Why the Buddha Suffered

[8. Cut with a Knife]


Aṭṭhamapañhe, satthacchedo ti satthena gaṇḍaphālanaṁ kuṭhārāya satthena chedo.
In the eighth enquiry, (called) cut with a knife, (we hear about how) an abscess was lanced with a knife, how with a knife, or a scalpel, it was cut.

Atīte kira Bodhisatto paccantadese Rājā ahosi.
In the past, it seems, the Buddha-to-be was a King in a border country.

So dujjanasaṁsaggavasena paccantadese,
Through association with bad people in the border country,

vāsavasena ca dhutto sāhasiko,
and because of living with a violent scoundrel,

ekadivasaṁ khaggahattho pattiko va nagare vicaranto
one day while walking through the town on foot with a sword in his hand

nirāparādhe jane khaggena phālento agamāsi.
he went around cutting guiltless people down with the sword.


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

bahūni vassasahassāni Niraye paccitvā,
after boiling in Niraya hell for many thousands of years,

tiracchānādīsu dukkham-anubhavitvā,
and undergoing suffering in the animal world and so on,

pakkāvasesena pacchimattabhāve Buddhabhūto pi
through the remainder of the result (of that deed), after becoming the Buddha in his last state of existence,

heṭṭhā vuttanayena
it is recorded that while he was below Walking on the slopes of Gijjhakūta near Rājagaha.1

Devadattena khittapāsāṇasakalikapahārena uṭṭhitagaṇḍo ahosi.
Devadatta struck a blow with a stone splinter he had thrown and an abscess arose (on his foot).

Jīvako mettacittena taṁ gaṇḍaṁ phālesi.
Jīvaka The Buddha was carried in great pain to the Mango Wood where Jīvaka Komārabhacca, who acted as physician for the Buddha and for the monks, treated him.2 lanced that abscess with his mind full of loving-kindness.

Veracittassa Devadattassa ruhiruppādakammaṁ anantarikaṁ ahosi,
Through that deed of causing blood to flow (in a Buddha) there was a (result) immediately (after this life) for Devadatta, Anantarika, means a deed that causes a result that follows immediately and irrecoverably after this life (not immediately after the deed itself), and this happened before some of the other attacks Devadatta made on the Buddha. Eventually the ground opened and Devadatta fell into the Avīci (unmitigated) hell, where, it is said, he will suffer for one hundred thousand kappas, before being reborn and becoming an Independent Buddha called Atthissara.3 whose mind was full of hate,

mettacittassa Jīvakassa gaṇḍaphālanaṁ puññam-eva ahosi.
through lancing that abscess there was (great) merit for Jīvaka, whose mind was full of loving-kindness. There is an interesting emphasis on the state of mind in this sentence. Devadatta and Jīvaka both did the same thing: they cut the Buddha's foot, but one acted out of hatred and the other out of loving-kindness, and so the result was different.4

Tena vuttaṁ:
Therefore it is said:


Rājāhaṁ pattiko āsiṁ sattiyā purise haniṁ;
(When) I was a King (going round) on foot I killed men with my sword;

Tena kammavipākena Niraye paccasiṁ bhusaṁ, [84]
Through that deed and its result I suffered much in Niraya hell,

Kammuno tassa sesena, idāni sakalaṁ mama
Through the remainder of that deed, at this time all the (unbroken)

Pāde chaviṁ pakappesi SHB: Pāde satthapaṇāmesi; PTS: Pāde satthaṁ paṇāmesi; he stretched out a knife on my foot?5 – na hi kammaṁ vinassatī. ti [85]
Skin on my foot was cut – deeds are never destroyed (without result). Not destroyed without producing results first, is what is meant.6