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Supatta Jātaka (No.292)

The Bodhisatta was once a crow, named Supatta, king of eighty-four thousand crows: His chief mate was Suphassā and his chief companion Sumukha. One day, while Supatta and Suphassā were out looking for food, they noticed that the king’s cook had prepared a host of dishes and had left some of them out in the open to cool. Suphassā sniffed at the food but said nothing. The next day, however, she wished to stay behind and taste some of the king’s food. Supatta consulted his captain, and they went with a large number of crows, whom they set in groups round the kitchen. As the cook was taking the dishes on a pingo, Sumukha, as arranged, attacked him with beak and claw and made him drop them. Then the crows ate their fill and flew away with food for Supatta and Suphassā. Sumukha was caught and taken before the king, who has seen what had happened. When questioned by the king, he told him the whole story and said that he would gladly lose his life for his king, Supatta. The king sent for Supatta and listened to his teaching, and, thereafter protecting all creatures, practised the good life.

The story was told in reference to Sāriputta, who had obtained from Pasenadi a meal of red rice and new ghee, flavoured with red fish, because he had been informed by Rāhula that Bimbādevi (Rāhulamātā) suffered from gastric trouble and would be cured by this food.

The king of Bārāṇasī is identified with Ānanda, Sumukha with Sāriputta, and Suphassā with Rāhulamātā. J.ii.433‑6.

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