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Tittira Jātaka (No.37, 117, 319)

1. Tittira Jātaka (No.37).– There were once three friends, a partridge (tittira), a monkey and an elephant. Discovering that the partridge was the oldest of them, they honoured him as their teacher and he gave them counsel. Their conduct came to be called the Tittiriya-brahmacariya. The Bodhisatta was the partridge, Mahā-Moggallāna the elephant, and Sāriputta the monkey.

The story was related in reference to the failure of the Chabbaggiyā to show due respect to Sāriputta. Once, when he visited them in company with the Buddha, they refused to provide him with lodging, and he had to sleep under a tree. J.i.217 ff; cp. Vin.ii.161; Avadāna S.ii.17.

2. Tittira Jātaka (No.117).– The Bodhisatta was once a leader of five hundred ascetics. One day, a talkative ascetic approached a jaundiced colleague who was chopping wood and worried him by giving him directions on how to do it. The ill man killed him with one blow of the axe. Soon after, a partridge, who used to sing on an anthill nearby, was killed by a fowler. The Bodhisatta pointed out to his followers how the death of both was due to their talking too much.

The story was told in reference to Kokālika, who is identified with the chattering ascetic. J.i.431 f.

3. Tittira Jātaka (No.319).– Once the Bodhisatta was a brahmin ascetic, and Rāhula a decoy partridge used by a village fowler. When the partridge uttered a cry, other partridges would flock to him, and they were killed by the fowler. The partridge was filled with remorse, fearing that he was doing wrong. One day he met the Bodhisatta who set his doubts at rest.

The story was told in reference to Rāhula’s readiness to profit by instruction (J.iii.64 ff). It was related by Moggaliputta-Tissa to Asoka, to prove to him that an action becomes a crime only when performed with bad intention. Mhv.v.264.

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