Himalayan Art Resources

Item: Shakyamuni Buddha - Jataka (previous lives)

ཤཱཀྱ་ཐུབ་པ། 释迦牟尼佛
(item no. 50219)
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.

#29 The Visitor from Brahma

A Tale of Celestial Guidance

From lifetimes of diligent meditation and innumerable good deeds, the bodhisattva was born as a god from the celestial realm of Brahma, the region of heavenly delights. Yet even in this blissful realm, due to his infinite compassion, the sweet joy of the heavens did not turn him away from his desire to benefit others.

One day while gazing on the human realm he saw a king named Angadinna who had wrong views of the world. This king did not believe that there were any other realms or an afterlife and therefore had become lost in desire, greed, and sensual pleasure. The Bodhisattva manifested floating in the air before him in his celestial form. The shocked and fearful king asked the bodhisattva where he had learned his supernatural powers and the bodhisattva responded that the only way to attain such ability is by living numerous lifetimes devoted to meditation, moral conduct, and restraint of the senses. The king sighed and stated that he did not believe in other realms and then mocked the Bodhisattva, saying that he should lend him five hundred gold pieces and that he would pay him back in the next realm. The Bodhisattva continued to reason with the man and began to explain the various hells where eicked people are reborn. Angadinna was convinced and he bowed to the Bodhisattva, pledging to practice the Dharma for the remainder of his days.

Monty McKeever 9-2005

Key events in the Story

1. A king doesn't believe in an afterlife.

2. A god shows him the error of his ways.

3. The king changes his mind.

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