[from V. The Third Recital]

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[The Partridge Birth-Story]
595-626 ≠ Jā 319

The Elder related the Partridge Birth-Story and enlightened the King:

In the past, it seems, when Brahmadatta was ruling in the successful and delightful city called Bāraṇasī, the Awakening One arose in a twice-born I.e. brāhmaṇa family, said to be twice born, because of the upanayana ritual in which the child is invested with the sacred thread.01 family. When he had learned all the crafts, and come to maturity and fame he left Takkasila and went forth in the Seers' going-forth.

Having gained the five psychic powers and the eight attainments in the Himālaya district, he enjoyed the absorptions, and dwelt alone in a delightful jungle abode.

While going to a certain border village in order to get salt and vinegar, people saw him, gained faith, made a leaf-hut in a certain forest, attended on him with requisites and made him live there with all due respect.

Then in that village one fowler captured and trained a decoy partridge and put it in a cage, and always looked after it with affection. He would take him to the wilderness, and when the partridges had gathered round at his sound, he would carry them away and sell them.

The partridge thought: ‘Because of me many of the partridge family are perishing, what is this wickedness to me?’ and became silent.

The hunter understood his silence, and beat the partridge with a section of bamboo on the head repeatedly, and he quickly made the partridge make a sound through his suffering. In this way the greedy fowler grabbed many partridges and made his living over a long period of time.

The suffering partridge reflected thus: “ ‘Alas, all of these die!’ although it is not my intention. Lit: my intention is not found.02 I am affected by the repetition of this deed, for when I don't make a sound they do not come. When I do make this sound my relatives come and gather round, and after grabbing them, their lives are brought to destruction. Herein, is this a wicked deed of mine or not?”

Because of that he thought: ‘Who can clear my doubts for me?’ and went round looking for a wise man.

Then one day, after grabbing many partridges and filling his basket, the hunter thought: ‘I would like to drink water.’ He went to the Awakening One’s hermitage and placed the cage there in his presence, and after drinking the water he desired, he lay down on the sand and instantly fell asleep.

Understanding his sleepy nature, the partridge thought: ‘I will ask this ascetic about this doubt,’ and: ‘If he knows the answer he will answer me.’ So while sitting in the cage he questioned him with this verse:

“Happily indeed I live, I surely receive enough to eat,
but I stand in danger, venerable Sir, what is my destiny?”

Answering his question he spoke the second verse:

“If the mind is not bowed, bird, by deeds of wickedness,
there is nothing wicked for you, no wickedness attaches.”

Having heard his statement, he spoke the third verse:

“Thinking: ‘Our relative is sitting there’ many come to see,
I am affected by this deed, there is still a doubt in my mind.”

Having heard this the Awakening One spoke the fourth verse:

“The mind is not affected by this deed, there is no wrong for you,
for the lucky one who does not act no wickedness attaches.”

Thus he convinced the partridge in many ways and through the Awakening One he lost his remorse.

The fowler, having woken, worshipped the Awakening One, picked up his cage from there, and left for home.

The Teacher, having taught this Dhamma teaching, made the connection to all in the Birth Story: “The partridge was Rāhula. The one who cleared away his doubts: that was I, the Awakened One.”

Having heard this Dhamma teaching the King was uplifted. The Elder lived there seven days in the delightful Royal Garden and trained the Lord of the World in the noble religion of the Perfectly Awakened One.