The Magnificent Account About a Sow

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In this sutra, The Magnificent Account About a Sow (Skt. Sūkarikāvadāna; Tib. ཕག་མོའི་རྟོགས་པ་བརྗོད་པ།, Wyl. phag mo’i rtogs pa brjod pa), the Buddha Shakyamuni recounts the earlier events surrounding a god in the Heaven of the Thirty-Three who foresaw that he would be reborn as a pig in Rajagriha. At the encouragement of Shakra, this god, in the final moments of agony before his death, took refuge in the Three Jewels and thereby attained rebirth in the even higher Tushita heaven. The story thus illustrates the liberative power of taking refuge in the Three Jewels, as befittingly expressed in the concluding verses of this short avadana which is aimed at illustrating the workings of karma and instilling the principles of generosity and virtuous conduct.

It is one of the few separate avadana texts in the Kangyur and this is probably due to the esteem in which it was held when it was translated into Tibetan around the turn of the ninth century CE. One of the likely reasons for its renown was that Shantideva, who rose to prominence in Nalanda after composing the Bodhicharyavatara , quotes this avadana in his older training compendium, the Shikshasamucchaya. He explicitly mentions it in order to affirm the potency of taking refuge in the Three Jewels, “the power of support” as it is put in The Sutra Teaching the Four Factors. [1]


The Tibetan translation of this sutra can be found in the General Sutra section of the Tibetan Kangyur, Toh 345.


  1. 84000 Translating the Words of the Buddha.