25 May 2022

#76. Nāgakumāra

2 min read

Cave No. 1

Identification: Schlingloff (1977b, p. 913–917)In a previous age when a Buddha named Kāśyapa was living, a nāga (serpent) prince died in the claws of a garuḍa (eagle). Before his death, he saw some monks meditating in the hills and wished to become a monk in his next life. He was reborn as a human and achieved sainthood. As he meditated, he had a vision of his previous life’s parents, who were still grieving over his demise. He flew to them with superhuman powers and revealed his identity. His parents offered him a delightful meal and he promised to visit them daily for meals. His attendant observed his absence during the meal time, so one day he followed him. The parents offered a scrumptious feast to their former son but only an ordinary meal to the novice. The novice flew into a rage at such abject discrimination and uttered a vow to be reborn as a nāga and even to dislodge the present nāga king. As soon as he uttered this evil vow, water, the vital element of the nāgas started dripping from his finger.—The Nāgakumāra was none other than the Buddha in a former existence.

—Source: Singh 2019, 31-33; Schlingloff 2013, I, 433

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