Ja 393 Vighāsajātaka
The Story about the (One who Eats) Remnants (6s)

Alternative Title: Vighāsādajātaka (Cst)

In the present some monks are not serious about their ascetic life. The Buddha tells a story of seven brothers who became ascetics, but enjoyed amusements and took great care of their bodies. Sakka, in the form of a parrot, reproved their behaviour.

The Bodhisatta = (the King of the Devas) Sakka,
the monks who played around = the seven brothers (satta bhātaro).

Keywords: Asceticism, Gifts, Animals, Birds.

“Happy life is theirs.” The Teacher told this tale while dwelling in the East Garden, concerning some monks who were given to amusement. The great Moggallāna had shaken their dwelling and alarmed them. The monks sat discussing their fault in the Dhamma Hall. The Teacher being told this said to them, “They are not given to amusement for the first time,” and so told a story of the past.

In the past when Brahmadatta was reigning in Benares, the Bodhisatta was Sakka. Seven brothers in a certain village of Kāsi seeing the evil of desires had renounced them and become ascetics: they dwelt in Mejjhārañña but enjoyed various kinds of amusement, not practising devotion diligently and strengthening their bodies. Sakka, king of gods, said: “I will alarm them,” and so he became a parrot, came to their dwelling-place and perching on a tree spoke the first verse to alarm them: {3.311}

1. “Happy life is theirs who live on remnants left from generosity:
Praise in this world is their lot, and in the next felicity.”

Then one of them hearing the parrot’s words called to the rest, and spoke the second verse:

2. “Should not wise men listen when a parrot speaks in human tongue:
Hearken, monks: ’tis our praises clearly that this bird has sung.”

Then the parrot denying this spoke the third verse:

3. “Not your praises I am singing, carrion-eaters: list to me,
Refuse is the food you eat, not remnants left from generosity.” [3.194]

When they heard him, they all together spoke the fourth verse:

4. “Seven years ordained, with duly tonsured hair,
In Mejjhārañña here we spend our days,
Living on remnants: if you blame our fare,
Who is it then you praise?”

The Great Being spoke the fifth verse, putting them to shame:

5. “Leavings of the lion, tiger, ravening beast, are your supply:
Refuse truly, though you call it remnants left from generosity.” {3.312}

Hearing him the ascetics said: “If we are not eaters of remnants, then who pray are?” Then he telling them the true meaning spoke the sixth verse:

6. “They who giving alms to monks and brahmins, wants to satisfy
Eat the rest, ’tis they who live on remnants left from generosity.”

So the Bodhisatta put them to shame and went to his own place.

After the lesson, the Teacher declared the Truths and identified the Jātaka, “At that time the seven brothers were the sportive monks, Sakka was myself.”