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About A Prince Must Make a Choice

This is a story from the ancient times about choice we make. This was from the times much before the time of Gautam Buddha. This tale, about a young Prince who wants to avenge his parents’ death, is mentioned in the Buddhist text Mahavagga. In this story, King Brahmadatta, the King of Varanasi, conquers the neighboring kingdom of Kosal. Ultimately he puts the King and Queen of Kosal to death. Their son, Prince Dighavu, decides to avenge his parents’ death. Will he succeed in his mission?

You can find a reference to this story in the Mahavagga, an ancient Buddhist text, under the chapter “A Quarrel Among Monks.” Lord Buddha uses this story to show how we should not let anger get the better of us. Mahavagga, like Jataka tales, is an ancient text from Buddhism.

Excerpt from this story

Once long ago, there arose a quarrel between two kings.

One king was the great Brahmadatta. His kingdom was large and rich, and his troops were many. The other king was Dighiti. His kingdom was small and poor, and his troops were few.

Brahmadatta told his generals, “We will march against Dighiti and conquer his kingdom. He will not be able to resist me.”

When Dighiti heard of the army’s advance, he told Deva, his queen, “Nothing we do can prevent Brahmadatta from seizing our country. For the sake of our people, it is best to avoid a battle. Let us flee from the kingdom tonight.”

Deva asked, “Where can we go?”

“We will go to Brahmadatta’s own capital city, Benares. It is large enough to hide in, and he will never search for us there.”

So they took their young son, Dighavu, and fled by night to Benares. There they lodged in a poor quarter of the city. King Dighiti disguised himself as a wandering holy man and each day begged enough coins and food for them all.

Time passed and the prince grew toward manhood. Then King Dighiti told his wife, “Truly is it said, we may forgive those who hurt us, but we never forgive those we hurt. If Brahmadatta finds us here, he will surely kill us all. It is best to send our son from the city.”

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