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Temiya (เตมีย์)

Thai-Pali. Name of the bodhisatta in one of the jataka stories, when he was born as the son of Queen Chanda Devi, the wife of the king of Kashi, i.e. Varanasi (fig.). When he was one month old and was lying in his father’s lap, the prince overheard the father’s harsh sentence meant for some criminals. Hence, he loathed the idea of being a king himself. Consulting heaven, the deities advised him to pretend to be dumb and inactive to avoid succession to the throne. He took the advice and accordingly pretended to be dumb and crippled for many years. The king eventually sends in executioners with swords and a snake in order to frighten his son, but Temiya remained unmoved (fig.). Declared unfit as a prince nor a future king, Temiya was handed over to the royal charioteer Sunanda (สุนันทะ) to be buried alive in the forest. However, as Sunanda was digging a grave, Temiya sneaked behind him, seized the back of the chariot and lifted it up as if it were a toy-cart, thus revealing that he was not crippled at all and told the charioteer his reasons for playing dumb and inactive. Impressed, Sunanda then wanted to become an ascetic like him. His parents also learned the truth and became ascetics too. The story is known as Temiya Jataka. In Thai, the prince is referred to as Phra Temiya or Phra Temiyabai (พระเตมีย์ใบ้) and the story is know as Temiya Chadok, and in Pali as Mugapakkha, i.e. the ‘Dumb cripple’. See also POSTAGE STAMPS.