Home page Up (parent) Next (right) Previous (left) Abbreviations

Page last updated on 8 October, 2020

Association for Insight Meditation Home Page

Kāliṅgabodhi Jātaka (No.479)

The Kāliṅga king of Dantapura had two sons, Mahā Kāliṅga and Cūḷa Kāliṅga. Soothsayers foretold that the younger would be an ascetic, but that his son would be a Cakkavatti. Knowing of this prophecy, Cūḷa Kāliṅga became so arrogant that Mahā Kāliṅga, on coming to the throne, ordered his arrest. However, Cūḷa Kāliṅga fled to Himavā and lived there as an ascetic. Near his hermitage lived the king and queen of Madda who had fled with their daughter from their city of Sāgala. Soothsayers had predicted that the princess’s son would be a Cakkavatti, and all the kings of Jambudīpa sought her hand. Her parents, not wishing to incur the enmity of any of the kings, fled with her from the city. One day a wreath of mango-flowers which the princess dropped into the river was picked up by Cūḷa Kāliṅga, who thereupon went in search of her. With her parents’ consent he married her, and to these two was born a son whom they called Kāliṅga.

When the stars revealed that Mahā Kāliṅga had died, Kāliṅga was sent to Dantapura, to a courtier who had been an ally of Cūḷa Kāliṅga. The prince’s identity having been duly established, he was crowned king, and his chaplain, Kāliṅga-bhāradvāja, taught him the duties of a Cakkavatti. On the fifteenth day after his coronation, the tokens of a Cakkavatti king appeared before him. (For details see J.iv.232). One day while riding through the air with his retinue, he came to the Bodhi-tree under which Buddhas attain Enlightenment, and though he prodded his elephant until it died the animal found it impossible to fly over the spot. The royal chaplain investigated matters and reported his finding to the king who, having learnt from the chaplain of a Buddha’s virtues, paid great honour to the tree for seven days. See also Samaṇakolañña.

Kāliṅga is identified with Ānanda and Kāliṅga-bhāradvāja with the Bodhisatta.

The story was related in reference to the Bodhi-tree planted, at Ānanda’s suggestion, by Anāthapiṇḍika, at the entrance to Jetavana, in order that people might worship it while the Buddha was away on tour. As soon as a seedling was planted from the great Bodhi-tree at Gayā, it grew into a tree fifty cubits high, and the Buddha consecrated it by spending one night under it, wrapt in meditation (J.iv.228‑36).

The Kāliṅgabodhi Jātaka is found also in the Mahābodhivaṃsa (Mbv.62 ff ); there it is given in much greater detail and differs in minor details from the Jātaka version, containing, among other things, a long description of the divine-eye (dibbacakkhu) and the seven gems of a Cakkavatti.