We read in the 'Discourse on Fools and the Wise' (Middle Length Sayings Ill,
129) that the Buddha, when he was staying in the Jeta Grove, in
Anāthapindika's monastery, spoke to the monks about the sufferings in hell
and about the anguishes of animal birth. The Buddha said:
'In many a disquisition could I, monks, talk a talk about animal birth,
but it is not easy to describe in full, monks,
so many are the anguishes of animal birth.
Monks, it is like a man who might throw a yoke with one hole into the sea.
An easterly wind might take it westwards,
a westerly wind might take it eastwards,
a northerly wind might take it southwards,
a southerly wind might take it northwards.
There might be a blind turtle there
who came to the surface once in a hundred years.
What do you think about this, monks?
Could that blind turtle push his neck through that one hole in the yoke?'
'lf at all, revered sir, then only once in a very long while.'
'Sooner or later, monks,
could the blind turtle push his neck through the one hole in the yoke;
more difficult than that, do I say, monks,
is human status once again for the fool who has gone to the Downfall.
What is the cause of that?
Monks, there is no dhamma-faring there,
no even-faring, no doing of what is skilled, no doing of what is good.
Monks, there is devouring of one another there and feeding on the weak.
Monks, if some time or other once in a very long while
that fool came to human status (again),
he would be born into those families that are low:
a family of low caste or a family of hunters or a family of bamboo-plaiters
or a family of cartwrights or a family of refuse-scavengers,
in such a family as is needy, without enough to drink or to eat,
where a covering for the back is with difficulty obtained.
Moreover, he would be illfavoured, ugly, dwarfish,
sickly, blind or deformed or lame or paralysed;
he would be unable to get food, drink, clothes, vehicles,
garlands, scents and perfumes, bed, dwelling and lights;
he would fare wrongly in body, wrongly in speech, wrongly in thought.
Because he had fared wrongly in body, speech and thought,
at the breaking up of the body after dying
he would arise in the sorrowful ways,
a bad bourn, the Downfall, Niraya Hell....
…This, monks, is the fool's condition, completed in its entirety...’