Cave No. 17
Identification: Schlingloff (1986, p. 305–308).—
A king, titled Sarvadada (Giving Everything) for his generosity, once went to his audience hall to address his subjects’ welfare. Just then a scared pigeon flew in pleading for life. The king promised to grant him security. The pigeon had escaped a bird-catcher, who was actually Lord Indra in disguise. The bird-catcher asked the king for his rightful catch, since his family would starve without the pigeon’s meat. To do justice to both the hunter and the pigeon, the king decided to give his own flesh as compensation. He had a balance brought in and cut flesh from his thigh which was equal to the pigeon’s body weight. The pigeon, however, kept getting heavier and the king too kept adding his flesh, till finally he himself stepped on the balance. Questioned by Indra, the king made a truth spell. He said he did not sacrifice for his own good but for the good of all beings. By the power of this spell, the king was restored to his previous health.—King Sarvadada was none other than the Buddha in a former existence.