The Bodhisatta was once an ascetic. He lived in the Himalayas with his father and younger brother, and like most ascetics living in remote locations, they spent rainy seasons down in the realm of men because it was difficult to get wild roots and fruits when it rained. After the rains stopped, they left the city and headed back to their leaf huts. On the final day of their journey home, the Bodhisatta walked ahead of the others to get everything in order. The father walked very slowly and his young son tried to speed him up by pushing him in the back. The two quarreled, and the father got so annoyed he turned around and started the walk again from the place where the Bodhisatta had left them.
Because of the father’s bad temper, night fell before the two had reached their home. The Bodhisatta took a torch and walked back to find them. They told him what had happened, and when safely back at their huts the Bodhisatta told his father that young boys are like clay pots: they are easily broken and he needed to be patient, even when his son was wrong. The father followed the advice from that point forward.
In the Lifetime of the Buddha
A young nobleman became a disciple of the Buddha, and not long after, he reached arahantship. When the nobleman’s mother died, his elderly father and younger brother joined him as disciples—the Bodhisatta’s father and brother were earlier births of these two men. The three went to a village for the rainy season, and when it was over, they walked back to the Buddha’s monastery. When they got nearby, the young nobleman walked quickly ahead of the others to prepare their rooms. The father walked very slowly and his young son tried to speed him up by pushing and pulling him. The two quarreled, and the father got so annoyed he turned around and started the walk again from the beginning.
Because of the father’s bad temper, night fell before they reached the monastery. The young nobleman took a torch and walked back to find them, so he had to wait until the next day to pay his respects to the Buddha. When the Buddha asked the young nobleman why he came late, he explained what his father and brother had done. The Buddha told him this story so he knew that in the past his father had annoyed he himself in the same way.