The fire in his nature resembled that of dry grass catching fire in the autumn. All the pores in his whole body started to heat up. "You have lied to me twice, and now you want to do it a third time." Therefore before the start of the battle, he grabbed the foreign knight, threw him down and as a result killed him, having broken his back.
Who was the foreign monk? He was to become Devadatta in a later life. Therefore, from limitless lives past they have been at odds with each other. After the Buddha became a Buddha limitless lives later, his back still hurt; this was a result of causes planted in the distant past.
The next retribution of killing is poverty. Perhaps someone may say, "Strange, what does killing have to do with poverty?" Everyone seems to like to hear stories, so I think I will tell another story. Why are people poor?
One time when the Buddha took his disciples out traveling, the weather was quite hot and everyone was very thirsty. The Venerable Ananda was the Buddha's personal attendant. Seeing that the Buddha was very thirsty and he himself was also thirsty, he very enthusiastically volunteered, "There is a well in front, I will go fetch the water for everyone to drink."
The Buddha replied, "You may go and give it a try." Actually, this was an expedient hint. The Buddha didn't want to state the situation clearly; he just told him to go and give it a try.
The Venerable Ananda didn't quite understand the Buddha's intention. He thought that it should not be that much trouble to fetch a bowl of water; so with bowl in hand, he went to ask someone for water. The person he met took one look at him and started to scold him, "What right do you have that you want me to fetch water for you? What merit and virtue do you possess? I am tired to death, you still want me to fetch water for you?" This person kept on scolding him.
Ananda replied, "Okay, okay, I won't request water from you," and went away. He thought to himself, "I have the thirty-two hallmarks. I am younger than the Buddha, a dignified and talented individual; why is it that I can't ask for even a bowl of water?"
He went back to see the Buddha. He did not mention that he was scolded; he just said that the layperson was very busy. In actuality, that layperson was extremely busy; Ananda did not lie, but he was too embarrassed to relate that he was scolded. The Buddha then told Mahakashyapa, "Go fetch some water to relieve everyone's thirst!"
When the layperson saw Mahakasyapa at the well, he rushed to prepare the water and knelt down to offer it to the Venerable Mahakasyapa. Ananda thought, "Mahakasyapa is so old, he does not even enunciate clearly when he speaks. His feature are so ugly. How is it that he is able to obtain water? I am so dignified and refined in manner, a talented individual. Why can't I get even a drop of water?" Ananda asked the Buddha this question.
The Buddha then told him that he and Mahakasyapa were brothers in a previous lifetime. One day Ananda went out to play and saw a dead cat with flies buzzing around it. At the time, Ananda, who was the younger brother said, "Ugh, it smells! A dead cat! Let's forget about it and go somewhere else to play!" At the time, the older brother was more compassionate. He felt that it was not good to leave the cat alone there, so he recited the Buddha's name for the cat. He may have recited the Rebirth Mantra and then buried it. That older brother was Mahakasyapa. The dead cat was the layperson. At the time the cat had not been dead long, so the soul was still attached to the body and knew who treated it well and who didn't. You see, living beings have very strong attachments to their bodies. Now in this lifetime, after meeting up again, the layperson really disliked the Venerable Ananda because previously Ananda had disparaged him as a smelly dead cat. As a result, Ananda is now being scolded back. The cat at the time did not see Venerable Mahakasyapa, but his consciousness knew and felt a close affinity with him. Due to such past causes and conditions, the layperson very respectfully offered water to the Venerable Mahakasyapa.
Water is a necessity; we need it wherever we happen to be. "There is no free lunch in this world." The Venerable Mahakasyapa paid the fee for this meal a long time ago.
If we do not kill, then by having the wholesome retribution of never killing, we can universally bestow fearlessness upon living beings. Giving does not necessarily entail the giving of material objects. We can also give fearlessness, so that living beings can be peaceful and unafraid. The Venerable Ananda could not obtain even a bowl of water, which is a material object. Isn't that a case of being poor? If we can be compassionate like the Venerable Mahakasyapa and not take life, then we will be welcomed wherever we go, and we will have sufficient material wealth wherever we happen to be.
To be continued