The Bodhisatta was once a tree fairy who lived in a banyan tree at the entrance to a village. One day a man promised the Bodhisatta an offering if his venture was successful. When it was, the man sacrificed several animals and took them to the tree to fulfill his promise. But the Bodhisatta appeared and told the man that taking life to honor a vow was foolish because it results in future karmic suffering. Following this lesson, all the people of the village stopped making animal sacrifices.
In the Lifetime of the Buddha
It was common for business people to sacrifice animals to a god before departing on a journey, and to do so again if they returned safely and with a profit. The Buddha’s disciples asked him if any good could result from this practice, and he answered them by telling this story.
The Buddha did not identify any earlier births other than his own.