Himalayan Art Resources

Item: Shakyamuni Buddha - Shakyamuni

ཤཱཀྱ་ཐུབ་པ། 释迦牟尼佛
(item no. 50203)
Origin Location Mongolia
Date Range 1800 - 1899
Lineages Gelug
Material Ground Mineral Pigment on Cotton
Collection Zanabazar Museum of Fine Arts
Notes about the Central Figure

Classification: Person

Appearance: Buddha

Gender: Male

Interpretation / Description

Shakyamuni Buddha, Previous Life Stories (Sanskrit: jataka. Tibetan: kye rab): from the famous Indian text presenting 34 morality tales drawn from the previous life stories of the historical buddha, Shakyamuni.

#13 She Who Drives Men Mad

A Tale of Constancy

Born again as the king of the Shibi, the Bodhisattva ruled his subjects effectively, always keeping in mind the virtues of compassion, generosity, and righteousness.

One of the principal townsmen in the capitol city had a daughter of unmatched beauty. She was so exquisite that when men would see her, they would become entranced and infatuated, filled with desire to the point of insanity. Because of this, she became known as "She who drives men mad".

The father wasted no time in telling the king of his daughter. The Bodhisattva king sent a group of Brahmans who were well versed concerning the auspicious marks of women to go and determine if she would make a suitable wife. The Brahmans arrived at the home to be served dinner and immediately lost all control and became obsessed with the young maiden themselves. Upon leaving, they decided that such a woman was not fit for the king, for she was too beautiful for someone as pure as the king, and that her beauty would only cause him to be lost in desire. They returned to the palace and told the king that she indeed was beautiful, but was marked with inauspicious signs and naturally, the king decided not to take her as his wife.

Some time later, the king was on a tour throughout his kingdom and saw the woman. He was struck by her beauty and immediately fell in love. Upon inquiring who she was, he learned that it was the woman he had refused and that she had now been married to one of the king's own high officials, a man named Abhiparaga.

Abhiparaga noticed that his king seemed sad and when he discovered the source of his sorrows, he immediately offered the king his wife. After much debate, the Bodhisattva convinced Abhiparaga to retract the offer. He stated that even though he was in love, he could not carry out such a wicked action as taking one spouse away from another. He explained that the virtuous, even when sick with sorrow, can never stray from the path of right action.

Monty McKeever 9-2005

Key Events in the Story

1. The Bodhisattva is King of the Shibi.

2. He falls in love with a married woman.

3. He maintains his virtue.

View other items in the Thematic Set: Collection of Zanabazar: Jataka Stories