“Once I was an ascetic living in the wilderness. As I entered a village to seek alms, I saw a woman’s corpse, bloated and discolored. I sat down next to it and examined it closely. With total focus and concentration, I contemplated its repulsiveness. Then, even as I was sitting there, its stomach burst open. Hearing that dreadful noise, my concentration was broken. I saw clots of blood and heaps of excrement in its stomach, oozing all around, filthy and revolting, and the small and large intestines, the kidneys, heart, and stomach were being eaten by hundreds of maggots.
“Then I [concentrated] my mind again. While staring at the body outside me, I visualized it as my own: ‘That body is really just like mine, and mine is really just like it: putrid on the inside, filthy, completely disgusting.’
“Then I arose and went back to my ashram. I stopped seeking alms and ate no food. When I finally entered a village to get something to eat, I saw attractive women there, but I cultivated the same perception: ‘All physical bodies are like that corpse: putrid on the inside, filthy, completely disgusting.’ As I meditated in this way, I was freed from passions and fully developed the four infinite sublime states.
“After I died and passed on from that life, I was destined for the Brahma heaven. After passing from the Brahma heaven, I was born in the city of Vārāṇasī. There, as the only son of a rich merchant, I was wealthy, spoiled, handsome, comfortable, popular, and dear to my family. I became extremely rich. But once as I was lying in bed at night after amusing myself all day, I woke with a start and saw my women lying all around me. They were [resting their heads] on their drums, tambourines, and lutes. They were splayed out, fast asleep with their hair all disheveled, snoring and mumbling in their sleep. The beneficial effect from the past manifested itself, and I created a mental image of my chambers as a repulsive cemetery. Then in a panic I cried out: ‘Help me, please! I am besieged, threatened from all sides!’ I leaped out of bed and fled from my palace, and the compassionate gods opened the gate for me. Departing from the city, I came to the bank of a river, and there I saw an ascetic walking around on the other side. I cried out to him these words, which were few but which would have such great effect: ‘Help me, please! I am besieged, threatened from all sides.’
Then the Tathāgata addressed me with words of deathless nectar: ‘Fear not, young man; come here, I am your rescuer.’ At that very instant, I was freed from passions. I cast off my jeweled sandals and swam to the other shore, approaching the compassionate one, the unrivaled Master. Then the compassionate Master, understanding that I was thirsty, taught me the sweet Dharma that reveals the four noble truths.
“Venerable sirs, I saw the Dharma and asked the sage to initiate me, and in his compassionate mercy, Gautama did so. Then at the end of that very night, just as the sun arose, all of my afflictions were eliminated; I was calmed and cooled.”
Thus did Yaśas, a monk and disciple of the Buddha, a master of supernatural powers, explain his own karma on the great Lake Anavatapta.