Once a tiger was sleeping in front of a snake’s hole, The snake came out, bit and killed the tiger. Meanwhile a great hermit out on a journey happened to wander past that place. Because his heart was so kind, he revived the tiger back to life.
The tiger, whom the great hermit had cured, said, “I was well and fast asleep. Why do you awaken me? Because of that I need to eat you.”
The great hermit replied: “You had been sleeping in front of a snake’s hole, and the snake bit you and you died. I have restored your life. Why do you want to eat me?”
The tiger and the great hermit had a dispute with each other. Hence they asked the jackal for help. The tiger and the great hermit explained what the dispute was. The jackal thought: “If I judge that the tiger loses the case, I won’t be able to depend on his power in this forest anymore.” That the jackal judged the case like this was due to his bias caused by love or desire (chandāgati).
The great hermit did not accept this resolution. Then they found a cow judge and told him what happened. The cow judge reckoned that, “If I do not help the tiger, he will hate me and eat me.” So the cow helped the tiger to win. His judgment was biased by fear (bhayāgati).
Then the great hermit asked a monkey for help. The monkey thought: “In the past, a man had fallen into the well and my father helped him; however that crafty man ate my father.” The monkey’s judgment was clouded by hatred or enmity (dosāgati).
The fourth judge was a buzzard. He thought to himself, “Currently I often get my food from the remains of a tiger’s meal. If I decide against the tiger, he will be angry with me. How will I be able to get my food from him?” The buzzard’s judgment was biased by his greed or desire (lophāgati).
The great hermit disagreed again and he went to a tree spirit who thought, “People walking in the forest and taking shelter always break and cut off the leaves.” So the tree spirit judged in favor of the tiger. His judgment was biased by delusion or stupidity (Mohāgati).
But the great hermit did not accept this judgment. He asked Judge Rabbit for help and explained what happened again to the rabbit. The great hermit said, “This tiger who was sleeping in front of the snake’s hole was killed by the snake’s bite. I returned him to life by using my magic charm. However he is ungrateful. Now he wants to eat me anyway. Please, sir, consider this case and help me.”
The tiger explained: “While I was comfortably sleeping, the great hermit awakens me. Consequently I am tempted to eat him. He did not accept this. He asked the jackal, the cow, the monkey, the buzzard and the tree spirit for help; and all these judges decided for me. Please help me.”
Hearing the great hermit’s and the tiger’s explanations, Judge Rabbit considered them, relying on his intelligence. He gave the following order: “Let the great hermit and Brother Tiger go back to where this incident happened, and I will judge it again.” They also agreed and went back there.
When the great hermit and the tiger approached that place, the tiger went to sleep on the snake’s hole again. After a while the snake came out, bit the tiger who then died. Then Judge Rabbit advised the great hermit, “Please look at that tiger. Due to his ingratitude he has died of his own accord. From now on, don’t be so generous to a tiger.” This judgment of Judge Rabbit was based upon his independent, fair and honest way of thinking.