6 October 2022

#20. Śarabha

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Cave No. 17

Identification: Foucher (1921, narrative no. 14).—

A śarabha or sāmbhara (ibex or a type of antelope) lived in a remote forest. He was chased by a king, who had separated from his retinue. Fearing for his life, the ibex jumped across a wide crevice. The king’s horse abruptly halted, throwing the king off his back into the crevice. The ibex, not hearing the sound of the horse’s hoofs, turned around and saw the injured king. He promised to help him out. After a few exercises which involved carrying a burden of rocks on his back, he descended and came up with the king on his back, and guided him to the horse. The king, filled with remorse and struck by the ibex’s generosity, promised to renounce hunting thenceforth. The king discussed the incident with the royal priest after returning to his palace.—The ibex was none other than the Buddha in a former existence.

—Source: Singh 2019, 31-33; Schlingloff 2013, I, 107

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