SUTRA TEXT FROM LAST ISSUE: I diligently sought the Great Dharma...
And not for my own sake, Or for the pleasures of the five desires.
Thus as king of a great realm, I diligently sought to obtain this Dharma,
And accordingly achieved Buddhahood, And now I speak it to you.
And not for my own sake,/ he wasn't doing it for himself, Or for the pleasures of the five desires/ neither in seeking the five desires, nor out of selfishness, nor for self-benefit. He's emphasizing: if you think it's for my own sake, it isn't. Nor is it for the sake of seeking pleasures of the Five Desires, which are defined either as wealth, sex, fame, food, and sleep or as forms, sounds, smells, tastes, and touch. Thus as king of a great realm,/ even though he was a powerful ruler, I diligently sought to obtain this Dharma,/ In this existence he was a mighty king; further, he diligently sought the Great Vehicle Dharma, and so that is why he was able to attain the Great Vehicle Dharma. If he had said,“Hey! I am the king of this country and so you should give me the Dharma!” then he wouldn't have attained it. Even though he was a king, he still had to do hard labor, he had to act as a servant. And accordingly achieved Buddhahood./ That's how he was able to become a Buddha. And now I speak it to you./ Now I have come to tell you about my experiences in cultivating the Way and the circumstances involved in practicing the Bodhisattva Way.
The Buddha told the Bhikshus, “The king was I, myself, in a previous life and the seer was the present Devadatta.”
The Buddha told the Bhikshus,/ After Shakyamuni Buddha finished speaking that verse, he told the Bhikshus something else. The term “Bhikshus” also includes Bhikshunis, Upasakas, and Upasikas. The word “Bhikshus” is used to represent them all. “The king” who in a distant eon past renounced his country and family, gave away all his jewels and treasures, and turned over his power and authority to the crown prince so that he could become the servant of the seer Asita and do hard labor--do you know who he was? He was I, myself in a previous life./ He was I, Shakyamuni Buddha. In the past when I was a king, for the sake of the Buddhadharma, I acted as a servant for the seer Asita. It was I. And the seer/ Who was the seer at that time? Do you know? He was the present Devadatta. Devadatta is a Sanskrit name which is translates as “Hot Heaven,” deva means heaven and datta means hot. It's not that you are hot or I am hot, it's heaven that's hot. And so the seer Asita was the present Devadatta.
Not bad! Now, as I'm explaining the Devadatta Chapter, there are still people who can remember the meaning of Devadatta's name. In the past, Devadatta was Shakyamuni Buddha's Good and Wise Advisor, he was the Buddha's teacher. He explained the Wonderful Dharma Lotus Flower Sutra for Shakyamuni Buddha. Shakyamuni Buddha did hard labor for him, acting as his servant, in order to attain this unsurpassed wonderful Dharma. But in his life as Shakyamuni Buddha, Devadatta was no longer a Good and Wise Advisor. What had he become? He was an evil advisor! He continually opposed Shakyamuni Buddha. You see? In that previous life he was a Good and Wise Advisor, but in the life when Shakyamuni Buddha realized Buddhahood, Devadatta was his evil advisor.
Devadatta enticed five hundred of Shakyamuni Buddha's disciples to follow him instead. He displayed spiritual penetrations that capitivated the five hundred, who then went off to cultivate the Way under him.
To be continued