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Verse 128: The Story of King Suppabuddha

While residing at the Nigrodharama monastery, the Buddha uttered Verse (128) of this
book, with reference to King Suppabuddha.

King Suppabuddha was the father of devadatta and father-in-law of Prince Siddhattha, who
later became Gotama Buddha. King Suppabuddha was very hostile towards the Buddha for
two reasons. First, because as prince Siddhattha he had left his wife Yasodhara, the
daughter of King Suppabuddha, to renounce the world; and secondly, because his son
devadatta, who was admitted into the Order by Gotama Buddha, had come to regard the
Buddha as his arch enemy. One day, knowing that the Buddha would be coming for alms-food,
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 Samana
Gotama, who is so much younger than me." Finding the road blocked, the Buddha and the
Bhikkhus turned back. Suppabuddha 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, "Ananda, because King Suppabuddha had
refused to give way to me, on the seventh day from now he would be swallowed up by the
earth, at the foot of the steps leading to the pinnacled hall of his palace." The king's spy
heard these words and reported to the king. And the king said that he would not go near
those steps and would prove the words of the Buddha to be wrong. Further, he instructed his
men to remove those steps, so that he would not be able to use them; he also kept some men
on duty, with instructions to hold him back should he go in the direction of the stairs.

When the Buddha was told about the king's instructions to his men, he said, "Bhikkhus!
Whether King Suppabuddha lives in a pinnacled tower, or up in the sky, or in an ocean, or in a
cave, my word cannot go wrong; King Suppabuddha will be swallowed up by the earth at the
very place I have told you."

Then the Buddha spoke in verse as follows:

Verse 128. Not in the sky, nor in the middle of the ocean, nor in the cave of a mountain, nor
anywhere else, is there a place where one cannot be oppressed by Death.

On the seventh day, about the time of the alms meal the royal horse got frightened for some
unknown reason and started neighing loudly and kicking about furiously. Hearing frightening
noises from his horse, the king felt that he must handle his pet horse and forgetting all
precautions, he started towards the door. The door opened of its own accord, the steps
which had been pulled down earlier were also there, his men forgot to stop him from going
down. So the king went down the stairs and as soon as he stepped on the earth, it opened and
swallowed him up and dragged him right down to Avici niraya.

Translated by Daw Mya Tin, M.A.,
Burma Pitaka Association, Rangoon, Burma 1986.

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