Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Story Of The Buddha & Buddhism ( Part 45 - 48 )

Part 45

A general, a fresh convert to Buddhism, offering meals to the Buddha

A General called "Siha" of Vesali was an important lay devotee of the teacher known as Nigantha Nataputta. He heard of the virtues of the three gems namely, the Buddha, the Doctrine and the Order from a gathering of Licchavi princes. Accordingly he asked his teacher to allow him to go to the Buddha, but was not allowed to go. He asked for permission for the second time but it was again refused. On the third occasion, however, without asking for permission he proceeded to where the Buddha was, with many followers in five hundred chariots.

When he came to where the Buddha was he asked the Buddha several questions on points which were not clear to him and was thoroughly satisfied with the answers given. He then said, "I take my refuge, Lord, in the Buddha, the Doctrine and the Order. May the Lord receive me as a disciple who, form this day forth while his life lasts, has taken his refuge in them?". After that the General requested the Buddha to visit his house on the morrow together with his retinue of monks to partake of food. He then, out of a very generous heat, served them with and excellent meal the next morning at his house.

Part 46

Devadatta's plan to get more alms by winning over Ajatasattu

Soon after he had ordained as a monk, Venerable Devadatta practised meditation and attained superhuman power and even the six higher psychic powers. Because he possessed these powers he wanted to become a rival and take the Buddha's place as the leader. Being eager for gain and honour he thought he would achieve his purpose by winning over Prince Ajatasattu, still a youth but with sure prospects of accession to the throne. Devadatta assumed the form of a lad with a girdle of snakes, and terrified Adjatasattu by appearing in his lap. He then comforted the Prince saying, "Oh, Prince, don't get alarmed. I am the person known as Venerable Devadatta"; He then assumed is proper form as a monk with the bowl and robes, and stood in front of the prince. Ajatasattu marveling at the wonder paid him great honour, and sent him 500 dishes daily. Devadatta secured more than enough alms according to his original plan.

Part 47

Prince Ajatasattu ordering that the soles of his father's feet be cut open with a knife

Venerable Devadatta instigated Prince Ajatasattu to kill his father King Bimbisara as he thought that, if the Prince became King in succession to his father, he would be able to take the place of the Buddha. The Prince was of the view that whatever his teacher Devadatta said was good, and was on his way to carry out his plan to murder his father. His father questioned him and the Prince admitted that he plotted to kill him because he wanted to become King. King Bimbisara gave up the throne in his favour.

After that, Venerable Devadatta told him that he would be able to rule without any risk of losing the throne only if his father was no longer alive. Prince Ajatasattu was impressed with this suggestion. But he did not wish to kill his father straightway. So he caused his father to be cast in prison. At first, the Prince's mother, the Queen was permitted to visit the King in person and he could take his meals. But, finally, the Queen was not permitted to visit the King any more, and the King kept himself fit by walking up and down inside the prison. Ajatasattu, however, ordered that the soles of the King's feet be cut open with a knife that he could not walk.

Part 48

King Ajatasattu asking his mother whether his father loved him

King Bimbisara died soon after the soles of his feet had been cut open with a knife. At the same time a son had been born to King Ajatasattu. The courtiers brought two messages: one, about the death of his father and the other about the birth of his son. The first presented him the message about the birth of his son. Love sprang in his heart upon his new-born son, right from the very marrow of his bones. He then began to have sympathy for his father, placing himself in the position of his father with regard to himself when he was a baby.

He, therefore, gave the order:-"Set free my father at once";. But the countries presented to him the message of his father's death, and he regretted very much for his hasty action. He, therefore, went to his mother and asked her, "Mother, did my father love me when I was a baby?"; The Queen Mother then said, "What a question you have asked?"; "When you were young burst inside his mouth and pus came out; even then instead of spitting the matter out he swallowed it lest it would cause you pain by taking the finger out". When she said this, both the mother and the son wept together