Once the Bodhisatta, was born into a family which had eighty crores. He was
called Mahā Kañcana and had six younger brothers (the eldest of them being
Upakañcana) and a sister, Kañcanadevi. None of them would marry, and, on the
death of their parents, they distributed their wealth, and, together with a
servant man and maid, they went into the Himālaya and became ascetics, gathering
wild fruits for food. Later, they agreed that Mahā Kañcana, Kañcanadevi and the
maid should be spared the task of collecting fruit and that the others should do
this in turn. Each day the fruits collected were divided into lots and the gong
was sounded. The ascetics would then come one by one and take each his or her
share. By the glory of their virtues, Sakka's throne trembled. In order to test
them, for three days in succession he caused Mahā Kañcana's share to disappear.
On the third day, Mahā Kañcana summoned the others and asked the reason for
this. Each protested his innocence and swore an oath that heavy curses should
attend them if any were guilty of stealing so much as a lotus stalk (bhisa). In
each case punishment was to be that in their next birth they should have lands,
possessions and other encumbrances - which, from an ascetic's point of view,
would be a grievous thing. At this gathering were also present the chief deity
of the forest, an elephant escaped from a stake, a monkey who had once belonged
to a snake charmer, and Sakka, who remained invisible. At the end of their
protestations of innocence, Sakka inquired of Mahā Kañcana why they all so
dreaded possessions; on hearing the explanation, he was greatly moved and asked
pardon of the ascetics for his trick.
The story was related in the same circumstances as the
Sāriputta, Moggallāna, Punna, Kassapa, Anuruddha and Ananda were the
Bodhisatta's brothers, Uppalavannā the sister, Khujjuttarā the maid,
Citta-gahapati the servant, Sātāgiri the forest deity, Pārileyya the elephant,
Madhuvāsettha the monkey and Kāludāyi, Sakka (J.iv.304 14).
The Bhisacariyā is included in the Cariyā Pitaka (J.iii.4), and the story is
also found in the Jātakamālā, No.19.