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Buddha said Sutra of the Cause Devadatta Threw a Rock, No. 7

Buddha said Sutra of the Cause Devadatta Threw a Rock

佛說 地婆達兜擲石緣經 第七

(Fu shuo di po da dou zhi shi yuan jing)

 

Thus have I heard, at one time, five-hundred great arhats accompanied the Buddha, who had the wisdom of unsurpassed perfect enlightenment, at the site of Anavatapta. Except for Ananda, all the Buddha’s disciples were great arhats, each possessing the six supernormal powers.

 

At that time, the Buddha told his disciple Śāriputra: “A long time ago, there was a town called Rajagṛha, in which lived the Sudanta family, whose father was extremely wealthy. He had great treasures, many jewels, and many animals, including elephants and horses. There were also many servants working in his household. The Sudanta family had a son named Sumati. Upon the father’s death, Sumati had access to his father’s wealth. However, Sumati had a half-brother named Surya. Not wanting to share the wealth with his brother, Sumati plotted to get the whole inheritance for himself and started to plan how he could get rid of his brother. One day, Sumati made a proposal to Surya: ‘Brother, let us visit the Gṛdhrakūṭa mountain and discuss how we will share our inheritance.’ Surya unsuspectingly agreed. However, when they reached the mountain peak, Sumati seized the opportunity and pushed his half-brother down the cliff. He then shoved a rock off the cliff so it would fall on Surya’s body and ensure his death.’”

 

After the Buddha had finished telling the story, he turned to Śāriputra and said: “Śāriputra, do you know who that wealthy father of the Sudanta family was? That wealthy father was the father of my own current life. Brother Sumati was me at that time. Buddhist Monk Devadatta was once Surya.”

The Buddha went on to tell Śāriputra: “I killed my own brother in the past because of my greed. I suffered in hell for an infinite period in retribution for my sinful act in the past. I was constantly burned and stabbed by metallic mountains on my body that tore my flesh while I was in hell. Although I have now become a Buddha, I still cannot waive this past karmic retribution of mine. For this reason, Devadatta threw a massive rock at me from the top of the Gṛdhrakūṭa mountain while we were out doing Chan walking (Caṅkramati; 行禪) on the mountain's slopes. The deva of the mountain, Kimbila, protected me by catching the rock with his hands. Still, a chip from the rock ricochet up from the ground and hit the sole of my foot making a cut that instantly bled.”

 

The Buddha then said the following verses: “All these incidents occurred because, in my greed to have all the inheritance, I murdered my brother, Surya. I threw the rock that caused his death. Because of this deed, my retribution was deserved, causing me to fall into hell and to suffer for a long time, where the metallic mountain stabbed me many times. After I had served the terms of my punishment in hell, the punishhment remaining for me was to have Devadatta’s huge rock crack my toe. The cause and effect of our past deeds do not disappear into the void. That is why we must be cautious about the three ways in which karmas are produced, namely through our bodily actions, our speech, and our thoughts. I have already achieved Buddhahood, as the Honored One of the three realms, at the site of Anavatapta, I now share the cause and the conditions of my past with you.”

 

The Buddha then said to Śāriputra: “As you can see, I am a Buddha now. I have no negative karma, and I have perfected all the necessary merits. My teachings extend to the celestial gods, dragons, spirits, kings, ministers, and all sentient beings. However, even I cannot escape the past karmic sins I committed. How can ignorant or unenlightened ordinary beings, who have yet to attain the fruits of liberation, avoid their karmas? Śāriputra, I share this example with you as I wish to teach all sentient beings so that all of you will learn from it and heed your own bodily actions, speech, and thoughts."

 

When the Buddha had finished his sermon, the five hundred arhats, Great nāga king, the celestial beings, all the ghosts and spirits, including the eight types of spiritual beings, such as gandharva, dragon, asura, garuḍa, kiṃnara, and mahoraga who were listening, all joyfully accepted the Buddha's teachings, and they endeavored to practice accordingly. 

 


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