Kuntani Jataka (#343)

temple painting of Kuntani Jataka

The Bodhisatta was once a king who ruled righteously. He had a heron who carried messages for him. One time when she was away, two boys who lived in the palace squeezed the heron’s two children to death. A tiger was kept chained up in the palace, and when the two boys went to see it the heron got revenge by grabbing them and throwing them at the foot of the tiger who ate them both. The heron told the king what she had done and said she could no longer live there. The king said he understood she had good reason to kill the boys and asked her to stay, but she said she could not and flew off to the Himalayas.

In the Lifetime of the Buddha

The heron of the past was an earlier birth of a king’s messenger heron from the Buddha’s time. One time when it was away, two boys who lived in the palace squeezed the heron’s two children to death. A tiger was kept chained up in the palace, and when the two boys went to see it the heron got revenge by grabbing them and throwing them at the foot of the tiger who ate them both. Feeling satisfied, the heron flew straight off to the Himalayas.

When the Buddha heard some of his disciples discussing the heron’s vengeance, he told them this story so they knew she had also killed the killers of her young ones in the past.

previous arrow                next arrow

Share this page.