Ja 16 The Story about the Deer having Three Postures

This story is related to the previous one, but its opposite: in the present the Buddha’s son Rāhula is so keen to keep the rules he even sleeps in the outhouse at night. The Buddha explains that he was also conscientious in the past, and that was what saved his life (full story).

1. Migaṁ tipallattham-anekamāyaṁ,
Aṭṭhakkhuraṁ, aḍḍharattāpapāyiṁ,
Ekena sotena chamāssasanto,
Chahi kalāhitibhoti bhāgineyyo ti.

The deer in three postures, with many tricks, using eight hoofs, and drinking at midnight, breathing through just one nostril on the ground, my nephew beats the hunter in six ways.

In this connection, deer means the nephew deer.

Three postures, posture is said meaning lying down on both sides, and because of lying straight down, his posture was in these three ways. Or, three postures was his, means three postures, this is three postures.

With many tricks means a lot of tricks, it is a term for many.

Eight hoofs, because there are two hoofs on each individual foot he is endowed with eight hoofs.

Drinking at midnight, the earlier watch having passed, he came from the wilderness in the middle watch to drink water at midnight, he drinks water, so drinking at midnight is said. He drank at midnight is the meaning. I thoroughly taught my nephew deer the way of the deer.

How? Since breathing through just one nostril on the ground, my nephew beats the hunter in six ways.

This is what is said: Surely I made your son learn, just as through blocking the air in the passageway of the nostril on the top side, while stuck on the ground, he was breathing through the lower passageway while lying right there on the ground, so he deceived the hunter in six ways, deceitfully covering himself with these six components is the meaning.

With which six? Straightening out his four legs he lay on one side, by digging the grass and mud with his paws, by sticking out his tongue, by making the stomach appear bloated, by eliminating excrement and urine, and by blocking the air.

Another method: By having taken the mud with one foot, by dragging along the floor, by turning away, by moving on both sides, by placing the stomach upwards, by throwing down below.

With these six ways he deceived the hunter, deceiving him into the perception that: ‘This one is dead’. Thus he taught him the way of the deer, this is the explanation.

Another method: similarly he taught him, while breathing on the ground through one passageway in six ways, through demonstrating these two ways, with six deeds he will trick, beat the hunter. He deceives the hunter, this is the meaning.

Madam means he calls his sister. This is indeed strange. The word is atibhoti, he beats, or he deceives. For some unknown reason the commentator here extracts a part of the word, and comments on it.

Nephew, he indicates the nephew deceiving the hunter with these six deeds. Thus the Bodhisatta reassures his sister by showing how he has taught the way of the deer thoroughly to his nephew.