Ja 295 Antajātaka
The Story about those that are Inferior (3s)

In the present Devadatta goes round praising his disciple and the disciple praises Devadatta in return, all to seek gains from the layfolk. The Buddha tells a story of a crow who, wanting some meat, praised a jackal, who praised her in return.

The Bodhisatta = the Tree Devatā (Rukkhadevatā),
Kokālika = the crow (kāka),
Devadatta = the jackal (sigāla).

Present Source: Ja 294 Jambukhādaka,
Quoted at: Ja 295 Anta.

Keywords: Deceit, Self-praise, Devas, Animals, Birds.

“Like to a bull.” {2.440} This is another story told by the Teacher in the same place and about the same people. The circumstances are the same as before. [See Ja 294 Jambukhādakajātaka. I include the story here.]

This story the Teacher told at the Bamboo Grove, about Devadatta and Kokālika. At the time when Devadatta began to lose his gains and his repute, Kokālika went from house to house, saying: “Elder Devadatta is born of the line of the first great king, of the royal stock of Okkāka, by an uninterrupted noble descent, versed in all the scriptures, having attained Absorption, sweet of speech, a preacher of the Dhamma. Give to the elder, help him!” In these words he praised Devadatta.

On the other hand, Devadatta praised Kokālika, in such words as these, “Kokālika comes from a northern brahmin family; he follows the ascetic life; he is learned in Dhamma, a preacher of the Dhamma. Give to Kokālika, help him!” So they went about, praising each other, and getting fed in different houses.

One day the monks began to talk about it in the Dhamma Hall. “Friend, Devadatta and Kokālika go about praising each other for virtues which they haven’t got, and so getting food.” The Teacher came in, and asked what they were talking about as they sat there. They told him. Said he, “Monks, this is not the first time that these men have got food by praising each other. Long ago they did the same,” and he told them a story.

In the past, when Brahmadatta was king of Benares, the Bodhisatta became the spirit of a castor-oil tree which stood in the approach to a certain village. An old ox died in a certain village; and they dragged the carcase out and threw it down in the grove of these trees by the village gate. A jackal came and began to eat its flesh. Then came a crow, and perched upon the tree. When she saw the jackal, she cast about whether by flattery she could not get some of this carcase to eat. And so she repeated the first verse:

1. “Like to a bull your body seems to be,
Like to a lion your activity.
O king of beasts! All glory be to you!
Please don’t forget to leave a bit for me.” [2.301]

On hearing this the jackal repeated the second:

2. “They that of gentle birth and breeding be
Know how to praise the gentle worthily,
O crow, whose neck is like the peacock’s neck,
Come down from off the tree and take a peck!”

The Tree Devatā, on seeing this, repeated the third:

3. “The lowest of all beasts the jackal is,
The crow truly lowest of all birds is,
The Castor-oil of trees the lowest tree:
And now these lowest things are here all three!” {2.441}

When the Teacher had ended this discourse he identified the Jātaka, “At that time Devadatta was the jackal, Kokālika was the crow, but the Tree Devatā was I myself.