Ja 242 Sunakhajātaka
The Story about (the Gnawing) Dog (2s)
In the present the monks are talking about a dog who had been brought up near to their monastery, been sold and taken away, but quickly found his way back home. The Buddha told a similar story from the past of a dog who was tied on a leash, but bit through it when his new owners slept and made his escape.
The Bodhisatta = the wise man (paṇḍitapurisa),
the dog = the same in the past (sunakha).
Keywords: Skill, Familiarity, Animals.
“Foolish Dog.” This story the Teacher told while living in Jetavana, about a dog that used to be fed in the resting hall by the Ambala tower.
It is said that from a puppy this dog had been kept there and fed by some water-carriers. In course of time it grew up there to be a big dog. Once a
Seeing him, the monks guessed what had happened; and in the evening, when they were gathered in the Dhamma Hall, they began talking about it. “Friend, here’s the dog back again in our resting hall! How clever he must have been, to get rid of his chain! No sooner free, than back he ran!” The Teacher, entering, asked what they were all talking about as they sat together. They told him. He rejoined, “Monks, this is not the first time our dog was clever at getting rid of his chain; he was just the same before.” And he told them a story.
In the past, when Brahmadatta was king of Benares, the Bodhisatta was born in a rich family of the kingdom of Kāsi; and when he grew up, he set up a house of his own. There was a man in Benares who had a dog which had been fed on rice till it grew fat.
1. “Foolish dog! Why don’t you bite
Through that strap that holds you tight?
In a trice you would be free,
Scampering off merrily!”
On hearing this verse, the dog uttered the second:
2. “Resolute – determined, I
Wait my opportunity:
Careful watch and ward I keep
Till the people are asleep.”
So spake he; and when the company were asleep, he gnawed through the strap, and returned to his master’s house in great glee.
When this discourse was ended, the Teacher identified the Jātaka, “The dogs are the same, and I was the wise man.”
last updated: November 2021