-haw! Then the Bodhisattva, seeing that it was a donkey, said:

“Nor lion not tiger I see,
Not even a leopard is he:
But a donkey–the miserable old one!
With a lion-skin over his back!”

As soon as the villagers learnt that it was only a donkey, they beat it with sticks till they broke his bones, and then went off with the lion-skin. When the Merchant appeared, and found that his donkey had come to grief, said:-

“The donkey, if he had been wise,
Might long the green barley have eaten;
A lion-skin was his disguise:
But he gave a hee-haw, and got beaten!”

As he was in the act of uttering these words, the donkey expired. The Merchant left him, and went his way.


Read Other Jatakas

Apannaka Jataka – Two merchants from the same city travel with caravans across a desert. One, beguiled by yakshas, throws away his drinking water in the desert and is devoured with all his people and cattle; will the other complete his journey?… Read Now

Chaddanta JatakaThe previous life of Buddha when he was born as a six tusked elephant… Read Now

Mahajanaka Jataka – In this life, Buddha was born as prince Mahajanaka who was born outside the luxuries of the royalty. When he finally became the king, he realized what actually matters… Read Now

Mahakapi Jataka – This story deals with a previous life of Buddha in which he was a king of monkeys and it also known as ‘The Great Monkey King’… Read Now

Romaka Jataka – The Bodhisattva was born as the king of pigeons. A man pretending to be an ascetic wants to eat the pigeons and it is the king’s responsibility to protect them… Read Now

Sibi Jataka – The Jataka deals with the life of king Sibi who was ready to give up his life to be able to save the life of a pigeon because it came asking for shelter… Read Now

Vannupatha Jataka – Travelling across a desert, a caravan through mistake throws away its water. In their despair the leader has a well dug, till far down water is found, and perseverance saves the caravan from death… Read Now

Vessantara Jataka -The story of the charitable king Vessantara who gives up more than just his kingdom to keep his people happy… Read Now

Vidhura Pandita Jataka The story of Vidhura and how he ends up giving a happy ending to not one, but all characters in the story… Read Now


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