Ja 250 Kapijātaka
The Story about the (Disguised) Monkey (2s)

In the present one monk is being very deceitful, and it sets the monks to talking about him. The Buddha explains that in a previous life he had been a monkey, had dressed as an ascetic to try and gain a warm fire, but was discovered and chased away.

The Bodhisatta = the (ascetic) father (pitā),
Rāhula = the son (putta),
the deceiving monk = the monkey (makkaṭa).

Keywords: Deceit, Appearances, Animals.

“A holy sage.” This story was told by the Teacher while living at Jetavana, about a deceitful monk.

The Saṅgha found out his deceit. In the Dhamma Hall they were talking it over, “Friend, monk So-and-so, after embracing the Buddha’s dispensation, which leads to safety, still practises deceit.” The Teacher on coming in {2.269} asked what they were discussing together. They told him. Said he, “Monks, it is not the only time this monk has been a deceitful person; for a deceitful person he was before, when he shammed simply for the sake of warming himself at the fire.” Then he told them a story.

In the past, when Brahmadatta was king in Benares, the Bodhisatta was born into a brahmin family. When he grew up, and his own son was of an age to run about, his wife died; he took the child on his hip, and departed into the Himālayas, where he became an ascetic, and brought up his son to the same life, dwelling in a hut of leaves.

It was the rainy season, and the heaven poured down its floods incessantly: a monkey wandered about, tormented with the cold, chattering and rattling his teeth. The Bodhisatta fetched a great log, lit a fire, and lay down upon his pallet. His son sat by him, and massaged his feet. [2.188]

Now the monkey had found a dress belonging to some dead ascetic. He clad himself in the upper and lower garment, throwing the skin over one shoulder; he took the pole and waterpot, and in this sage’s dress he came to the leaf-hut for the fire: and there he stood, in his borrowed plumes.

The lad caught sight of him, and cried out to his father, “See, father – there is an ascetic, trembling with cold! Call him here; he shall warm himself.” Thus addressing his father, he uttered the first verse:

1. “A holy sage stands shivering at our gate,
A sage, to peace and goodness consecrate.
O father! Bid the holy man come in,
That all his cold and misery may abate.”

The Bodhisatta listened to his son; he rose up, and looked; then he knew it was a monkey, and repeated the second verse: {2.270}

2. “No holy sage is he: it is a vile
And loathsome monkey, greedy all to spoil
That he can touch, who dwells among the trees;
Once let him in, our home he will defile.”

With these words, the Bodhisatta seized a firebrand, and scared away the monkey; and he leaped up, and whether he liked the wood or whether he didn’t, he never returned to that place any more. The Bodhisatta cultivated the Super Knowledges and Attainments, and to the young ascetic he explained how to focus on the Meditation Object; and he too let the Super Knowledges and Attainments spring up within him. And both of them, without a break in their Absorption, became destined to the Brahmā Realm.

Thus did the Teacher discourse by way of showing how this man was not then only, but always, a deceitful person. This ended, he declared the Truths, and identified the Jātaka, at the conclusion of the Truths some reached the First Path, some the Second, and yet some the Third, “The hypocritical monk was the monkey, Rāhula was the son, and I was the ascetic myself.”