Epic stories of Gautama Buddha's previous lives
Story of Thuwanna Tharma
Adapted and translated
from Burmese written by Min Yu Wai.
upon a time, there was a fishing village near the city of Bhayarnarthi. In that village there lived a wedded couple, Dukula and Parigha. Their parents were fishermen. However, they did not live
they lived together they did not have a sexual relationship as husband and
wife. They practiced celibacy, Bhyamarsarigya.
One day, they asked permission from their parents to be hermits and then they left the village.
When Dukula and Parigha reached Himawonda forest,
they made themselves hermits in the hermitage near the river, Migathammadhar. They practiced
meditation, metta. Due to the divine power
of their meditation, animals in the vicinity were free from conflict among one
another and instead united.
were living in the forest, Parigha
fetched water for consumption, and swept, then she accompanied Dukula to search for fruits. After they had
come back to the hermitage, they ate the fruits and practiced religious
such a way of life a son was born even though they lived celibacy. The son was
not a result of the relationship of the husband and wife. From advice given by Thar Kyar Minn, Parigha was conceived by
the touch of Dukula on her
bellybutton. Due to his shining golden skin, the son was called Thuwanna Tharma. He was also known as Thuwanna Shyan.
When Parigha was out in search for fruits, Female Keinneryi, mythical fairies, babysat Thuwanna Tharma. Both parents looked after Thuwanna Tharma, feeding him fruits, until he reached sixteen years
day, Dukula and Parigha were on their way back to the hermitage. Just before they
got the hermitage, it started raining cats and dogs. Therefore, they went under
a tree and stood on an anthill to avoid the rain. At that instance, drops of
water mixed with sweat from their body fell into the hole of the anthill. In
the hole there was a cobra that spat out poison so Dukula and Parigha's eyes
were affected and they went blind.
Thuwanna Tharma was worried when his parents did not get back home as they were
supposed to. He started looking for them on the way they normally went. He
found them having trouble with their vision under the tree.
When Dukula and Parigha heard their son's voice, they shouted "Loving son, do
not come here, it is dangerous." Thuwanna
Tharma fetched a long vine branch and threw it to the parents and pulled
them out away from the anthill. Then, he brought them back to the hermitage.
Thuwanna Tharma lamented when he found out that his parents had gone blind. But he
soothed himself because he had a chance to look after his parents. Since then, Thuwanna Tharma had been looking after his
parents by giving them bodily massages and feeding them fruits.
Thuwanna Tharma got up from bed very early every day. He paid homage to his parents
and went to the river, Migathammadhar. He
fetched water for consumption. He gave his parents water for facial wash and
brush for their teeth. He let them wash face. He fed them fruits. He ate after
his parents finished eating.
he paid homage to his parents and went out in search of fruits with his company
of deer. Keinneryis, mythical fairies,
helped Thuwanna Tharma find fruits as
evening, Thuwanna Tharma came back to
the hermitage from picking fruits. In the hermitage he boiled water. He bathed
his parents with warm water. Then, he made a fire to let them warm. He fed them
with the fruits. He ate after they finished eating. These were the daily
that time, Pithiyetkha Mingyi, a King
of Bhayarnarthi, entered the Himawonda forest, as he was very fond of
deer meat. While he was hunting deer, he approached the river, Migathammadhar.
saw the footprints of deer on the bank of the river where Thuwanna Tharma normally fetched water. Then, the King hid himself
so he would be able to shoot the deer.
long after, Thuwanna Tharma came to
the bank to fetch water. He was surrounded by the deer. When the King saw Thuwanna Tharma, due to unusual
circumstances, the King did not realize that Thuwanna Tharma was a human being. Therefore, the King decided to
catch him but was afraid that Thuwanna
Tharma would run away as he approached. So, he shot him with a poisonous
arrow with the intent that Thuwanna
Tharma would not be able to run away.
arrow entered from the left rib and protruded through the right rib of Thuwanna Tharma. The deer ran away because
they were afraid of the sound of the arrow. Even though the arrow struck him, Thuwanna Tharma did not let go of the
water pot. With extreme caution, he slowly put down the water pot. Then, he lay
down on the sand of the bank facing the direction of his parents.
Thuwanna Tharma vomited blood because of the poisonous arrow. However, he remained
conscious and said, "I do not have any enemy here, neither do my parents.
Who has shot me with the arrow?" Then he continued, "My flesh is not
edible. My skin is not usable. Even so, why have I been shot like an
King Pithiyetkha Mingyi was amazed when he
heard him. "Even though I shot him with an arrow, this person does not
swear, but says lovely words." He approached.
introduced himself as Pithiyetkha Mingyi and
asked Thuwanna Tharma.
are you? Whose son are you? What is your background?"
am Thuwanna Tharma. My parents are Dukula and Parigha. My background is fisherman. Now, I am going to die
because of the arrow with which you shot me. Why did you shoot me with the
deer I was going to shoot ran away because they were afraid when they saw you.
Therefore, I was angry and shot you."
this forest, no such animal is ever afraid of me or run away when they see me.
Deer are friendlier with me and they are never afraid of me. Why do you say
that deer were afraid of me and ran away when they saw me?"
admitted that he had lied. After his admission, he enquired Thuwanna Tharma. Thuwanna Tharma also
told him that he was looking after his blind parents. Thuwanna Tharma did not care for his injury but instead worried for
majesty, my parents have fruit rations left for only six days. No water for
them to drink. Without water they will die," he lamented.
was regretful, "Wow, this is a good man. He is looking after both his
parents. Even though he is suffering from a poisonous arrow, he is worried
about his parents. I have committed a sinful act against a man who has so many
the King decided not to go back to the palace but to look after the parents of Thuwanna Tharma on his behalf.
said, "You, Thuwanna Tharma, tell
me the location of your parents. I will look after them the way you do."
Thuwanna Tharma was very happy with that. He immediately disclosed the location of
his parents to the King. For a while he lost consciousness because of the
King examined Thuwanna Tharma and lamented,
"Thuwanna Tharma has died."
Then the King went to the hermitage where Dukula
and Parigha resided. He told all
about the incident to Dukula and Parigha. He also disclosed the reason
why he was here.
you hermits, from now on I will serve you as my parents."
majesty, you do not need to serve us. Please lead us to where Thuwanna Tharma is. We would like to cry
while banging our chest and touching our son's face. We would like to die after
King tried to console them but was unsuccessful. At last, the King had no
option but to guide them by pulling their hands to Thuwanna Tharma. When they reached their son, Dukula lifted and hugged the head of Thuwanna Tharma. Parigha put
the leg of Thuwanna Tharma on her lap.
While Parigha was touching her son's chest and
crying, she realized that her son had not died yet. "Oh, my son has not
died yet. He has just passed out because
of the poison." In order to get the effect of the poison overcome, she did
incantations, magical spells:
1. "My son Thuwanna Tharma
always practices good deeds. For this solemn oath let the effect of the poison be
2. "My son Thuwanna Tharma
always behaves with good attitude. For this solemn oath let the effect of the
poison be overcome."
3. "My son Thuwanna Tharma
always speaks the truth. For this solemn oath let the effect of the poison be overcome."
4. "My son Thuwanna Tharma
looks after his parents. For this solemn oath let the effect of the poison be overcome."
5. "My son Thuwanna Tharma
pays respect to the elders. For this solemn oath let the effect of the poison be
6. "I love my son Thuwanna
Tharma much more than my own life. For this solemn oath let the effect of
the poison be overcome."
7. "For all the good deeds Dukula
and I have done let the effect of the poison be overcome."
After Parigha had recited the solemn oaths, Thuwanna Tharma started to move from
stillness. He rolled over. Dukula was
so excited with confidence. Parigha
recited the seven incantations again. Then, Thuwanna
Tharma rolled over to the other side.
that instance, Bahuthudari Natami, who
had been a mother to Thuwanna Tharma in
a previous life, was near around. Natami had
sympathy on Thuwanna Tharma and also
have resided at Ganthamardana Mountain
for many years. During my stay, there is no one else that I love much more than
I love Thuwanna Tharma. For this solemn
oath let the effect of the poison be overcome."
tree in this Ganthamardana smells
pleasant. There is no tree that doesn't smell unpleasant. For this solemn oath
let the effect of the poison be overcome."
the incantation, the effect of the poison overcame and Thuwanna Tharma moved to a sitting position. The wound was healed
immediately. At the same time, due to the power of incantation, Dukula and Parigha regained vision. When they saw Thuwanna Tharma alive;
regain our vision. Thuwanna Tharma is
alive as well." They overwhelmed.
King Pithiyetkha Mingyi could not believe
what he experienced. The King asked, "Thuwanna
Tharma, why did you come back to live?"
Thuwanna Tharma said, "Your majesty, the one who look after his parent is treated
by the Nat."
King put his two hands together to kowtow and apologized, "You, Thuwanna Tharma, I pay homage to
Thuwanna Tharma disciplined the King to look after the parents in accordance with
the obligations, to govern the nation in accordance with the ten royal codes
and to observe five precepts.
King accepted the directives from Thuwanna
Tharma and left for the palace. Thuwanna
Tharma kept looking after his parents for the rest of his life. When he
died, he reached Byamar Pyi.
King Pithiyetkha Mingyi did good deeds for
the rest of his life and when he died, he reached Nat Pyi.
Epilogue:Thuwanna Tharma was claimed
the avatar of Gautama Buddha in one of his previous 547 lives.
Sanskrit names are localized for easy understanding.
hereby acknowledge the writer Min Yu Wai for his great work. Thank you.