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IX:12 King Suppabuddha blocks the Buddha's path

King Suppabuddha was the father of Devadatta and father-in-law of Prince Siddhattha. The king was very antagonistic to the Buddha for two reasons: first, because Prince Siddhattha had left his daughter Yasodhara to renounce the world; and second, because his son Devadatta had come to regard him as his arch enemy.

One day, knowing that the Buddha would be coming for almsfood, he got himself drunk and blocked the way. When the Buddha and the bhikkhus came, Suppabuddha refused to make way, and sent a message saying, 'I cannot give way to the Buddha, who is so much younger than I.' Finding the road blocked, the Buddha and the bhikkhus turned back. The king then sent someone to follow the Buddha secretly and find out what the Buddha said and to report to him.

As the Buddha turned back, he said to Ananda, 'Because the king has refused to give way to a Buddha, he has committed a bad kamma and before long he will have to face the consequences.'

When informed of the prediction by the Buddha, the king said that he would take special precautions to prove that the Buddha was wrong. Further, he instructed his men to pay more attention to him and also be vigilant in their duties.

When the Buddha was told about the king's instructions to his men, he said, 'Bhikkhus! Whether the king lives in a pinnacled tower, or up in the sky, or in an ocean, or in a cave, he will have to face the effect of his own action.'

On the seventh day, about the time of the almsmeal, the royal horse got frightened for some unknown reason and started neighing loudly and kicking about furiously. Hearing frightened noises from his horse, the king felt that he must handle his pet horse and forgetting all precautions, he went towards the door. The king fell down the stairs, collapsed and died and was born in a suffering state. Thus, no matter how hard he tried, the foolish king was unable to escape the effects of his evil kamma.

55/170 Dhammapada & Commentary Khuddhaka J.i.106ff. despair

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Last modified on: Sunday, 13 August 2000.