Kunāla, king of the Citrakokilas, though well served by his hen birds, always despised them and found fault with them. The king of the Phussakokilas, Punnamukha, on the other hand, always sang the praises of his escort. One day the two kings met, and Punnamukha asked Kunāla why he was not more gracious to his ladies. "Because I know too much about women," was the answer; but Punnamakha was not in a mood to discuss the matter any more.
Later, Punnamukha fell ill, and his hen birds deserted him and came to Kunāla. He drove them away, ministered to Punnamukha, and cheered him. Some time after, Kunāla, seated on the Manosilātala in Himavā (according to Buddhaghosa, D.ii.675, this was on the banks of the Kunāladaha), started to tell his friend of the wickedness of women. Hearing of this, many inhabitants of numerous worlds came to listen to him, among them Ananda, king of the vultures, and the ascetic Nārada. Many were the instances given by Kunāla to illustrate the deceitfulness, ingratitude and immorality of women - among them the stories of
Kunāla's diatribe was followed by Ananda's, and his by Nārada's, each claiming to speak from facts within their knowledge.
In the stories related by Kunāla, the bird-king is identified with one of the characters concerned in each story, so that he was able to speak with authority. Thus he was
Punnamukha is identified with Udāyī, the vulture-king with Ananda and Nārada with Sāriputta.
The preaching of the Kunāla Jātaka was followed by that of the Mahāsamaya Sutta.
This Jātaka was related in order to destroy the discontent that rose in the hearts of the Sākiyan youths, kinsmen of the Buddha, who, having entered the Order, were troubled by the thought of the wives they had left behind. The Buddha therefore took them to the Himalaya, showed them the magnificent beauty of the region, particularly the miraculous splendours of the Kunāladaha, and there preached to them. At the end of the Jātaka they all became arahants. We are told that that very day they became arahants (J.v.412-56; also DA.ii.674ff; AA.i.173).
See also the Cūla Kunāla Jātaka.