Ja 189 The Story about the Lion’s Skin

In the present Kokālika wanted to be one of those who recited the scriptures, and was invited to do so, but when he appeared in front of the Saṅgha he could not remember one verse. The Buddha tells a story of a merchant who used to throw a lion-skin over his donkey before putting him out to graze. But when confronted by villagers he revealed his true nature by braying, and was beaten to death.

1. Netaṁ sīhassa naditaṁ, na byagghassa na dīpino,
Pāruto sīhacammena, jammo nadati gadrabho ti.

This is not a lion’s sound, nor is it a tiger’s or leopard’s, but wrapped with a lion’s skin, a contemptible donkey cries out.

In this connection, contemptible means inferior. Those who dwell in the village, knowing his donkey-nature, having beaten him, and broken his bones, took the lion’s skin and left.

2. Ciram-pi kho taṁ khādeyya gadrabho haritaṁ yavaṁ,
Pāruto sīhacammena, ravamāno va dūsayī ti.

For a long time the donkey may have eaten grass and barley, while covered with a lionskin, but he spoiled it all by braying.

In this connection, this donkey, without making known his own donkey’s nature, while covered with a lionskin, may have eaten grass and barley for a long time, this is the meaning.

He spoiled it all by braying, braying his own donkey bray he spoiled it for himself, regarding this, it is not the fault of the lion’s skin.