Ja 37 The Story about the Elder Partridge

In the present Ven. Sāriputta fails to get lodging when the Group of Six take all that is available. When the Buddha discovers this affront in the morning he tells a story of an elephant, a monkey and a partridge, how they decided to live respecting elders, and how they subsequently found out which one was eldest (full story).

1. Ye vuḍḍham-apacāyanti narā Dhammassa kovidā,
Diṭṭhe va dhamme pāsaṁsā, samparāye ca suggatī ti.

Those people who are skilled in Dhamma pay homage to an elder, praised in this life, in the next world they will go to a happy state.

In this connection, those people ... pay homage to an elder, an elder from birth, an elder from age, an elder from virtue, these three elders.

Out of these, one endowed with birth, is known as an elder from birth, one standing on age, is known as an elder from age, one endowed with virtue, is known as an elder from virtue. Out of these, an elder from age endowed with virtue, an elder in this way is intended.

Pay homage means they worship the deeds of those honourable elders.

Skilled in Dhamma means having the wholesome skills in the Dhamma of those honourable elders.

In this life means in this individuality.

Praised means those deserving praise.

In the next world they will go to a happy state, having abandoned this world, they should pass over, should go to the next world, where they will have a happy state.

But here is the substance of it: Monastics, whether they are nobles, brahmins, merchants, workers, Naming the four general classes of ancient India. householders, those gone-forth, or even animals, whatever beings are skilled, shrewd, in the deeds of those honourable elders, they respect elders from age who are endowed with virtue, these individuals are honourable elders, they receive praise, plaudits, commendation, and at the break up of the body they are reborn in heaven.