The Jealous Cousin (Buddhism)


Devadatta, Gautama Buddha’s first cousin, was always jealous of him. Buddha had left his home in Kapilavasthu as a young prince. After becoming enlightened, he traveled far and wide spreading his teachings. When Buddha visited his home at Kapilavasthu , the Sakyans began to follow him because they liked what he taught. His cousin Devadatta also joined Buddha. He learnt many things from Buddha, and got some magical powers too. But, he was secretly jealous of Buddha and the way people worshipped him.

Devadatta was quite crooked by nature. Once he visited the crown prince of Magadha, Ajatshatru, and showed him his magical powers. Ajatsatru was impressed and felt that Devadatta must be a divine being. Devadatta came back to Kapilavasthu and spread the word around that he was better than Buddha. But everybody loved Buddha and paid no attention to him. Devadatta became mad and decided to get even with Buddha.

He went back to Magadha and told Ajatsatru to kill his own brother, Bimbisara, to grab the throne. This was a plot to get rid of Bimbisara who supported Buddha. Next, Devadutta hired sixteen archers to kill Buddha. But the archers became Buddha’s followers when they heard him speak, and the plan was foiled.

The raging Devadatta then hurled a huge rock from a mountain when Buddha was walking down the slope. But, the rock changed it’s course as soon as it reached Buddha and rolled another way. Devadatta could not believe what he saw! Devadatta then got a rogue elephant and sent it to a busy street. While everybody screamed and ran for their life, Buddha calmly walked up to the elephant and touched it on its forehead. The elephant calmed down at once and knelt down before Buddha in respect. By now, everyone knew Devadatta’s true nature. They all chased him out of town.

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