Why the Buddha Suffered

[4. Slander]


Catutthapañhe, abbhakkhānan-ti abhi visesena akkosanaṁ paribhāsanaṁ.
In the fourth enquiry, (called) slander, (we hear about) especially great abuse and censuring.

Atīte kira Bodhisatto Brāhmaṇakule uppanno,
In the past, it seems, the Buddha-to-be was reborn in a Brahminical family,

bahussuto bahūhi sakkato pūjito.
and was very learned, much respected and worshipped. His name at that time was Sutavā, as is recorded in the verses below.1

Tāpasapabbajjaṁ pabbajitvā,
Having gone forth in the recluses' going-forth,

Himavante vanamūlaphalāhāro,
while living on forest roots and fruits in the Himālaya, Himavanta; having snow, it is another name for the Himālaya, the place of snow. In the verses the place is called the Great Wood, but there are several woods so named in the texts, perhaps it was the Wood near to Kapilavatthu, which was on the edge of the Himālayas.2

bahumāṇave mante vācento vāsaṁ kappesi.
he spent his time teaching the mantras The brahminical verses collected in the Vedas.3 to many students.

Eko pañcābhiññā-aṭṭhasamāpattilābhī tāpaso
One recluse, Named Bhīma below.4 who had the five deep knowledges and the eight attainments

tassa santikaṁ agamāsi.
came (to stay) near to him.

So taṁ disvā va, issāpakato, taṁ adūsakaṁ isiṁ:
Having seen him, being jealous by nature, he slandered that innocent seer (saying):

“Kāmabhogī kuhako ayaṁ isī” ti abbhācikkhi,
“This seer is a deceitful sensualist,”

attano sisse ca āha: “Ayaṁ isi evarūpo anācārako.” ti
and his pupils also said: “This seer is surely immoral.”

Te pi tam-eva akkosiṁsu paribhāsiṁsu.
They therefore abused and censured him.


So tena akusalakammavipākena,
Through that unwholesome deed and its result,

vassasahassāni Niraye dukkham-anubhavitvā,
after undergoing suffering in Niraya hell for many thousands of years,

imasmiṁ pacchimattabhāve Buddho hutvā, lābhaggayasaggappatto,
and becoming a Buddha in this his last state, and attaining the highest gains and fame,

ākāse puṇṇacando viya pākaṭo jāto.
he became famous and was like the full moon in the sky.

Tatheva titthiyā abbhakkhānena pi asantuṭṭhā,
Right there and then through slander the dissatisfied sectarians,

puna pi Sundarikā abbhakkhānaṁ kāretvā,
after making Sundarī slander (him) again,

surādhutte pakkosāpetvā lañjaṁ datvā:
summoning and bribing some drunken scoundrels,

“Tumhe Sundariṁ māretvā,
gave the order (saying): “After murdering Sundarī,

Jetavanadvārasamīpe mālakacavarena chādethā” ti PTS: chādetvā ṭhapethā ti; an awkward phrase, having thrown her near the rubbish tip, place (her) aside?5 āṇāpesuṁ.
throw her by the rubbish tip near the entrance to Jeta's Wood.”

Te tathā kariṁsu.
And that they did.


Tato titthiyā: “Sundariṁ na passāmā” ti Rañño ārocesuṁ.
Afterwards the sectarians informed the King saying: “We cannot find Lit: Do not see.6 Sundarī.”

Rājā: “Pariyesathā” ti āha.
The King said: “Search for her”.

Te attanā pātitaṭṭhānato gahetvā,
After retrieving her from the place where she was thrown,

mañcakaṁ āropetvā rañño dassetvā,
bringing the bier and showing the King, (they said):

“Passatha, bho, samaṇassa Gotamassa sāvakānaṁ kamman!”-ti
“Look, dear Sir, at what the ascetic Gotama's disciples have done!”

Bhagavato bhikkhusaṅghassa ca,
(Then) about the Gracious One and his Community of monks,

sakalanagare avaṇṇaṁ ugghosentā vicariṁsu,
they went round shouting out dispraise in the whole town,

Sundariṁ āmakasusāne aṭṭake ṭhapesuṁ.
and placed Sundarī on a platform in the charnel ground. The disposal of the body would be taken care of by birds and animals, as in the so-called 'sky-burials' of the Tibetans and the Parsees.7

Rājā: “Sundarimārake pariyesathā!” ti āṇāpesi.
The King gave the order (saying): “Seek for Sundarī's murderer!”

Tadā dhuttā sūraṁ pivitvā,
Then after the scoundrels had drunk liquor,

“Tvaṁ Sundariṁ māresi, tvaṁ māresī” ti kalahaṁ kariṁsu.
they made a commotion (accusing each other, saying): “You murdered Sundarī, you murdered (her)!”

Rājapurisā te dhutte gahetvā, Rañño dassesuṁ.
The King's men, after arresting the scoundrels, brought Lit: showed.8 them to the King.

Rājā: “Kiṁ, bhaṇe, tumhehi Sundarī māritā?” ti
The King said: “Look here, did you murder Sundarī?”

“Āma, devā.” ti
“Yes, your majesty.”

“Kehi āṇattā?” ti
“The order was given by whom?”

“Titthiyehi, devā.” ti
“By the sectarians, your majesty.”

Rājā titthiye āharāpetvā bandhāpetvā:
The King, after having the sectarians brought and bound

“Gacchatha, bhaṇe: 'Buddhassa avaṇṇatthāya
said: “Look here, go and shout it out, saying: 'In order to bring the Buddha into disrepute

amhehi sayam-eva Sundarī mārāpitā,
we ourselves had Sundarī murdered,

Bhagavā tassa sāvakā ca akārakā' ti ugghosathā” ti āha.
the Gracious One and his disciples didn't do it.”

Te tathā akaṁsu.
And that they did.


Sakalanagaravāsino nikkaṅkhā ahesuṁ.
All the town-dwellers regained confidence.

Rājā titthiye ca dhutte ca mārāpetvā chaḍḍāpesi.
The King, after executing the sectarians and the scoundrels, had (their bodies) thrown aside.

Tato Bhagavato bhiyyosomattāya lābhasakkāro vaḍḍhi.
Then the Gracious One's gains and respect grew enormously.

Tena vuttaṁ:
Therefore it is said:


Brāhmaṇo Sutavā āsiṁ ahaṁ sakkatapūjito,
As the brahmin Sutavā I was (greatly) respected and worshipped,

Mahāvane pañcasate mante vācesi māṇave. [73]
I taught the mantras to my five hundred students in the Great Wood.

Tatthāgato isī Bhīmo, pañcābhiñño mahiddhiko,
The seer Bhīma who had five knowledges and great power came there,

Taṁ cāhaṁ āgataṁ disvā, abbhācikkhiṁ adūsakaṁ, [74]
And having seen him coming, I slandered that innocent (seer),

Tatohaṁ avacaṁ sisse: 'Kāmabhogī ayaṁ isi'.
Thereupon I said to my pupils: 'This seer is a sensualist'. Lit: one who enjoys sense pleasures.9

Mayham-pi bhāsamānassa anumodiṁsu māṇavā. [75]
And (all) of the students rejoiced in that (unwholesome) speech of mine.

Tato māṇavakā sabbe bhikkhamānaṁ kulākule,
Thence all the students as they begged for alms from family to family,

Mahājanassa āhaṁsu: 'Kāmabhogī ayaṁ isi'; [76]
Said to the great (body) of people: 'This seer is a sensualist';

Tena kammavipākena pañcabhikkhusatā ime
Through that deed and through its result these monks (numbering) five hundred

Abbhakkhānaṁ labhuṁ sabbe Sundarikāya kāraṇā. ti [77]
All received (abundant) slander at the hands of Sundarikā.