Why the Buddha Suffered

download

[6. Pierced by a Splinter]

In the sixth enquiry, called pierced by a splinter, we hear about how he was struck by a splinter.

In the past, it seems, the Buddha-to-be was reborn in a certain family, and while playing on the main street during his childhood he saw an Independent Buddha walking along that street for alms and thought: “Where is this little shaveling ascetic going?” and taking a splinter of stone, he threw it at his toes. After cutting the skin on the toes blood flowed forth.

Through that wicked deed, after undergoing great suffering in Niraya hell for countless thousands of years, he became a Buddha. Because of the connection with that deed he was struck with a stone splinter on his toes and blood flowed forth. Lit: he suffered the arising of blood. The story again doesn't fit the verse, which tells that the Buddha was attacked by archers sent to kill him; they did not, however, manage to hurt him, and certainly did not cut his foot which belongs to the rock throwing incident, reported in the previous story.1

Therefore it is said:

Having become a boy in the past, while playing on the highway,
Seeing an Independent Buddha on the road, I threw a stone;

Through that deed and through its result here in this my last existence
Devadatta tried to kill me by employing evil bandits. Actually archers provided by King Ajātasattu. This last verse reads differently in SHB and PTS: through that deed and its result, when I had become a Buddha, Devadatta who was angry threw a rock (at me) in that place.2