Epic stories of Gautama Buddha's previous lives
Story of Nemi <Nay Mi>
Adapted and translated from Burmese written by Min Yu Wai.
Long time ago there was a king named Marga Daewa in Maithilar in the kingdom of Widae Harith. The king enjoyed his life by observing religious practices. Therefore, he had decided that when he got old and grey he would turn himself into a monk and wander at non worldly life. He told his barber, who took care of his hair and beard that if any hairs turned grey let him know.
One day the barber saw one single grey hair on the king's head. The barber reported, "Your majesty, I have seen one single grey hair on your head."
Then the king released the kingship and gave the throne to his son. The king summoned his son, "When the hair turns grey, give up secular life as I do." Then the king gave up the throne. He went into monkhood and wandered at non worldly life.
Therefore, the future generations inherited the legacy of ruling the throne and wandering at non worldly life when their hair turned grey.
Since king Marga Daewa, there was an eight hundred and thirty one thousand nine hundred and ninety ninth king who ruled Maithilar. The king had one son, Nay Mi Kumaya. Since childhood, prince Nay Mi gave alms offerings and observed religious commandments.
According to the ancient traditions the king relinquished the throne and wandered at non worldly life when the hair turned grey. Then, the prince Nay Mi inherited the kingship. King Nay Mi ruled the kingdom in compliance with the rules of kings' conducts. In addition, five pavilions for alms offerings were erected, each on four gates of the city and one in the middle. Every day one hundred thousand monetary notes were donated in each pavilion, a total of five hundred thousand notes. Five pillars of commandments were observed. Fastings were done every full moon day and last waning day. The people were encouraged to do good deeds.
Those who followed the king’s teachings were destined to Nat Pyi, angels’ kingdom, when they died. Therefore, angels' population had increased in Nat Pyi, angels’ kingdom. The hell became less populated. One day, king Nay Mi was trying to think but unable to get a clue on the puzzle of "which one is more beneficial, alms offerings or observing commandments?"
Sakka <Tha Kyar Minn>, chief of all Nats angels, descended to earth when he became aware of the king's problem. He became visible to king Nay Mi and said, "Your majesty, observing commandments is more beneficial than those of the alms offerings." Then, Tha Kyar Minn ascended back to Thar Wadeintar Nat Pyi, the angels' kingdom.
When the angels of the Thar Wadeintar Nat Pyi became aware of the episode they wished to meet with king Nay Mi. So they begged Tha Kyar Minn to invite king Nay Mi to the angels' kingdom. Sakka <Thar Kyar Minn> fulfilled the angels' wishes. He commanded Martali Nat angel, "Get king Nay Mi here."
Martali Nat came to fetch king Nay Mi with a one-thousand Theiktaw horses drawn carriage, Waizayandra. The people of Maithilar gazed with surprise on their faces. Martali invited king Nay Mi. The king accepted the invitation with much pleasure because he had never been to Nat Pyi before. He told the people and the members of the palace, "I'll be back soon, do not forget to do good deeds." Then he alighted on the Waizayandra carriage. Martali asked the king, "Your majesty, we have two routes, one passes through the hell and the other one, heaven. Which route would you like to choose?"
The king had not seen heaven or hell, so he wanted to see both, and he replied, "I would like to pass both routes."
At that, Martali steered his carriage in the direction of the hell first. Different kinds of torments were shown in hell. Some of those in hell were trying to swim in a river which was covered with flaming iron spikes and iron vines leading to no escape. Some were being eaten by hell dogs the size of elephants. Some were running on a flaming iron ground with their bodies on fire. Some were being dumped on a big bronze pot with boiling copper. Some were forced to eat flaming ashes. Some were targeted by flaming arrows. Some were having chopped their body parts off. Some were forced to eat feces in a horrible ditch full of feces. Some were forced to drink rotten blood and rotten pus. Some were skewered with flaming iron hooks in their tongues. Some were being tortured, their lower torsos buried under iron ground and their upper torsos rolled over by a flaming road roller. Some were put upside down in a flaming ditch. Others were tortured with yet more techniques.
Those who were suffering in hell had done very bad deeds in their previous lives. Depending on their bad deeds they were tortured with different kinds of torments.
After these different kinds of torments were shown, Martali took king Nay Mi to Nat Pyi, where angels were enjoying their luxurious heavenly wellbeing.
Angels in Nat Pyi were the ones who did very good deeds in their previous lives. Depending on their good deeds they enjoyed different kinds of luxurious wellbeing.
At first king Nay Mi saw Bareni Natami, a femaleangel, who was enjoying the luxurious monument in Nat Pyi. She was living in a monument decorated with rubies, and one thousand angels, Natami, were at her disposal. Then, king Nay Mi saw the monument where Tawnadein Nat, a male angel, was enjoying. Tawnadein Nat was enjoying seven monuments with many femaleangels, Natami. Then king Nemi saw many femaleangels, Natami, in the monuments. These angels were having heavenly beverages and heavenly foods, Nat Tokethar. They were also enjoying heavenly instrumental music. Then there was a monument made of rubies, and many male angels, Nats, were listening to the heavenly instrumental music in it. Next, there was a monument made of crystal. A male angel Nat resided in it with many female angels, Natami. Then there was a monument made of gem. A male angel Nat was enjoying heavenly instrumental music in it. Next, there was a monument made of gold. A male angel Nat was enjoying luxurious heavenly wellbeing.
It took times for Martali and king Nay Mi to look at Nat monuments one after another. In the meantime, Nats angels from Thar Wadeintar Nat Pyi were waiting for them to arrive. Sakka <Tha Kyar Minn> the chief angel sent a messenger, Zawana Nat, to them. Thus King Nay Mi did not waste time anymore, looked around briefly at the rest of the monuments located at four corners, and went straight up to the Thar Wadeintar Nat Pyi.
When they arrived to Thar Wadeintar Nat Pyi, king Nay Mi was being welcomed by the Nats angels from both sides of the carriage. Sakka <Tha Kyar Minn>, the chief angel, received king Nay Mi and offered him a seat on the throne.
Sakka <Thar Kyar Minn> told king Nay Mi, "Your majesty, stay in Thar Wadeintar Nat Pyi and enjoy the luxurious heavenly wellbeing here."
King Nay Mi declined.
He said, "Your highness, the luxurious wellbeing given by somebody resembles a vehicle on loan. It is like using things that are on loan. I do not want it. Only when it is earned with their own good deeds will it become their own property. I only desire my own property. I have to go back to earth and do good deeds myself to earn my own property."
Then, king Nay Mi summoned religious teachings to all Nats angels. The teachings included rules for observing physically, orally and morally in order to get benefit and good deeds which were beneficial physically and morally.
King Nay Mi came back to the earth after spending 7 days in Thar Wadeintar Nat Pyi. Martali gave a lift again with Waizayandra carriage.
When king Nay Mi arrived back, the people of Maithilar assembled happily to greet the king. "What does Nat Pyi looklike, your majesty?" the people asked.
King Nay Mi praised about Sakka <Thar Kyar Minn> and other Nats and their luxurious wellbeing. Then the king summoned, "You all have to do good deeds such as alms offerings and etc. You all will be destined to Nat Pyi."
A few years later, some hairs turned grey on the king's head. Then, the king gave the throne to his son, Kathara Zanaka, and went into monkhood and wandered at non worldly life.
From the beginning of the era of Kathara Zanaka, the legacy of giving up throne and wandering at non worldly life when the hair turned grey was not observed anymore. Then the legacy was eradicated for the future generations.
Epilogue: King Nay Mi was claimed the avatar of Gautama Buddha in one of his previous 547 lives.
Note: Sanskrit names are localized for easy understanding.
I hereby acknowledge the writer Min Yu Wai for his great work. Thank you.