Sutra text from last issue: The Buddha told the Bhikshus, “The king was I myself, in a previous life and the seer was the present Devadatta.”
What did he do to convince them? He said “Ha! Shakyamuni Buddha claims he has spiritual penetrations, but his powers aren't even as great as my disciples’. Follow me and see for yourselves!” And he took five hundred Bhikshus off with him. When they arrived at his place, he went to sleep, saying, “Watch! I can go to sleep for a hundred days without waking up.” And the five hundred Bhikshus went to sleep along with him.
When Shariputra returned and realized that five hundred Bhikshus were gone from the assembly, he used his spiritual powers to get them back. When Devadatta woke up, he saw that the Bhikshus were gone. Since he too had some spiritual powers, he figured out they had been taken back by Shariputra. That infuriated him and he thought, “You're stolen back the Bhikshus? Fine!” From then on, he did his best to try to ruin Shakyamuni Buddha.
Shakyamuni Buddha taught his disciples to eat vegetarian food and not to eat meat, but Devadatta tried to go him one better and told his disciples not even to eat salt! Shakyamuni Buddha taught his disciples to eat only one meal in the middle of the day, but Devadatta told his disciples to eat only once every one hundred days. You see? This was supposed to mean he was higher than Shakyamuni Buddha. Shakyamuni Buddha didn't eat meat, but he told his disciples not even to eat salt. It made the food tasteless, but he said, “This is true once every one hundred days. You see? cultivation. We're higher than Shakyamuni Buddha.” People who wanted to be ‘higher” studied with Devadatta. Because they were not in accord with the Middle Way, the more they studied, the more they got off the track.
Devadatta also committed the offense of shedding the Buddha's blood. Once when the Buddha was walking beneath Vulture Peak, Devadatta pushed a huge boulder on top of him, intending to turn him into a pancake. The Dharma Protectors raced to the rescue and rammed the boulder with their vajra pestles to send it off in another direction. They knocked loose a small piece of rock however, which hit the Buddha on his little toe, breaking the skin, and causingit to bleed. Shedding the Buddha's blood is one of the Five Rebellious Acts-unpardonable offenses.
He also killed an Arhat, when with one fist he beat to death the Bhikshuni Lianhuase (Lotus Flower Color) who was an Arhat who had certified to the fruit. He also broke up the harmony of the Sangha, when he encouraged dissension among the assembly of Bhikshus. He also encouraged King Ajatasatru to kill his father and mother. Thus he committed all five of the Five Rebellious Acts:
3. Killing an Arhat,
4. Shedding the Buddha's blood, and
5. Breaking the harmony of the Sangha.
Even though he was an evil advisor who committed the Five Rebellious Acts, he was really helping Shakyamuni Buddha and protecting the Buddha's Dharma, in a back-handed way. When Shakyamuni Buddha spoke the Dharma Flower Sutra, he gave Devadatta a prediction of Buddhahood. In the future Devadatta will become a Buddha. So you see, Devadatta was once Shakyamuni Buddha's teacher, and now Shakyamuni Buddha has become a Buddha, but Devadatta hasn't done so yet. In the Buddhadharma whoever works hard and is vigorous comes to accomplishment first.
To be continued