Ja 174 Dūbhiyamakkaṭajātaka
The Story about the Treacherous Monkey (2s)
Alternative Title: Dubbhiyamakkaṭajātaka (Cst)
In the present Devadatta’s lack of gratitude is notorious amongst the monks. The Buddha tells a story about a previous life in which he helped a thirsty monkey, only for the monkey to make his droppings fall on the head of his benefactor.
The Bodhisatta = the brahmin (brāhmaṇa),
Devadatta = the monkey (makkaṭa).
Keywords: Ingratitude, Treachery, Animals.
“Plenty of water.”
In the past, when Brahmadatta was king of Benares, the Bodhisatta was born into a brahmin family in a certain Kāsi village, and when he grew of age, married and settled down. Now in those days there was a certain deep well by the highway in Kāsi, which had no way
It happened by a chance that for two or three days the supply of water which wayfarers used to draw ceased; and the creatures could get nothing to drink. A monkey, tormented with thirst, walked up and down by the well looking for water.
Now the Bodhisatta came that way on some errand, drew water for himself, drank it, and washed his hands; then he noticed our monkey. Seeing how thirsty he was, the traveller drew water from the well and filled the trough for him. Then he sat down under a tree, to see what the creature would do.
The monkey drank, sat down near, and pulled a monkey-grimace, to frighten the Bodhisatta. “Ah, you bad monkey!” said he, at this, “when you were thirsty and miserable,
1. “Plenty of water did I give to you
When you were massaging hot and thirsty too:
Now full of mischief you sit chattering,
With wicked people best have nought to do.”
Then this spiteful monkey replied, “I suppose you think that’s all I can do. Now I’ll drop something on your head before I go.” Then, repeating the second verse, he went on:
2. “A well-conducted monkey who did ever hear or see?
I leave my droppings on your head; for such our manners be.”
As soon as he heard this the Bodhisatta got up to go. But at the very instant this monkey from the branch where he sat dropped it like a festoon upon his head; and then made off into the forest shrieking. The Bodhisatta washed, and went his way.
When the Teacher had ended this discourse, after saying: “It is not only now that Devadatta is so, but in former days also he would not acknowledge a kindness which I showed him,” he identified the Jātaka, “Devadatta was the monkey then, and the brahmin was I myself.”
last updated: November 2021