JĀTAKA BOOK I.—EKANIPĀTA
Jataka Story No. 117
Said the Master, "As now, Brethren, so likewise in former times, Kokālika's tongue has worked his destruction."
So saying, he told this story of the past.
Once on a time when Brahmadatta was reigning in Benares, the Bodhisatta was born a brahmin in the North country. When he grew up, he received a complete education at Takkasilā, and, renouncing Lusts, gave up the world to become a hermit. He won the Five Knowledges and the Eight Attainments, and all the recluses of the Himalayas to the number of five hundred assembled together and followed him as their master.
Insight was his as he dwelt amid his disciples in the Himalayas.
In those days there was an ascetic suffering from jaundice who was chopping wood with an axe. And a chattering Brother came and sat by him, and directed his work, bidding him give here a chop and there a chop, till the jaundiced ascetic lost his temper. In a rage he cried, "Who are you to teach me how to chop wood?" and lifting up his keen-edged axe stretched the other dead with a single blow. And the Bodhisatta had the body buried.
Now on an ant-hill hard by the hermitage there dwelt a partridge which early and late was always piping on the top of the ant-hill. Recognising the note of a partridge, a sportsman killed the bird and took it off with him. Missing the bird's note, the Bodhisatta asked the hermits why they did not hear their neighbour the partridge now. Then they told him what had happened, and he linked the two events together in this stanza:--
As died the partridge for her clamorous cry,
Having developed within himself the four Perfect States, the Bodhisatta thus became destined to rebirth in the Brahma Realm.
Said the Master, "Brethren, as now, so likewise in former days Kokālika's tongue has worked his destruction." And at the close of this lesson he identified the Birth by saying, "Kokālika was the meddling ascetic of those days, my followers the band of hermits, and I their master."