[INDOLOGY] Sambulā-Jātaka

Dan Lusthaus prajnapti at gmail.com
Sun Mar 22 13:18:05 EDT 2020

While not directly concerned with this jātaka, you might find this essay by Anālayo informative, esp. fn. 4.


The trend seems to be, according to those sources, a domestication of Sakka from the fearsome Indra, slayer of the dragon Vṛtra in the Ṛg Veda, to a docile devotee of the Buddha. However, Buddhaghosa identified Sakka with Vajrapāṇi, the fearsome protector of the Dharma, who pummels those who threaten or bad-mouth the Dharma. So apparently even as late as Buddhaghosa’s day (ca. 5th c CE), the ’terrible’ form of Indra was still resonant with how Buddhists viewed Sakka/Śakra.


> On Mar 22, 2020, at 12:14 PM, Rolf Heinrich Koch via INDOLOGY <indology at list.indology.info> wrote:
> Dear Listmembers,
> the Sambulā-Jātaka (519) is illustrated at a monastery Sri Lanka. Sambulā takes care of her leprosy husband Sotthisena in the forest. A demon falls in love and tries to catch her but Śakra rescues her.  The corresponding mural depicts Śakra as a terrible being holding a club in his hands. The Pali Jātaka provides no description of a disguised Śakra but in the Sinhalese Sambulā-Jātaka we can read, that Śakra saves Sambulā in the disguise of a terrible being (...Sakdevraja bhayānaka vēṣayak geṇa ...). I suppose this is recorded in a source of the Mūlasarvāstivāda-Vinaya tradition, written in Sanskrit or Tibetan. 
> Anyone of you came across a similar version of this story, where Śakra saves Sambulā in a terrible disguise?
> Thank you
> Heiner
> Rolf Heinrich Koch
> -- 
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