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Jataka 104

Mittavindaka Jātaka

The Curse of Mittavindika

as told by Eric Van Horn

originally translated by Robert Chalmers, B.A., of Oriel College, Oxford University

originally edited by Professor Edward Byles Cowell, Cambridge University


The PTS edition uses the title “Mittavinda,” but I believe that is a mistake. Everywhere else the name is “Mittavindika.”

This story references Jātaka 41. In that story, there is a nobleman who supplies Mittavindika with good food. When another monk shows up, Mittavindika is afraid that if he stays, Mittavindika will no longer be the beneficiary of the nobleman’s generosity. So when the nobleman gives Mittavindika some food to share with the other monk, Mittavindika buries it in the ground rather than give it to him. Because of this wicked act, Mittavindika suffers greatly, including 500 lifetimes as a dog and 500 lifetimes as an ogre!

From four to eight.” This story was told by the Master while at Jetavana. It is about unruly monk. The incidents are the same as those in the previous story of Mittavindika (Jātaka 41), but belong to the days of the Buddha Kassapa (a previous Buddha).


Now at that time one of the damned who had put on the razor wheel (a wheel of razors that clamps onto the head) and was suffering the tortures of hell, asked the Bodhisatta, “Lord, what offense have I committed?” The Bodhisatta detailed the man’s evil deeds to him and uttered this stanza:

From four to eight, then to sixteen, and on

To thirty-two insatiable greed does go,

--Still pressing on until that greed

Does win the razor wheel’s misery.

So saying the Bodhisatta went back to the Realm of Devas, but the other man stayed in hell until his misconduct had run its course. Then he passed away to fare according to his remaining karma.

Figure: The Price of Greed

Figure: The Price of Greed


His lesson ended, the Master identified the birth by saying, “This unruly monk was then Mittavindaka and I was the Deva.”