Udapana-Dusaka Jataka (#271)

temple painting of Udapana-Dusaka Jataka

The Bodhisatta was once an ascetic who had many followers. A jackal came each night and fouled their well. One night some of the ascetics surrounded the jackal and caught him. They brought the jackal before the Bodhisatta who asked why he was doing this. The jackal answered that it was the nature of jackals to spoil the spots where they drink (his father and grandfather had done the same), so nobody should be angry with him. The Bodhisatta condemned all jackals as foul beasts and told this one to go away and never return.

In the Lifetime of the Buddha

The jackal of the past was an earlier birth of a jackal who used to foul a well at the Buddha’s monastery. When some novices saw the jackal, they pelted him with clods of dirt, and he never returned. When the Buddha heard some of his disciples discussing the incident, he told them this story so they knew that the same jackal had also fouled his well in the past.

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