Jataka 112

Amarādevī-pañha Jātaka

The Wisdom of Queen Amarā

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

This is another “story” that references a section of the Ummagga Jātaka (546). If you want to jump to it, click here.

If you have not read the Ummagga Jātaka, here is the context. The Buddha was born as the sage Mahosadha. At the age of 7 he was adopted by the King as his son. The Queen was so enamored of him that she made him her brother. In this story, Mahosadha is now 16 years old, and the King and Queen decided to find a wife for him.

The way that Mahosadha treats Amarā may seem cruel. But he was looking for someone who was his match intellectually and spiritually. He wants to see if she can behave with the same patience and endurance of a Bodhisatta.

There is a minor technical note to be made. The Pāli Text Society (PTS) dictionary spells “amara” – the word for “immortal” – without the diacritical bar-over on the trailing “a”. But the text in the PTS Jātaka tales spells it “amarā”. I have chosen to leave it as it is in the Jātaka collection.

Cakes and gruel.” This question too will be found in the same (Ummagga) Jātaka. This is the end of the Question of Queen Amarā. (Amarā is a “queen” here because in a later life Mahosadha was a king.)