Ja 119 Akālarāvijātaka
The Birth Story about (the Cock) Crying at the Wrong Time (1s)

In the present one young man is talkative at all times, which brings him the blame of his fellow monks. The Buddha tells how, in a past life, he had been a cock who crowed at all the wrong times, which brought about his destruction.

The Bodhisatta = the teacher (ācariya),
the Buddha’s disciples = the pupils (antevāsika),
the monk = the cock who always cried out (akālarāvī kukkuṭo).

Keywords: Talkative, Untimely, Animals, Birds.

“No mother and father raised him.” [1.263] This story was told by the Teacher while at Jetavana, about a monk who used to be noisy at the wrong time. He is said to have come of a good Sāvatthi family and to have given up the world for the dispensation, but to have neglected his duties and despised instruction. He never took count of the hours for duties, for ministry or for reciting the texts. Throughout the three watches of the night, as well as the hours of waking, he was never quiet; so that the other monks could not get a wink of sleep.

Accordingly, the monks in the Dhamma Hall censured his conduct. Entering the Hall and learning on enquiry what they were talking about, the Teacher said: “Monks, as now, so in past times, this monk was noisy out of season, and for his unseasonable conduct was strangled.” So saying he told this story of the past. {1.436}

In the past when Brahmadatta was reigning in Benares, the Bodhisatta was born into a northern brahmin family, and when he grew up, learned all knowledge and became a teacher of world-wide fame with five hundred young brahmins studying under him. Now these young brahmins had a cock who crowed betimes and roused them to their studies. And this cock died. So they looked all about for another, and one of their number, when picking up firewood in the cemetery-grove, saw a cock there which he brought home and kept in a coop. But, as this second cock had been bred in a cemetery, he had no knowledge of times and seasons, and used to crow casually – at midnight as well as at daybreak. Roused by his crowing at midnight, the young brahmins fell to their studies; by dawn they were tired out and could not for sleepiness keep their attention on the subject; and when he fell crowing in broad day they did not get a chance of quiet for repeating their lesson. And as it was the cock’s crowing both at midnight and by day which had brought their studies to a standstill, they took the bird and wrung his neck. Then they told their teacher that they had killed the cock that crowed in and out of season.

Said their teacher, for their edification, “It was his bad upbringing that brought this cock to his end.” So saying, he uttered this verse:

1. Amātāpitarasaṁvaddho, anācerakule vasaṁ, Nāyaṁ kālaṁ akālaṁ vā, abhijānāti kukkuṭo ti. No mother and father raised him, not under a teacher’s influence, neither at the right or wrong time, did the cock know when to call out.[1.264]

Such was the Bodhisatta’s teaching on the matter; and when he had lived his allotted time on earth, he passed away to fare according to his deeds.

His lesson ended, the Teacher identified the Jātaka as follows, “This monk was the cock of those times, who did not know when not to crow; my disciples were the young brahmins; and I their teacher.”