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Avāriya Jātaka (No.376)

Once, when the Bodhisatta was an ascetic, at the invitation of the King of Bārāṇasī, he dwelt in the royal garden, admonishing the king on the virtues of righteousness and compassion. Being pleased with him, the king wished to present him with a village of which the revenue was a thousand, but the ascetic declined the gift. For twelve years the ascetic lived in the park; then, desiring a change, he went away, and in the course of his wanderings, arrived at a ferry on the Gaṅgā, where lived a foolish ferryman named Avāriyapitā. He took the Bodhisatta across, on the latter’s promising to tell him how to increase his wealth, his welfare, and his virtue. On reaching the other side, the Bodhisatta advised the ferryman on the desirability of getting his fare before crossing if he wished to increase his wealth; he then proceeded to recite to him the stanzas on the virtue of compassion, which, for twelve years, he had daily recited to the king. Incensed at feeling that he had been cheated out of his money, the ferryman started striking the ascetic; his wife, coming along with his food, tried to stop him. Thereupon he struck her, upsetting the food and causing her womb to miscarry. He was brought before the king and punished.

Good advice is wasted on fools, like fine gold on beasts.

The story was told regarding a foolish ferryman of Aciravatī. When a certain monk came to him one evening to be taken across the river, the ferryman was annoyed and steered so badly that he wet the monk’s robes and delayed him. The two ferrymen were the same (J.iii.228‑32).

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