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The Jātaka:
Stories of the Buddha's Former Births
Volume II

Book 2: Dukanipāta

No. 247


Translated from the Pāli by
W.H.D Rouse, M.A., Sometime Fellow of Christ's College, Cambridge
Under the Editorship of Professor E. B. Cowell
Published 1969 For the Pāli Text Society.
First Published by The Cambridge University Press in 1895

This work is in the Public Domain. The Pali Text Society owns the copyright."



"Surely this lad," etc. — This story the Master told while dwelling in Jetavana, about the Elder Lā'udāyi.

One day, it is said, the two chief disciples were discussing a question. The Brethren who heard the discussion praised the Elders. Elder Lā'udāyi, who sat amongst the company, curled his lip with the thought — "What is their knowledge compared with mine?" When the Brethren noticed this, they left him. The company broke up.

The Brethren were talking about it in the Hall of Truth. "Friend, did you see how Lā'udāyi curled his lip in scorn of the two chief disciples?" On hearing which the Master said, "Brethren, in olden days, as now, Lā'udāyi had no other answer but a curl of the lip." Then he told them an old-world tale.



[264] Once upon a time, when king Brahmadatta was reigning in Benares, the Bodhisatta was his adviser in things spiritual and temporal. Now the king had a son, Pādañjali by name, an idle lazy loafer. By and bye the king died. His obsequies over, the courtiers talked of consecrating his son Pādañjali to be king. But the Bodhisatta said,

"'Tis a lazy fellow, an idle loafer, — shall we take and consecrate him king?"

The courtiers held a trial. They sat the youth down before them, and made a wrong decision. They adjudged something to the wrong owner, and asked him, "Young sir, do we decide rightly?"

The lad curled his lip.

"He is a wise lad, I think," thought the Bodhisatta; "he must know that we have decided wrongly:" and he recited the first verse:—

"Surely the lad is wise beyond all men.
He curls his lip — he must see through us, then!"


Next day, as before, they arranged a trial, but this time judged it aright. Again they asked him what he thought of it.

Again he curled his lip. Then the Bodhisatta perceived that he was blind fool, and repeated the second verse:—

"Not right from wrong, nor bad from good he knows:
He curls his lip — but no more sense he shows."

The courtiers became aware that the young man Pādañjali was a fool, and they made the Bodhisatta king.



When the Master had ended this discourse, he identified the Birth: "Lā'udāyi was Pādañjali, and I was the wise courtier."


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