Ja 255 The Story about the (Greedy) Parrot

In the present one monk dies through overeating. The Buddha tells a story of a greedy parrot who, despite being warned against it, used to fly to an island to get mangoes, and one day drank too much mango juice and fell into the waters and died on his way back to land.

1. Yāva so mattam-aññāsi bhojanasmiṁ vihaṅgamo,
Tāva addhānam-āpādi, mātarañ-ca aposayi.

The bird, who knew the measure in food, for as long as his lifetime lasted, supported his mother.

2. Yato ca kho bahutaraṁ bhojanaṁ ajjhavāhari,
Tato tattheva saṁsīdi, amattaññū hi so ahu.

But because of swallowing food excessively, then he sank down right there, not knowing the measure.

3. Tasmā mattaññutā sādhu bhojanasmiṁ, agiddhatā,
Amattaññū hi sīdanti, mattaññū ca na sīdare ti.

Therefore knowing the measure in food is good, being without greed, by not knowing the measure they sink, knowing it they do not sink.

In this connection, for as long means the bird, knowing the measure in food, for as long as his lifetime lasted.

As his lifetime lasted, means throughout the length of his lifetime, for as long as life is found.

Supported his mother, this is an abbreviated teaching, supported his mother and father, this is the meaning.

But because of means because at that time.

Swallowing food means swallowing mango juice.

Then (untranslated) means at that time.

He sank down right there means he plunged, sank down into the sea, and became food for fish.

Therefore knowing the measure in food is good, through not knowing the measure in food the parrot sank down into the sea and died, therefore being without what is reckoned as greed, and being in the state of knowing the measure in food is good, knowing the measure is good, this is the meaning. Or: With proper discernment he takes his food: “Not for sport, or for showing off, not for ornament, or for adornment, but only to maintain this body, and to carry on, to inhibit annoyance, and to assist in the spiritual life, and so I get rid of any old feeling, and do not produce any new feeling, and there will be support for me, being blameless, and living comfortably.”

Eating fresh and dry food, Thag. 982-983. he should not be over satiated, with belly unfilled, measured in food, the mindful monk should wander. Before having eaten four or five morsels you should drink water, this is enough for a resolute monk living comfortably.

For a person SN 1.3.13 Doṇapākasutta. who is always mindful, who knows the measure to receive in food, his painful feelings are diminished, he ages slowly, protecting his life.

Thus knowing the measure is also praised as good.

Like the child’s flesh Mil Kukkuṭaṅgapañha PTS 367. in the desert, or like the oiling of a wheel, See for instance SN 35.239 Rathopamasutta. so he takes his food, in order to carry on, and not from greed.

So lack of greed is also praised as good. But in the Pāḷi agiddhimā is written, In the mūla of Cst at present this reading is not found, but rather it has agiddhatā, as in the commentary, with a v.l. recorded of agiddhitā. The commentator evidently had access to readings we no longer see. I do not find the form agiddhamā, anywhere else either. but the commentarial reading is better.

By not knowing the measure they sink, those not knowing the measure in food, having done a wicked deed because of craving for tastes, they sink into one of the four downfalls.

Knowing it they do not sink, but those who know the measure in food, they, both in this very life and in the future, do not sink.