The Gospel of Buddha
A modern retelling of the Buddha's work and life.
Chapter 37 - The Re-establishment Of Concord
WHILST the dispute between the parties was not yet settled, the Blessed One left Kosambi, and wandering from place to place he came at last to Savatthi. In the absence of the Blessed One the quarrels grew worse, so that the lay devotees of Kosambi became annoyed and they said:
"These quarrelsome monks are a great nuisance and will bring upon us misfortune. Worried by their altercations the Blessed One is gone, and has selected another abode for his residence. Let us, therefore, neither salute the bhikkhus nor support them. They are not worthy of wearing yellow robes, and must either propitiate the Blessed One, or return to the world."
And the bhikkhus of Kosambi, when no longer honored and no longer supported by the lay devotees, began to repent and said:
"Let us go to the Blessed One and let him settle the question of our disagreement."
Both parties went to Savatthi to the Blessed One. And the venerable Sariputta, having heard of their arrival, addressed the Blessed One and said:
"These contentious, disputatious, and quarrelsome bhikkhus of Kosambi, the authors of dissensions, have come to Savatthi. How am I to behave, O Lord, toward those bhikkhus."
"Do not reprove them, Sariputta, said the Blessed One,
"For harsh words do not serve as a remedy and are pleasant to no one. Assign separate dwelling places to each party and treat them with impartial justice. Listen with patience to both parties. He alone who weighs both sides is called a muni. When both parties have presented their case, let the Sangha come to an agreement and declare the re establishment of concord."
Pajapati, the matron, asked the Blessed One for advice, and the Blessed One said:
"Let both parties enjoy the gifts of lay members, be they robes or food, as they may need, and let no one receive preference over any other."
The venerable Upali, having approached the Blessed One, asked concerning the re establishment of peace in the Sangha:
"Would it be right, O Lord, said he, that the Sangha, to avoid further disputations, should declare the restoration of concord without inquiring into the matter of the quarrel?"
The Blessed One said:
"If the Sangha declares the reestablishment of concord without having inquired into the matter, the declaration is neither right nor lawful. There are two ways of re establishing concord; one is in the letter, and the other one is in the spirit and in the letter.
"If the Sangha declares the re establishment of concord without having inquired into the matter, the peace is concluded in the letter only. But if the Sangha, having inquired into the matter and having gone to the bottom of it, decides to declare the re establishment of concord, the peace is concluded in the spirit and also in the letter. The concord re established in the spirit and in the letter is alone right and lawful."
And the Blessed One addressed the bhikkhus and told them the story of Prince Dighavu, the Long lived. He said:
"In former times, there lived at Benares a powerful king whose name was Brahmadatta of Kasi; and he went to war against Dighiti, the Long suffering, a king of Kosala, for he thought, The kingdom of Kosala is small and Dighiti will not be able to resist my armies."
And Dighiti, seeing that resistance was impossible against the great host of the king of Kasi, fled leaving his little kingdom in the hands of Brahmadatta; and having wandered from place to place, he came at last to Benares, and lived there with his consort in a potters dwelling outside the town.
"The queen bore him a son and they called him Dighavu. When Dighavu had grown up, the king thought to himself: King Brahmadatta has done us great harm, and he is fearing our revenge; he will seek to kill us. Should he find us he will slay all three of us. And he sent his son away, and Dighavu having received a good education from his father, applied himself diligently to learn all arts, becoming very skillful and wise.
"At that time the barber of King Dighiti dwelt at Benares, and he saw the king, his former master, and being of an avaricious nature, betrayed him to King Brahmadatta. When Brahmadatta, the king of Kasi, heard that the fugitive king of Kosala and his queen, unknown and in disguise, were living a quiet life in a potters dwelling, he ordered them to be bound and executed; and the sheriff to whom the order was given seized King Dighiti and led him to the place of execution.
"While the captive king was being led through the streets of Benares he saw his son who had returned to visit his parents, and, careful not to betray the presence of his son, yet anxious to communicate to him his last advice, he cried: O Dighavu, my son! Be not far sighted, be not near sighted, for not by hatred is hatred appeased; hatred is appeased by not hatred only.
"The king and queen of Kosala were executed, but Dighavu their son bought strong wine and made the guards drunk. When the night arrived he laid the bodies of his parents upon a funeral pyre and burned them with all honors and religious rites. When King Brahmadatta heard of it, he became afraid, for he thought, Dighavu, the son of King Dighiti, is a wise youth and he will take revenge for the death of his parents. If he espies a favorable opportunity, he will assassinate me.
"Young Dighavu went to the forest and wept to his hearts content. Then he wiped his tears and returned to Benares. Hearing that assistants were wanted in the royal elephants stable, he offered his services and was engaged by the master of the elephants. And it happened that the king heard a sweet voice ringing through the night and singing to the lute a beautiful song that gladdened his heart. And having inquired among his attendants who the singer might be, was told that the master of the elephants had in his service a young man of great accomplishments, and beloved by all his comrades. They said He is wont to sing to the lute, and he must have been the singer that gladdened the heart of the king.
"The king summoned the young man before him and, being much pleased with Dighavu, gave him employment in the royal castle. Observing how wisely the youth acted, how modest he was and yet punctilious in the performance of his work, the king very soon gave him a position of trust. Now it came to pass that the king went hunting and became separated from his retinue, young Dighavu alone remaining with him. And the king worn out from the hunt laid his head in the lap of young Dighavu and slept.
"Dighavu thought: People will forgive great wrongs which they have suffered, but they will never be at ease about the wrong which they themselves have done. They will persecute their victims to the bitter end. This King Brahmadatta has done us great injury; he robbed us of our kingdom and slew my father and my mother. He is now in my power. Thinking thus he unsheathed his sword. Then Dighavu thought of the last words of his father. Be not far sighted, be not near sighted. For not by hatred is hatred appeased. Hatred is appeased by not hatred alone.-Thinking thus, he put his sword back into the sheath.
"The king became restless in his sleep and he awoke, and when the youth asked, Why art thou frightened, O king? he replied: My sleep is always restless because I often dream that young Dighavu is coming upon me with his sword. While I lay here with my head in thy lap I dreamed the dreadful dream again; and I awoke full of terror and alarm. Then the youth, laying his left hand upon the defenseless kings head and with his right hand drawing his sword, said: I am Dighavu, the son of King Dighiti, whom thou hast robbed of his kingdom and slain together with his queen, my mother. I know that men overcome the hatred entertained for wrongs which they have suffered much more easily than for the wrongs which they have done, and so I cannot expect that thou wilt take pity on me; but now a chance for revenge has come to me.
"The king seeing that he was at the mercy of young Dighavu raised his hands and said: Grant me my life, my dear Dighavu, grant me my life. I shall be forever grateful to thee. And Dighavu said without bitterness or ill will: How can I grant thee thy life, O king, since my life is endangered by thee? I do not mean to take thy life. It is thou, O king, who must grant me my life."
"And the king said: Well, my dear Dighavu, then grant me my life, and I will grant thee thine. Thus, King Brahmadatta of Kasi and young Dighavu granted each others life and took each others hand and swore an oath not to do any harm to each other.
"Then King Brahmadatta of Kasi said to young Dighavu: Why did thy father say to thee in the hour of his death:
"Be not far sighted, be not near sighted, for hatred is not appeased by hatred. Hatred is appeased by not hatred alone," -what did thy father mean by that?
The youth replied:
"When my father, O king, in the hour of his death said: Be not far sighted," he meant, Let Be not hatred go far. And when my father said near sighted,"
he meant, be not hasty to fall out with thy friends. And when he said For not by hatred is hatred appeased; hatred is appeased by not hatred, he meant this: Thou hast killed my father and mother, O king, and if I should deprive thee of thy life, then thy partisans in turn would take away my life; my partisans again would deprive thine of their lives. Thus by hatred, hatred would not be appeased. But now, O king, thou hast granted me my life, and I have granted thee thine; thus by not hatred hatred has been appeased.
"Then King Brahmadatta of Kasi thought: How wise is young Dighavu that he understands in its full extent the meaning of what his father spoke concisely. And the king gave him back his fathers kingdom and gave him his daughter in marriage."
Having finished the story, the Blessed One said:
"Brethren, ye are my lawful sons in the faith, begotten by the words of my mouth. Children ought not to trample under foot the counsel given them by their father; do ye henceforth follow my admonitions. Then the bhikkhus met in conference; they discussed their differences in mutual good will, and the concord of the Sangha was re established.
Article published on