10 Apr 2020 Bodhi Adventures
At one time there was a king called Brahmadatta in the city of Varanasi. In the same country there was a great wealthy merchant called Priyasena. In spite of his marriage he had no heir, so he performed the Uposadha Vrata of Avalokitesvara. After some time a Devaputra entered his wife’s womb from heaven. After ten months, a baby boy was born to him endowed with all the auspicious marks. He was later named Supriya amidst a celebration. As the boy grew up, he became skilled in the art of examination of horses, elephants and also well-learned in grammar and writing systems. He became successful in business and donated money to poor and disabled persons. Later he was named Supriya Sarthavaha. After the death of his father, Supriya continued to follow his father’s profession.
At one time he realized that his resources were decreasing due to his generosity to the poor and disabled. Since the poor people who come to him were many, and funds were dwindling, he decided to journey to a treasure island with five hundred of his business partners. While he was returning from his successful jewel-trading business trip, he came across a band of a thousand robbers. These robbers obstructed his way, saying: “O Supriya! Since we know nothing of skills and business, we are accustomed to looting jewel traders. We will steal all the jewels from your friends, but not you.” Supriya responded that he would pay out the total value possessed by his friends, so they should be spared. The robbers agreed. In this way he came across the brigands seven times, but even then he could not satisfy them. So he worried about how he could help the people of Varanasi if he could not satisfy even these thousand people.
While he was sleeping, he dreamt of a god from celestial realm who told Supriya: “O Supriya, you do not worry, your aspiration can be accomplished. For this you have to visit Badara Island, where you can find wish-fulfilling jewels. If you are successful in visiting this island, your mission can be accomplished. But this mission is difficult even for Indra, king of the gods.” Supriya then asked: “How can I get there?” The celestial god instructed him on how to get to Badara Island, a difficult and adventurous journey indeed. When he awoke form his dream, he decided to make a trip to Badara Island alone, in spite of the difficulties.
Accordingly, he started his travels with great determination to bring back treasure from Badara Island. He traveled and crossed many islands and mountains. Finally, twelve years into his journey, he arrived at a country called Rohitaka where there lived a virtuous man called Madha Sarthavaha who knew the way to Badara Island. When asked about his whereabouts, he came to know that he was critically ill. But Supriya’s skill in medical science cured this man completely, and he became his best friend. They managed to obtain a boat called ‘Auspicious’ (Mangala), and put all their necessary travel goods in it. In the course of their ocean voyage they crossed water of many colors, and Madha Sarthavaha, the guide, began to identify them as signs of the four precious substances copper, gold, lapis lazuli, and crystal, as well as mountains of medicine, and finally they arrived at Badara Island – they city of Kinnaras where there are several jewels which rain down for as much as 100 yojanas. Having thus acquired a wish-fulfilling jewel, he returned to Varanasi.
He then began to perform the Uposadha Vrata of Avalokitesvara every eighth day of the lunar calendar and rained down jewels across an expanse of twelve yojanas in Varanasi. In this way he assisted the poor and disabled. That is why Avalokitesvara is also known as Cintamani Lokesvara, he who blessed Supriya with this wish fulfilling jewel.
By Min Bahadur Sakya