With the words: "Where the cat alone will get food ..." - Teacher - he then lived in Jetavan - began his story about the mother of Kana. There lived, they say, in Savatthi a certain woman whom everyone called "Mother Kana"; she entered the good Eightfold Path, becoming a student of the noble Theres, but continued to abide in the world. She gave her daughter Kana to marry a young man from a nearby village, equal in race and position to her.
One day, Kana came to her mother for some reason. After she stayed with her mother for several days, her husband sent a man from the village for her with the order: “Let Kana come back immediately. I want her to be here.” After listening to the messenger, Kana said: "Well, you have to go, mother." “You already lingered for several days,” said the mother. “I cannot let you go empty-handed.” And she began to bake a pie. And then a bhikkhu came to her for alms. A woman committed to dhamma sat him down and fed him a freshly baked pie. Bhikkhu told his brother about this. Kana's mother and fed him a freshly baked pie. Next came another bhikkhu, then - on the advice of the third - the fourth, and their mistress fed all the cakes, barely maturing one pie, as the bhikkhu ate it. In the end there was nothing left. So the daughter of the mistress could not leave. The husband sent for her a second time, and a third. With the third messenger, he ordered the transfer: "If Cana does not immediately return, I will introduce another wife into the house." For the reason that was already mentioned, Kana still could not go home, and her husband took another wife. When the word came to Cana, she began to cry.
Learning about her misfortune, Teacher got up early in the morning, dressed, threw a cloak on his shoulders and, picking up a bowl for collecting alms, went to Kana’s mother, Seated in a place of honor, he asked the hostess: “Why is Kana crying?” - and she told him everything. After listening to the mother of Kana, Teacher reassured and encouraged her, and then, having instructed in the Dhamma, got up and went back to the monastery. Soon, the whole monastery community learned that four bhikkhus, one by one, came to Kana's mother and ate pies, because of them, Kana could not leave.
Once, gathering in the assembly hall, the monks interpreted among themselves: “You know, venerable, four monks ate cakes baked by Kana’s mother, so Kana couldn’t leave her husband, and he lost patience and didn’t want to accept her. The misfortune that happened to her daughter "plunged her mother, a wonderful woman, in great sorrow." At that moment, Master entered the hall and asked the monks: "What are you talking about here, brethren?" Finding out what was the matter, he said: “O bhikkhu, not only these four have now eaten Kana’s mother and caused her grief, they have already done the same thing before, causing her to suffer.” And Master told the monks what was in a past life.
"In ancient times, when King Brahmadatta was seated on the Benares' throne, the bodhisattva was born into the family of a stone carver; when he grew up, he himself became a carver, and, moreover, extremely skilled. In one of the cities of the kingdom of Kasi, a very rich merchant who lived in forty cats of gold coins were hidden in a secluded place. The wife of this merchant died. During her life, she loved money excessively, so she was destined to be reborn with a mouse living right above the buried treasure. As time passed, gradually all the family members died, and the merchant himself turned down In the end, the town was deserted, abandoned by all its former inhabitants. At that time, the Bodhisattva settled on the outskirts of this abandoned town. He found suitable stones and worked on them. Mouse that guarded the treasure, every day I went out of the hole in search of food. Having met the bodhisattva all in the same place, she was filled with a warm feeling for him and finally decided: "The enormous wealth that I protect will still be wasted, that if I agree with the carver and start spending whith money? "
Once, a mouse ran out to a bodhisattva with a coin in its mouth. "Why are you, mother, running to me with a coin?" the Bodhisattva asked her affectionately. “Take her, dear,” answered the mouse. “Buy yourself some food, and bring me some meat.” “Good,” the bodhisattva agreed, took the gold coin, carried it home, then bought some meat and gave it to the mouse. The mouse dragged the food into its hole and ate satiety. Since then, it has been the custom, the mouse brought the Bodhisattva one gold coin every day, and he bought food for it.
But then one day the mouse fell into the clutches of a cat. "Do not kill me, master!" she began to beg him. “Don't kill?” The cat grinned. “But I'm hungry and I want meat. No, no, I can't spare you!” “Tell me,” the mouse began to persuade the cat, “what would you prefer? To be satisfied only today or to eat meat daily?” “Of course I would like to eat meat daily,” the cat said. “Well, if so, let me go, and I will give you meat every day,” the mouse promised. “Okay,” said the cat, “just look, don't cheat!” And he let the mouse go free. Since then, all the meat that brought the bodhisatta, the mouse divided into two equal parts, half - gave to the cat, the other - was eaten by herself.
It so happened that the mouse was caught by another cat, but she paid off it at the same price. A little later, she fell into the clutches of a third cat, and he also persuaded him to let her go. Finally, the fourth cat caught her, but his mouse convinced her to free her. Since that time, the mouse was forced to divide its meat into five. She herself got only a fifth, so she began to lose weight and soon completely exhausted, only skin and bones remained from her. Seeing this, the bodhisattva asked the mouse, "Why are you so emaciated, mother?" And the mouse told him everything. "Why have you been silent so far?" - exclaimed the bodhisattva. “Well, never mind, this is a fixable thing.” Having cheered up the mouse, the Bodhisattva brought a large piece of transparent rock crystal, cut a passage in it and said to the mouse: “Get on, mother, into this hole. When any of these four cats comes up, shower him with scolding from the inside and threaten him in every possible way. "The mouse climbed through the hole into a piece of crystal, and just then one of the cats appeared and began to demand meat." Oh, you lousy cat! - began to vilify his mouse. “Why am I a meat supplier?” Go home and eat your kittens! "The cat was furious. Not noticing that she was hiding in a piece of rock crystal, he rushed at her and hit the transparent wall with all his swoop. His eyes were hatched, his heart snapped from a strong beat, with howling the cat rolled to the side and died at the same time. Similarly, the mouse finished off the second cat, and the third, and fourth. They all died in terrible torment. Since that day, the mouse was not afraid of anyone and brought the bodhisattva two, and then three gold coins daily. Over time, she handed over to the bodhisattva all the temples the money that went underground. And for the rest of their lives, two friends lived in mutual love and harmony, and with the expiration of the time allotted by him they passed into another birth in full accordance with the accumulated merits. " And, completing his story about the past, Teacher - he was now All-Awakened - sang this gatha:
Where the cat alone will get food,
There immediately another will appear promptly.
The third and fourth will follow
But remember the demise of their shameful.
After instructing the audience in the dhamma, Master then interpreted the jataka. “At that time,” he said, “the four bhikkhus were cats, the mouse was Kana’s mother, and I myself was a stone carver.”
Translation by B. A. Zakharyin.
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