The Bodhisatta was once a merchant who led many oxcarts to trade with distant lands. During one trip through a vast forest, the Bodhisatta warned his men that trees with poisonous fruit grew there, so they should not eat anything unfamiliar until they checked with him. Some of his men came upon a kimpakka tree, which resembled a mango tree. Some men ate the fruit, while others waited for the Bodhisatta. When the Bodhisatta arrived, he told them this was not a mango tree and he gave the men who ate the fruit a medicine to make them vomit. Some survived, but those who had eaten the fruit first died.
In the Lifetime of the Buddha
While on an alms round, one of the Buddha’s disciples saw a beautifully dressed woman and was aroused. The Buddha told him this story to teach him that desires are sweet in the beginning, but lead to ruin, just like kimpakka fruit.
The people of the caravan were earlier births of the Buddha’s disciples.