The Buddha while in the Causal Stages (of Bodhisattvahood) Cultivates Sacrificing His Body to Aid a Tigress

The Great Canon states: Prince Sattva sacrificed his body to aid a tigress; when his parents heard this, they hastened to the place of his spent body. By that time, the tigress had eaten the flesh and the skeletal remains alone were scattered about on the ground. His father and mother stroked his head and feet, crying piteously in extremely low spirits. When the prince’s life ended, he was born into Tushita Heaven. With his divine eye, (the prince) saw before him the parents grieving, unduly weeping and wailing, perhaps even to the point of losing their own lives. “I should remonstrate them.” Forthwith, he came down from heaven. Floating in the air, he uttered various statements of explanation as well as remonstrance to his father and mother.

The parents looking up queried, “You are a god, yes?” The heavenly being replied, “I am the Prince Mahasattva. I was reborn into the Tushita Heaven due to my aiding the tigress. As my parents, you should know that whatever exists must cease to exist; why are you yourselves not aware of this?” The parents said, “You conduct yourself with great kindness, a kindness reaching all.” Thereupon the deva further thanked his parents with lines of a verse enabling them obtain awakening. All encompassing is the Thus Come One’s divine wisdom and understanding; it is beyond thought or description. At that time, the Prince Sattva was namely I, (Shakyamuni).

佛因地修行舍身济虎 大藏经言:萨埵太子舍身济虎,父母闻已,奔至舍身之处,时虎食肉已,惟有骸骨,狼藉在地。父母扶其头足,哀号闷绝。太子命终,生兜率天,天眼见前父母悲悼,啼哭过甚,或丧身命,我当往谏。即从天下,住于空中,种种言词,解谏父母。父母仰问:是何神耶?天曰:我是太子摩诃萨埵,我由济虎,生兜率天,父母当知,有法归无,生必有终,何不自觉。父母言:汝行大慈,恩及一切。于是天人,复以偈句,报谢父母,令得醒悟。皆是如来神智通达,不可思议。时萨埵太子,即我是也。