Kakkara Jataka (#209)

temple painting of Kakkara Jataka

The Bodhisatta was once a tree fairy and he witnessed the following. A hunter went into the forest with a decoy searching for birds. He followed one, but it flew off a short ways each time the hunter drew near. So the hunter covered himself with twigs and branches and continued his pursuit. The bird, wanting the hunter to feel ashamed, mocked him for being dumb and then flew off to another place.

In the Lifetime of the Buddha

The clever bird was an earlier birth of one of the Buddha’s disciples who took very good care of his health, never eating anything that was too hot or too cold and rarely going outside so he’d avoid high and low temperatures. One time the Buddha heard other disciples discussing his attention to himself and he told them this story so they knew that the disciple had also cared for himself well in the past.

The hunter was an earlier birth of Devadatta, a disciple of the Buddha who became his nemesis.

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