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Setaketu Jātaka (No.377)

This Jātaka was related at Jetavana regarding a deceitful bhikkhu. The Bodhisatta was once a far famed teacher, with five hundred pupils, chief among whom was Setaketu, an Udicca-brahmin, who prided himself on his high caste. One day, meeting an outcaste (caṇḍāla), Setaketu told him to pass on his leeward side, but the outcaste refused, challenging Setaketu to answer a question. Setaketu accepted the challenge, and he was asked what were the four “quarters.” Setaketu gave the usual answer, whereupon the outcaste forced him between his feet. When this was reported to the teacher, he told Setaketu that the four quarters were parents, teachers, generous householders, and deliverance from misery. Later, Setaketu left for Takkasilā, and, after finishing his studies there, went to Bārāṇasī with five hundred ascetics. There they practised false penances and won the king’s approval; the king’s chaplain, however, warned him against them, saying that they possessed only false knowledge and had no morality. The chaplain persuaded Setaketu and his followers to become laymen and enter the king’s service.

The story was related in the same circumstances as the Uddālaka Jātaka (q.v.) Setaketu is identified with the deceitful bhikkhu, the outcaste with Sāriputta, and the king’s chaplain with the Bodhisatta. J.iii.232‑7.

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