Cave No. 9
Identification: episode 3 by Schlingloff (1993, p. 10 f.), 1 and 2 by Zin 2000.—
Once a nāga (serpent) called Paṇḍara revealed the secret of guarding against the nāga-devouring garuḍas (eagles) to an ascetic friend. But the ascetic divulged the secret to the garuḍa. Hence, the garuḍa captured the nāga. When crying Paṇḍara narrated the false ascetic’s betrayal to the garuḍa, the latter advised Paṇḍara never to share secrets with anyone. Thus, Paṇḍara’s life was spared because garuḍa had already made him a disciple by imparting a teaching.—Paṇḍara, the serpent, was none other than the Buddha in his former existence.