Anusasika Jataka (#115)

temple painting of Anusasika Jataka

The Bodhisatta was once a bird. He was the leader of thousands of other birds, including one who was both brave and greedy. She went to feed on beans, rice, and other grains that fell off wagons along a busy road and wanted to keep this food for herself. She warned the others how dangerous the road was because of passing wagons, horses, elephants, and the like. The other birds listened and all stayed away. Soon after, while feeding on this road, the greedy bird was run over by a carriage. When she was absent from the morning muster the next day, the Bodhisatta sent some birds to search for her. They found her mangled body and told the Bodhisatta, who said her death was a result of being greedy.

In the Lifetime of the Buddha

The greedy bird was an earlier birth of a gluttonous disciple who took morning alms in a part of the city where people gave fancy food. Wanting to keep all this fine food for herself, she warned the other disciples it was a dangerous area with a fierce elephant, horse, and dog. Her scheme worked, and no others went there. One day while out for alms, this disciple was butted by a ram and broke her leg.

When the Buddha heard other disciples discussing her, he told them this story so they knew she had come to harm after similarly greedy deceit in the past.

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