Perfection of Renunciation

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The Bodhisattha is born as Prince Temiraja Kumaara, the son of King Kasiraja and his Queen Chandradevi of Benares. When he is a month old and sitting in his fathers lap, four robbers are brought to the Kings court for trial and the child Prince hears his father sentence them to severe and terrible punishments. Prince Temiraja realizes that his father through being a King is guilty of bringing men into hell and he remembers that he himself, in a previous birth, was a King for twenty years and thereafter suffered eighty thousand years in Hell as retribution for his deeds. He is fearful that he must repeat that experience, however a deva (god) whispers to him that he can escape repeating this cycle by pretending to be a deaf and dumb cripple and thus escape ascending the throne. From that day on he does not move or make a sound.

The King became disturbed by Temiraja’s behavior because he has no other heirs to the throne. Perplexed that there were no visible marks of abnormality, the king’s court decided to put the young prince to the test. He was subjected to flashes of fire, loud noises, stinging insects, snakes, wild elephants and sharp swords. He was deprived of food and water, tempted by fragrant scents and pretty girls, but throughout these tests the Prince remains restrained and composed.

When he is sixteen a fortuneteller predicts that he will bring bad luck, so his father reluctantly orders his death and burial. Queen Chandradevi now claims the wish the King had given her at the birth of the Prince and his life is spared for seven days. Still, he does not speak. At the end of this period he is put in a chariot and taken to the burial ground. But when the charioteer begins to dig the grave, Temiraja gets out of the chariot, his desire for freedom now attained. Having remained motionless for so many years he wishes to test his powers, and picking up the chariot over his head, he swings it with one hand. Prince Temiraja announces to the astonished and frightened charioteer that he will become an ascetic.

The charioteer returns to the palace to tell of this to the King and Queen who come to the burial ground to see for themselves. Prince Temiraja, now revealed as a Bodhisattha, sits in the air and explains the doctrine of renunciation. His parents are converted, give away their property and also become ascetics. An invading King and two neighboring rulers are also converted. They join together in a hermitage, even the animals of the forest are calmed and all are reborn in Heaven.