Vattaka Jataka (#394)

temple painting of Vattaka Jataka

The Bodhisatta was once a quail. A greedy crow who was not content eating animal carcasses went to the forest to find better food. The crow noticed that, even though the Bodhisatta ate only raw grass and seeds, he was quite fat and beautiful, while the Bodhisatta saw that the crow, who ate fatty foods, was very lean. The Bodhisatta asked the crow why he was so thin despite his rich diet, and he answered that he lived in constant fear of his enemies and was always watching out for mischief. Then the crow asked the Bodhisatta how he was so healthy from such a meager diet. The Bodhisatta told him he was plump because he was happy without worry.

In the Lifetime of the Buddha

The crow was an earlier birth of one of the Buddha’s disciples who was greedy. The Buddha told him this story so he knew that it was not the first time he had been greedy.

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