Did the Chinese and Japanese once read the Mahabharatha? I am amazed by the similiarities of the story of King Sibbi mentioned in the Mahabharatha, Chinese folklore and Japanese folklore. Here are the three versions... To me they seem to have the same source.. Mahabharta:- King Sibbi was the son of Ushinar and belonged to the Ikshavaku lineage. Once King Sibbi decided to conduct a grand Yagna. All the those who came to the Yagna had all their wishes fulfilled. King Sibbi would not turn down any request. Even the Gods were speaking of this great sacrifice conducted by Sibbi. The King of the Gods Indira and Agni decided to test Sibbi's worth. So Indira took the shape of a Falcon and Agni the shape of a dove and flew towards the sacrifice, with the falcon chasing the dove. The dove flew towards King Sibbi and sat on his lap trembling in fear. The sight of the dove brought compassion to the heart of King Sibbi and so he assumed a protective stance. The falcon suddenly spoke in a human voice 'O king you fame is well known throughout the three worlds for your adherance to Dharma. It is my dharma to kill and provide food for my family and myself. Why do you obstruct me from performing Dharma despite having such a reputation for clinging on to Dharma?' The King was startled on hearing this. But he thought for a while and replied 'It is also my Dharma to protect anyone who is weaker than me and seeks my protection. This dove has choosen refuge under me, so it is my duty to protect it with my life.' But the falcon replied 'But King Sibbi, is it also not your duty to maintain Dharma in your Kingdom. If you insist on protecting that bird, then you must give me something other food, without causing suffering' King Sibbi replied 'Ok I will cut a piece of flesh from my own thigh equal to the weight of the dove as food for you' King Sibbi began to cut a piece of flesh from his won tigh, but to his amazement the bird seemed to be much heavier than anticipated. He cut more and more flesh, but to no avail. His left side of the body had so little flesh he almost fell of balance. But struglling back to the ground he then climbed on the scale and offered himself as a sacrifice in order to uphold Dharma. Immediately the dove and falcon assumed their true shape and gave Sibbi Rana his body back with even more lusture than before. Chinese Version:- There are two versions. One version is ditto the same. Only the pronouncitions are different. For ex. Sibbi is prounced as Shibbi (strong empasis on the h) etc. The other version is from the Jatakamala. In this story Indira dressed as a blind person approaches King Sibbi requesting for eye-sight. King Sibbi pierces his own eyes and gives them to the blind man asking him to use it to retain his eye-sight. Japanese Version:- King Shibi is believed to be a previous incarnation of Shakyamuni Buddha. In this story a heavenly being named Bishamon approaches the God Taishaku and tells him 'There is a great Bodhisattva named King Shibi. Soon he will become a Buddha.' On hearing this Taishaku decides to test to test the sincerity of the King's practice in pursuing enlightenment. He transforms himself into a hawk and instructs Bishamon to take on the appearance of a dove. Chased after by the hawk, the dove to escapes and flies into the arms of King Shibi. Perched on the branch of a tree, the hawk says to the King, "Please let me have the dove back. It is what I have been trying to get." King Shibbi replies, "No, I can't because I have vowed to protect all living things. I cannot return it to you." The hawk then points out , "I am one of the living things that you have vowed to save. If you take away my food for today, I will be unable to live tomorrow." The King then offers to cut off a piece of his own flesh and gave it to the hawk. As the King proceeded to cut his own flesh, the hawk measures it using a balance and found the dove to be consistently heavier than the muscle of the King. No matter how much muscle was added, the weight was lighter than the total weight of the dove. Finally, the King cuts all the flesh off of his body. The King tries desperately to put his entire body on the balance, but falls to the ground. He then exclaimed, "I once made a pledge to save all living beings! I cannot let such minor sufferings defeat me!" At last he successfully climbs onto the balance. Watching the entire scene, all the heavenly beings praise the King saying, "He did not begrudge his life, even for a bird. He is a person who best suits the title of Bodhisattva. Suddenly, Taishaku casts off his disguised figure as a hawk and regains his original appearance. He says to the King, "Don't you have any pain or regret?" The King replies, "I have no regrets whatsoever. My heart is rather full of joy." No sooner did the King utter these words than did his body change back into what it used to be.