Ja 116 Dubbacajātaka
The Story about the Disobedient One (1s)

In the present one newly ordained monk doesn’t like to carry out his duties and wants to go his own way. The Buddha tells the story of an acrobat in the past who tried to juggle with five javelins and died through not listening to the wise council of his betters.

The Bodhisatta = the pupil (antevāsika),
the disobedient monk = the (acrobat) teacher (ācariya).

Present Source: Ja 427 Gijjha,
Quoted at: Ja 116 Dubbaca, Ja 161 Indasamānagotta, Ja 369 Mittavinda, Ja 439 Catudvāra.

Keywords: Disobedience, Wilfulness.

“Too much.” [1.259] This story was told by the Teacher while at Jetavana, about an unruly monk whose own story will be given in the Ninth Book in the Gijjhajātaka [Ja 427].

This story the Teacher told at Jetavana concerning a disobedient monk. He was, they say, of gentle birth, and though ordained in the dispensation that leads to safety, was admonished by his well-wishers, masters, teachers, and fellow-students to this effect, “Thus must you advance and thus retreat; thus look at or away from objects; thus must the arm be stretched out or drawn back; thus are the inner and outer garment to be worn; thus is the bowl to be held, and when you have received sufficient food to sustain life, after self-examination, thus are you to partake of it, keeping guard over the door of the senses; in eating you are to be moderate and exercise watchfulness; you are to recognize such and such duties towards monks who come to or go from the monastery; these are the fourteen sets of monastic duties, and the eighty great duties to be duly performed; these are the thirteen ascetic practices; all these are to be scrupulously performed.” Yet was he disobedient and impatient, and did not receive instruction respectfully, but refused to listen to them, saying: “I do not find fault with you. Why do you speak thus to me? I shall know what is for my good, and what is not.”

Then the monks, hearing of his disobedience, sat in the Dhamma Hall, telling of his faults. The Teacher came and asked them what it was they were discussing, and sent for the monk and said: “Is it true, monk, that you are disobedient?” And he confessed that it was so.

The Teacher rebuked him in these words, “As now, so in former days were you unruly, monk, disregarding the counsels of the wise and good. Wherefore, by a javelin you did die.” So saying, he told this story of the past.

In the past when Brahmadatta was reigning in Benares, the Bodhisatta was born into an acrobat’s family. When he grew up, he was a very wise fellow, having skill in means. From another acrobat he learned the javelin dance, and with his master used to travel about exhibiting his skill. Now this master of his knew the four javelin dance but not the five; but one day when performing in a certain village, he, being in liquor, had five javelins set up in a row and gave out that he would dance through the lot.

Said the Bodhisatta, “You can’t manage all five javelins, master. Have one taken away. If you try the five, you will be run through by the fifth and die.”

“Then you don’t know what I can do when I try,” said the drunken fellow; and paying no heed to the Bodhisatta’s words, he danced through four of the javelins only to impale himself on the fifth like the Bassia flower on its stalk. And there he lay groaning. Said the Bodhisatta, “This calamity comes of your disregarding the counsels of the wise and good,” and he uttered this verse: {1.431}

1. “Too much – though sore against my will – you tried;
Clearing the four, upon the fifth you died.”

So saying, he lifted his master from off the javelin point and duly performed the last offices to his body.

His story done, the Teacher identified the Jātaka by saying: “This unruly monk was the master of those days, and I the pupil.”