This story is so darling to me. If I were an ascetic/hermit, I would love to build my hermitage under the big mango trees and surrounded with jambu trees, breadfruit trees, rambutan trees and durian trees. Then I would be the happiest hermit/ascetic in the whole wide world!
breadfruit: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NKShySR87ro" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
jambu http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m_NJTGMbBVM" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
Amba Jataka: The Fruits Of Kindness [jatakakatha.org]
Once on a time when Brahmadatta was reigning in Benares, the Bodhisatta was born a Brahmin in the North, and, growing up, gave up the world and dwelt at the head of five hundred hermits at the foot of the mountains.
In those days there came a great drought upon the Himalaya country, and everywhere the water was dried up, and sore distress fell upon all beasts. Seeing the poor creatures suffering from thirst, one of the hermits cut down a tree which he hollowed into a trough; and this trough he filled with all the water he could find. In this way he gave the animals to drink. And they came in herds and drank and drank till the hermit had no time left to go and gather fruits for himself. Heedless of his own hunger, he worked away to quench the animals' thirst. Thought they to themselves, "So wrapt up is this hermit in ministering to our wants that he leaves himself no time to go in quest of fruits. He must be very hungry. Let us agree that everyone of us who comes here to drink must bring such fruits as he can to the hermit." This they agreed to do, every animal that came bringing mangos or jambus or bread fruits or the like, till their offerings would have filled two hundred and fifty wagons; and there was food for the whole five hundred hermits with abundance to spare. Seeing this, the Bodhisatta exclaimed, "Thus has one man's goodness been the means of supplying with food all these hermits. Truly, we should always be stedfast in right doing." So saying, he uttered this stanza:-
Toil on, my brother; still in hope stand fast;
Nor let thy courage flag and tire;
Forget not him, who by his grievous fast
Reaped fruits beyond his heart's desire.
Such was the teaching of the Great Being to the band of hermits.
Love Buddha's dhamma,
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