Why the Buddha Suffered

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[9. A Headache]

In the ninth enquiry, called a headache, we hear about how he had a pain in the head, or painful feeling in the head.

In the past, it seems, the Buddha-to-be was reborn as a fisherman in a fisherman’s village. One day, together with the fishermen he went to the place where they murder fish, and seeing fish being murdered, happiness arose right there, and also right there and then happiness arose for those he was with.

Through that unwholesome deed, after undergoing suffering in the four lower realms, in this his last state of existence, together with those men he was born in the Royal Sakya family, and by and by having attained to Buddhahood he suffered from pain in the head.

And about the Sakyan Royalty and their fate it is recorded in the discussion in the commentary to the Dhammapada: in the battle with Viḍūḍabha they all came to destruction. In the commentary to verse 47, entitled The Story of Viḍūḍabha (Viḍūḍabhavatthu).01

Therefore it is said:

Before I was a fisherman’s son in a fisherman’s village,
Having seen fish being killed it produced a little happiness;

Through that deed and through its result I had a great pain in my head,
And all the Sakyans were killed when they were slain by Viḍūḍabha.