The Bodhisatta, son of Okkáka, king of Kusávatí and of his queen Sílavatí. Okkáka has no heir, in spite of performing various rites. But at length, by the favour of Sakka, Sílavatí miraculously gives birth to two sons. The elder, though ill-favoured, is supernaturally wise and is called Kusa. The younger, very handsome, is called Jayampati. Kusa consents to marry only on condition that a princess can be obtained exactly like an image which he himself has fashioned. Pabhávatí, daughter of King Madda of Ságala, is found to fulfil this condition, and is married to Kusa. The bride is not to look upon her husband's face until she has conceived, but Kusa plays various pranks upon her and she accidentally discovers how ugly he is. She leaves him immediately and returns to her father's court. Thither Kusa follows her, and under a variety of menial disguises, including that of a cook, tries, but in vain, to win her affection. At length Sakka intervenes. He sends letters, purporting to come from King Madda, to seven kings, offering Pabhávatí to each of them. They arrive in Ságala simultaneously and threaten to destroy the city. Madda decides to cut Pabhávatí into seven pieces, and she is only saved from immediate death by the despised husband. At his appearance the kings flee, for wherever he looks the earth trembles. Kusa returns with his wife to Kusávatí and they live there happily.
Pleased at Kusa's victory, Sakka gives him a jewel called the Verocanamani. It was octagonal, and was evidently handed down in the succession of kings, for we are told that one of the tests, set by Videha, king of Mithilá, to discover the proficiency of Mahosadha, was for him to break the old thread in this gem, remove it, and insert a new one. (J.vi.340; according to SA.i.115 and DA.iii.266, the jewel was also in the possession of Pasenadi; but see the Mahására Játaka, where no mention is made of Kusa).
Reference is made elsewhere (E.g., MT.552) to a tálavanta (fan?) possessed by Kusa, in which could be seen the forms of all things in the world. He also possessed the Kokanadavíná (q.v.) given by Sakka to Sílavatí.
Kusa is called Síhassara, and his shout, when he appeared before the seven kings, announcing his name, was one of the four shouts heard throughout Jambudípa (SNA.i.223; SA.i.248).
The Dípavamsa (iii.40) speaks of Kusa and Mahákusa, both descended from Mahásammata.