Guide to Tipitaka


Khuddaka Nikæya

(15) Cariyæ Pi¥aka

This treatise contains thirty-five stories of the Buddha’s previous lives retold at the request of the Venerable Særiputta. Whereas the Jætaka is concerned with the Buddha’s previous existences from the time of Sumedha, the hermit, till he becomes Gotama Buddha, Cariyæ Pi¥aka deals only with thirty-five of the existences of the Bodhisatta in this last world cycle. The Venerable Særiputta’s object in making the request is to bring out into bold relief the indomitable will, the supreme effort, the peerless sacrifice with which the Bodhisatta conducts himself in fulfilment of the ten pæramøs (virtues towards Perfection).

The Bodhisatta has, throughout innumerable ages, fulfilled the ten pæramøs for countless number of times. Cariyæ Pi¥aka records such performances in thirty-five existences, selecting seven out of the ten pæramøs, and recounts how each pæramø is accomplished in each of these existences. Ten stories in the first vagga are concerned with accumulation of virtues in alms-giving, the second vagga has ten stories on the practice of morality and the last vagga mentions fifteen stories, five of them dealing with renunciation, one with firm determination, six with truthfulness, two with loving-kindness and one with equanimity.