Once a pious disciple of Kassapa Buddha went to sea with a barber who had been placed in his charge. The ship was wrecked, and together they swam by means of a plank to a desert island. There the barber killed some birds and ate them; but the lay disciple refused a share and meditated on the Three Jewels. The Nāga king of the island, moved by this, turned his body into a ship, and, with the Spirit of the Sea as helmsman, offered to take the lay disciple to Jambudīpa. The barber also wished to go, but his plea was refused because he was not holy. Thereupon the lay disciple made over to him the merits of his own virtues, and the barber was taken on board. Both were conveyed to Jambudīpa, where wealth was provided for them.
The story was related to a holy believer who, coming one day to Jetavana, found there none of the ferry boats which crossed the Aciravatī; not wishing to return, he started to walk across the river, his mind full of thoughts of the Buddha. In the middle he lost his train of thought, and was about to sink when he again put forth effort and crossed over. The Buddha, hearing of this, told him this story, and at its conclusion the man became a sakadāgāmī. The Nāga king was Sāriputta and the Sea spirit was the Bodhisatta. J.ii.111-113.