Ja 272 The Story about the Tiger
(Byagghajātaka)

In the present Kokālika wants to bring the two chief disciples to his home town, but they refuse to go. The Buddha tells a story of a Tree Devatā who drove away a tiger and a lion because of the carnage they brought into the forest. But once gone, men entered and cut down all the trees for cultivation.

1. Yena mittena saṁsaggā, yogakkhemo vihiyyati,
Pubbevajjhābhavaṁ tassa rakkhe akkhī va paṇḍito.

Through association with a bad friend, security decreases, the wise one should guard his predominance like he should guard his eyes.

2. Yena mittena saṁsaggā, yogakkhemo pavaḍḍhati,
Kareyyattasamaṁ vuttiṁ sabbakiccesu paṇḍito ti.

Through association with a good friend, security increases, the wise one should do all his duties in life for one like himself.

In this connection, through association with a bad friend, through reason of association, through cause of association, with an bad friend, together with that one who is associated with by sight, by hearing, by body, by conversation, by enjoyment: through the fact of making association through one of these five ways, this is the meaning.

Security means bodily and mental happiness. Yogakhema is one of those difficult terms in Pāḷi that has a range of meanings that can be called upon by the commentators, but not by translators! Essentially it means safety, security, sanctuary; but it also means free from the yoke, free from bondage, and therefore, according to this commentary, happiness. Through the fact of being secure from the yoke of suffering here, he has security, this is the intention.

Decreases means deteriorates.

The wise one should guard his predominance like he should guard his eyes, the predominance of his evil friend should be overcome by him, since his own gains, fame and life should not overcome him, so first of all the wise man should guard himself like he would his own eyes.

In the second verse, through means by association with reason with a spiritual friend.

His security increases means his bodily and mental happiness increases.

Should do ... for one like himself, The meaning of attasama is one like oneself, or a very close friend. the wise person, in all duties towards his spiritual friend – just like one does for his own livelihood and for his own profit and enjoyment – so should he do all of this, he should do even more, but he should not do less.

3. Etha byagghā nivattavho, paccupetha mahāvanaṁ,
Mā vanaṁ chindi nibyagghaṁ, byagghā māhesu nibbanā ti.

Come, tigers, please turn back, return to the great wood, don’t cut the wood, bereft of tigers, do not let there be tigers without a wood.

In this connection, tigers, addressing both these tigers she called on them by name.

Turn back means turn back. Nivattavho is the indicative middle form of the verb, used m.c. nivattatha is the active form.

Return to the great wood, return to the great wood again, go back, this is an alternative reading. The commentator seems to be saying upagacchatha is an alternative reading to paccupetha, but if it was, then the metre of the verse would be spoiled.

Don’t cut the wood bereft of tigers, our residential wooden thicket, now because of your absence this wood is bereft of tigers, and men must not cut it.

Do not let there be tigers without a wood, because the tiger-kings like you fled away from their places of residence, do not let them be without a wood, bereft of a wood, because that in truth is where they dwell.