Devadatta - Greatest Enemy of Buddha
Devadatta, one of the disciples of Lord Buddha, is also the greatest enemy of Buddha. He made many attempts to kill Gautama Buddha. One of the attempt to kill Buddha was by sending an elephant which was drugged. But the elephant keep calm when Lord Buddha
Devadatta was a Buddhist monk and was a cousin as well as brother-in-law of Gautama Buddha and was the brother of Ananda, one of the close disciples of Buddha. According to Pali Tipitaka, Devadatta was the greatest enemy of Lord Buddha and was believed to split the Sangha by persuading about 500 Buddhist monks who admired and followed him.
Devadatta was the son of Shakya King Suppabuddha and Queen Pamita and brother of Yasodhara (wife of Buddha ). He entered the order of Sangha at the same time as Ananda and other Shakya princes. Devadatta was quite jealous of Gautama Buddha.
Story of Devadatta
In early days, when Devadatta entered the order, he was a good monk and was known for his elegance and his psychic power. But he became quite arrogance and desire worldly fame. And when he became unable to attain arhat, his anger and jealousy grew even more and began thinking that he should be the leader of the Order of monks. One day he asked Lord Buddha to retire from the order and to make him the leader and take over the running of Sangha. But Lord Buddha declined immediately and said that he was not worthy of letting him take over the Order. And that was the main reason that triggered the anger, ill-will and jealousy of Devadatta towards Lord Buddha and became Buddha’s enemy.
Coup d'état of Devadatta
Prince Ajatasattu, son ofÂ King Bimbisara, was greatly impressed by the psychic power ofÂ DevadattaÂ and became theÂ discipleÂ ofÂ Devadatta. And whenÂ BuddhaÂ turned down his proposal,Â DevadattaÂ was full of anger and wanted to take revenge onÂ Lord Buddha. Then he encouragedÂ Prince AjatasattuÂ and made an evil plan to take revenge onÂ Lord BuddhaÂ and Prince would assume his position as the king ofÂ MagadhaÂ by killingÂ king Bimbisara. But being the devout ofÂ Buddha, he gave over the throne to the prince. After the prince became the king, he providedÂ DevadattaÂ with mercenaries and ordered them to killÂ Lord BuddhaÂ andÂ DevadattaÂ would take over theÂ Sangha.
The plan was to send two mercenaries to killÂ Lord Buddha, and those two will be killed by other four hired mercenaries and hire even more to kill the four mercenaries so that he could cover his tracks on the plan. But this plan failed since the hired mercenaries could do anything in front ofÂ Lord BuddhaÂ and were converted toÂ BuddhistÂ instead. The angeredÂ DevadattaÂ then decided to killÂ BuddhaÂ by himself. His first attempt to killÂ Lord BuddhaÂ was to throw a rock from high whileÂ Lord BuddhaÂ was walking on the mountain. But the rock broke into the pieces. His next attempt was letting an intoxicated elephant âNalagiriâ to killÂ Lord Buddha. But the elephant became calm when it appeared in front ofÂ Buddha.
Since the two attempts to killÂ Lord BuddhaÂ failed massively, he tried another deceitful plan by turning 500 misled monks so that he could split theÂ SanghaÂ Community. He proposed a list of few extra rules that must be made compulsory for all monks. They were:
â¢Â All monks must live in the forest
â¢ All monks must live on alms obtained from begging
â¢ All monks must wear robes made of discarded rags and accept no robes from laity
â¢ All monks must live at the foot of trees
â¢ All monks must not eat fish or meat
AndÂ BuddhaÂ responded by saying those who wants to follow the first four rules could follow them and didnât approve to make the rules mandatory. AndÂ DevadattaÂ used this chance to mislead the 500 monks and became the leader. LaterÂ SariputraÂ andÂ MoggallanaÂ on the order ofÂ BuddhaÂ went toÂ DevadattaÂ and taught the misled monks about the true meaning ofÂ DharmaÂ and became successful. And 500 monks returned to Lord Buddha upon hearing the true meaning of Dharma from the chief disciples of Lord Buddha.
After failing in every attempt to take revenge onÂ Buddha, he fell ill due to his evilÂ karma. At near death, he regretted his evil actions and seeks to seeÂ Lord BuddhaÂ before he died. But he died before he could seeÂ Lord Buddha.