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The Tiger's King

Part VIII | The Tiger's King | Armenia

The Treasure Tower [1]


At that time in the Buddha’s presence there was a tower adorned with the seven treasures, five hundred yojanas in height and two hundred and fifty yojanas in width and depth, that rose up out of the earth and stood suspended in the air. Various kinds of precious objects adorned it. It had five thousand railings, a thousand, ten thousand rooms, and numberless streamers and banners decorated it. Festoons of jewels hung down and ten thousand million jeweled bells were suspended from it. All four sides emitted a fragrance of tamala leaves and sandalwood that pervaded the whole world. Its banners and canopies were made of the seven treasures, namely, gold, silver, lapis lazuli, seashell, agate, pearl, and carnelian, and it was so high it reached to the heavenly palaces of the four heavenly kings.

The beings of the heaven of the thirty-three gods rained down heavenly mandarava [2][3] flowers as an offering to the treasure tower, and the other heavenly beings, the dragons, yakshas, gandharvas, asuras, garudas, kimnaras, and mahoragas, the human and nonhuman beings, an assembly of thousands, ten thousands, millions, offered all kinds of flowers, incense, necklaces, streamers, canopies, and music as alms to the treasure tower, paying it reverence, honor, and praise.


Milo had woken up before the others and was stirring a small pot of porridge over the fire. Reya was gathering firewood in the clearing outside the cave's entrance, and Khepri was studying Milo's book and drinking coffee out of a tin cup.

“Remember the story about The Poor Woman's Lamp, Milo?”

“Sure,” Milo glanced over his shoulder at Khepri as he relaxed by the fire.

“Rose Robin, the Indian woman who donated a small lamp to the Buddha's procession on Meteor Night. I remember.”

Just then, Reya approached the cave with an armful of kindling and firewood she dumped unceremoniously next to the fire. Milo scooped steaming porridge into three wooden bowls, placed a spoon in each one and handed them to Khepri and Reya as they sat next to the fire for breakfast.

Khepri continued, “It seems there were special red flowers used in celebration of the Buddha's special event called “mandarava” flowers. These brightly colored flowers grow from the Indian Coral Tree and are also known as the “Tiger's Claw.”

Tiger's Claw

They are called the "Tiger's Claw" because hundreds of years ago, they were used to treat the son of an Armenian king known as Tigranes the Great.



[1] The Lotus Sutra: Chapter 11 ~ Emergence of the Treasure Tower

[2] Indian Coral Tree, commonly known as “tiger's claw.”

[3] Māndārava or Mandara flowers, a fragrant red flower that blooms in heaven.

[4] Tigranes the Great

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