Sutra text from last issue: Good Star lied and said that all dharmas are empty...
Once, while that king was still a child, someone built a temple for the Buddha, complete with an elaborate Dharma Seat. When the seat was finished, but before the Buddha himself had ascended the platform to sit on it and speak Dharma, the child who was to be King Crystal climbed up and sat on it. The Buddha's disciples and the people of the Gautama clan who saw him all scolded him, saying, “You’re the son of a slave, how dare you sit in the Buddha’s seat?” Hearing them call him that, he was outraged, and he said to his attendant,“Wait until I’m the king and then remind me of what was said here today, lest I forget it. People from the Gautama clan say I’m the son of a slave. Remind me of that. I intend to get even.”
Later, when he was king, his attendant did remind him, and the King issued an edict that the entire Gautama clan was to be exterminated, including the Buddha himself. When Mahamaudgalyayana got wind of this, he went to the Buddha to report.“We have to think of a way to save them,” he said. But the Buddha didn’t say anything. So Maudgalyayana loosed his spiritual powers, put five hundred members of the Gautama clan into his precious bowl, and sent them to the heavens. He thought they’d be safe there. When the King had completed the extermination, Maudgalyayana told Shakyamuni Buddha, “I’ve got five hundred Gautamans in my bowl stashed away in the heavens, so the clan isn’t totally gone after all. I’ll bring them down now and let them go.” But when he’d recalled them and took a look in his bowl, he found nothing there but blood.“Why was I unable to save them?” asked the puzzled Maudgalyayana. He wanted the Buddha to explain the causes and conditions.
“Ah, you don’t know,” said the Buddha.“On the causal ground, a long time ago, at a place where the weather was hot, there was a pool with schools of fish in it. The two leaders of the schools were named “Bran” and “Many Tongues.” The water in the pool evaporated in the intense heat, and since the people in the area didn’t have anything else to eat, they ate the fish. In the end there was just a mud-hole, but even then they noticed a movement in the mud. Digging in, they found the two big fish-kings-Bran and Many Tongues. At that time, I, Shakyamuni Buddha, was a child among these people-who were later to become the Gautama clan. Seeing that the two fish were about to be devoured alive, I beat them over the head three times with a club to knock them out first.” That’s why in his life as a Buddha, he had to endure a three-day headache as retribution.“Further, the fish, Bran, was the present King Crystal, and the fish, Many Tongues, was his attendant who reminded him of the words spoken by the Gautama clan to the king as a child. So it was fated that they would exterminate the Gautama clan.” Even though Shakyamuni had become a Buddha, he could not rescue his people from the fixed karma they were destined to repay.
The Bhikshu Good Star was forever voicing his deviant knowledge and deviant views. When he spoke Dharma, he did not speak in accord with what the Buddha taught. He made up his own. For instance, the Buddha instructed us to refrain from killing, but this Bhikshu’s instruction was,“It’s not necessary. Why should we refrain from killing? Birth and death goes on and on for living beings, and some of them are especially intended for people to eat. If you don’t eat them, what use will they be left alive? They don’t have any sense.” In this way he countered the Buddha’s admonishment not to take life. This Bhikshu had originally left home under the Buddha, but later he disagreed with the Dharma the Buddha spoke. Whatever the Buddha said he found questionable, and he was able to influence a lot of the less intelligent Bhikshus to go along with him. They began believing him.“Right!” they said.“What he says makes sense. What’s the crime in killing?” It was much the same situation as with the Bhikshuni Precious Lotus Fragrance, who said,“What’s the offense in sexual misconduct?” Bhikshu Good Star said,“We just take what we need; it’s not that we steal. If we have something, then we don’t need to take it. But if you don’t take what you need, how can you get by in this life?” That’s what he said about stealing. He thought of ways to counter the five basic precepts established by the Buddha, which prohibit killing, stealing, sexual misconduct, false speech, and taking intoxicants. Good Star lied and said that all dharmas are empty. His best line was,“Everything is empty. Killing is empty, and stealing is empty, since there isn’t anything at all to begin with! There’s no substance to karma. You talk about creating karma? Then bring out your ‘karma’ and show it to me. It doesn’t exist.”
They both sank into the unintermittent hell alive. They didn’t even wait until they died to fall into the hells. King Crystal, Bhikshu Good Stars, and Bhikshuni Precious Lotus Fragrance experienced hell in their physical bodies while still alive. So Ananda asks the Buddha about these causes and conditions.
To be continued