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Jaṭila

l. Jaṭila.– A class of ascetics, so called on account of their matted hair (jaṭilā ti tāpasā, to hi jaṭādhāritāya idha jaṭilā ti vuttā) (UdA.74; see also 330). These ascetics are sometimes classed under isi (Cūḷa Nid.149) and also under muṇi (Cūḷa Nid.513).

2. Jaṭila.– A governor of a province (Mahāraṭṭhiya) in the time of Padumuttara Buddha. He was the Bodhisatta. v.l. Jaṭika. J.i.37; Bu.xi.11.

3. Jaṭila (v.l. Jaṭilaka).– A millionaire (seṭṭhi) of Magadha, one of the five treasurers of Bimbisāra (DhA.i.385). His mother was a millionaire’s daughter in Bārāṇasī, who had illicit relations with a sorcerer (vijjādhara), and when the child was born she placed it in a vessel which she handed to her slave, to be floated down the Gaṅgā. Two women, while bathing, saw the vessel, discovered what it contained and each claimed the child. The dispute was settled by the king and the child was given to the woman who happened to be a disciple of Mahā-Kaccāna. The child was called Jaṭila because the first time he was bathed after birth his hair became matted. When able to walk, he was given to Mahā-Kaccāna to be ordained, but the thera took him to Takkasilā and handed him over to one of his supporters, a merchant, who adopted him as his son. Years passed, and one day the merchant, having to go on a journey, made a list of the goods which he had accumulated in his house during twelve years and asked Jaṭila to sell them if he could find buyers. Such was the lad’s fortune that in one day they were all disposed of. The merchant, realising the young man’s destiny, gave him his daughter in marriage and provided him with a house. As Jaṭila stepped into the house, the earth behind it was rent asunder and a mountain of gold, eighty cubits in height, appeared for his use. Thereupon the king made him a Treasurer. Later, wishing to retire from the world, Jaṭila sent out messengers to discover if there were others as rich as he, in case the king should raise objections to his going away. When news was brought back of Meṇḍaka and Jotika, he knew there would be no opposition and obtained the king’s permission. He had three sons, but, having tested them, came to know that only the youngest had the necessary good fortune to enjoy his vast wealth. Jaṭila thereupon handed over to him his wealth and entered the Order, becoming an Arahant within a few days. Some time afterwards the Buddha, with Jaṭila and other monks, was entertained for a fortnight by Jaṭila’s sons, and in answer to the monks’ questions Jaṭila declared that he felt no desire to re-enter household life. The monks found this hard to believe until assured by the Buddha that it was so.

In the time of Kassapa Buddha, Jaṭila was a goldsmith. One day, an Arahant, seeking for gold wherewith to complete the shrine erected over the Buddha’s remains, came to the goldsmith’s house; the latter, having just quarrelled with his wife, was in a surly mood and said to the Arahant, “Throw your teacher into the water and get away.” His wife told him how wicked were his words, and he, realising his fault, asked pardon of the Arahant and made valuable offerings at the Buddha’s shrine, by way of amends. Of his three sons whom he asked, in turn, to help him with the preparations, only the youngest consented to go with him. Therefore it was that in seven successive states Jaṭila was thrown into the water on the day of his birth and only his youngest son could enjoy his wealth (DhA.iv.214 ff; PsA.502 f).

Jaṭila’s possession of a golden mountain is given as an example of the power of merit (puññiddhi), he being one of the five persons of great merit. Vism.383; BuA.24.

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