Once the Bodhisatta was a brahmin youth named Kārandiya, in Benares. He became the chief pupil of a world-famed teacher in Takkasilā, who was in the habit of preaching the moral law to whomever he met regardless of their fitness to receive it. One day Kārandiya was sent with his colleagues by his teacher to accept some cakes offered by the inhabitants of a village and to bring the teacher's share. On the way back Kārandiya saw a cave and started throwing stones into it. Told of this by the other boys, the teacher questioned Kārandiya, who replied that it was his ambition to make the whole world level. If his teacher thought he could make the whole world moral, why should he himself not make it level? The teacher understood and accepted the lesson.
The story was told in reference to Sāriputta who preached to all who came to him, including even hunters and fishermen. They listened to him with respect, but failed to follow his teaching. On the remonstrance of his colleagues Sāriputta was offended, and the matter came to the Buddha's knowledge.
Sāriputta is identified with the teacher of old. J.iii.170-4.