Why the Buddha Suffered

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[5. Pierced by a Rock]

In the fifth enquiry, called pierced by a rock, we hear about how being angry Mahāniddesa-aṭṭhakathā: āhatacittatan-ti kodhena pahatacittabhāvaṁ; āhatacittataṁ means being in a state overcome by anger.01 Devadatta threw a rock.

In the past, it seems, the Buddha-to-be was the youngest brother of the children of one Father. This implies that the Father had children by more than one wife.02 When the Father passed away, Lit: at the end of the Father.03 making a commotion on account of the servants the brothers became opposed to each other. The Buddha-to-be, who was himself endowed with great strength, after overcoming his younger brother, threw a rock and killed him.

Through that deed and its result, after undergoing suffering in the Naraka hell and so on for countless thousands of years, he became a Buddha in this his last state of existence.

Formerly Devadatta, prince Rāhula's uncle, He was Prince Siddhattha's wife's brother; he was also the Buddha's cousin, a Father's Brother's son. 04 was a merchant together with the Buddha-to-be in the time of the Seri merchant story. The reference is to the famous Serivāṇijajātaka, Jā 3, which was the occasion for Devadatta to form an animosity for the Buddha-to-be that was to last up and till his last life. What follows is based on that story.05 Having reached the Paṭṭana village Not listed in DPPN, but in the Jātaka they are said to have been in the Andha country (modern-day Andhra Pradesh).06 they said: “You take one street, and I will take one street,” and they entered by two different ways.

In the street by which Devadatta entered there were two people: an elderly merchant's wife and her grand-daughter. They had a large golden plate that had become stained that was set aside inside an earthenware vessel, and not knowing it was a golden plate, she said: “Take this plate, and give a trinket for my grand-daughter.”

Having taken it and scratched it with a needle he knew it was a golden plate. Thinking: “I will take it later after giving her very little”, he went away.

Then after seeing the Buddha-to-be approach her door, summoning and making him sit down, and giving him the plate, she said: “Take this and give a trinket to my grand-daughter from your basket.”

The Buddha-to-be, after taking it and knowing it to be a golden plate understood she is deceived about it, and from his purse he set aside eight pennies, and gave the rest of his goods, He set aside eight pennies for his boat ride, and gave the rest of his money and goods.07 and also gave a trinket from his basket to the young girl as an ornament for her hands, and then he went away.

The first merchant having returned asked her for the plate, but she said: “Son, I cannot give it, having given this and that to my child he took it and went away.” Having heard that, like someone with a broken heart, he ran along after him. The Buddha-to-be had already got onto a boat. Saying: “Stop, don't go, don't go!” But the Buddha-to-be had already gone.08 he made a wish: “May I be able to destroy him in whatever state he re-arises!”

Because of that wish they harrassed one another in countless hundreds of thousands of lives. Arising in the Sakya family in this existence the Gracious One by and by attained omniscience. While living near Rājagaha The Sakyans actually went forth in Anupiya in the Malla state (see Vinaya Cullavagga VII for the story), only after that did they go to Rājagaha, around 250 kilometres away.09 Devadatta went forth in the presence of the Gracious One together with Anuruddha and so on, and attained the absorptions. Being famous he begged the Gracious One for a boon, saying: “Venerable Sir, let the whole of the Community of monks undertake the thirteen austerities, From the Vinaya account (Vinaya Cullavagga, VII, near the end of the second bhāṇavāra) it appears that he did not ask the Buddha for the monks to undertake the thirteen austerities, but to abide by five rules: they should dwell all their lives in the forest, live entirely on alms obtained by begging, wear only robes made of discarded rags, dwell at the foot of a tree and abstain completely from fish and flesh (this last one is not part of the thirteen austerities). The Buddha refused to make these compulsory.10 let the whole of my Devadatta seems already to be claiming leadership of the Community.11 Community of monks bear them.”

But the Gracious One didn't give permission.

Devadatta was overcome Lit: bound with.12 with hatred and lost the absorptions. Desiring to murder the Gracious One, one day while the Gracious One was standing at the foot of Mt. Vebhāra, According to other accounts he was on the slopes of Vulture's Peak (Gijjhakūta).13 he threw a rock at him while standing on the top of the mountain.

Through the power of the Gracious One another mountain Which miraculously sprang up.14 caught it as it fell, but a splinter broke off and struck him giving a blow to the Gracious One's toes.

Therefore it is said:

In the distant past I killed my half-brother In Pāḷi it is more specific: one with a different Mother but the same Father.15 for the sake of wealth,
I threw him in an inaccessible mountain, and crushed him with a rock;

Through that deed and its result Devadatta threw a rock at me,
Which crushed the big toe on my foot with a shard which was made of stone.