Son of Pasenadi and
Vāsabhakhattiyā. On the birth of
Vidūdabha, the king, glad at having a son, sent word to his own grandmother
asking her to choose a name. The minister who delivered the message was deaf,
and when the grandmother spoke of Vāsabhakhattiyā as being dear to the king,
mistook "vallabha" for "Vidūdabha," and, thinking that this was an old family
name, bestowed it on the prince. When the boy was quite young, Pasenadi
conferred on him the rank of senāpati, thinking that this would please the
Buddha. It was for the same reason he married Vāsabhakhattiyā; both in the
Piyajātika Sutta (M.ii.110) and the
Kannakatthala Suttas (M.ii.127)
Vidūdabha is spoken of as senāpati.
When Vidūdabha was seven years old, he wished to visit his maternal
grandparents, hoping to be given presents, like his companions by theirs, but
Vāsabhakhattiyā persuaded him against this, telling him that they lived too far
away. But he continued to express this desire, and when he reached the age of
sixteen she consented to his going. Thereupon, accompanied by a large retinue,
he set out for Kapilavatthu. The Sākiyans sent all the younger princes away,
there being thus none to pay obeisance to him in answer to his salute, the
remaining ones being older than he. He was shown every hospitality and stayed
for several days. On the day of his departure, one of his retinue overheard a
contemptuous remark passed by a slave woman who was washing, with milk and
water, the seat on which Vidūdabha had sat. This was reported to him, and,
having discovered the deceit which had been practiced on his father, he vowed
vengeance on the Sākiyans. Pasenadi cut off all honours from Vāsabhakhattiyā and
her son, but restored them later, at the Buddha's suggestion.
After Pasenadi’s death, which was brought about by the treachery of
Dīghakārāyana in making Vidūdabha king
(for details see Pasenadi), Vidūdabha remembered his oath, and set out with a
large army for Kapilavatthu. The
Buddha, aware of this, stood under a tree, with
scanty shade, just within the boundaries of the Sākiyan kingdom. On the boundary
was a banyan which gave deep shade. Vidūdabha, seeing the Buddha, asked him to
sit under the banyan. "Be not worried," said the Buddha, "the shade of my
kinsmen keeps me cool.” Vidūdabha understood and returned home with his army.
This exposure to the sun gave the Buddha a headache which lasted through out his
life (UdA.265; Ap.i.300).
Three times he marched against the Sākiyans and three times he saw the Buddha
under the same tree and turned back. The fourth time the Buddha knew that the
fate of the Sākiyans could not be averted and remained away. In a previous
existence they had conspired and thrown poison into a river.
The Sākiyans went armed into the battle, but not wishing to kill, they shot
their arrows into Vidūdabha's ranks without killing anyone. On this being
brought to Vidūdabha's notice, he gave orders that all the Sākiyans, with the
exception of the followers of the Sākiyan Mahānāma, should be slain. The
Sākiyans stood their ground, some with blades of grass and some with reeds.
These were spared, and came to be known as
Tinasākyā and Nalasākiyā respectively.*
The others were all killed, even down to the infants. Mahānāma was taken
prisoner and went back with Vidūdabha, who wished him to share his meal. But
Mahānāma said he wished to bathe, and plunged into a lake with the idea of dying
rather than eating with a slave woman's child. The Nāgas of the lake, however,
saved him and took him to the Nāga world. That same night Vidūdabha pitched his
camp on the dry bed of the Aciravatī. Some of
his men lay on the banks, others on the river bed. Some of those who lay on the
river bed were not guilty of sin in their past lives, while some who slept on
the bank were. Ants appeared on the ground where the sinless ones lay, and they
changed their sleeping places. During the night there was a sudden flood, and
Vidūdabha and those of his retinue who slept in the river bed were washed into
the sea. This account is taken from DhA.i.346 9, 357 61; but see also J. i.133
and iv.146f., 151f.
* According to Chinese records, Vidūdabha took five hundred Sākiyan maidens
into his harem, but they refused to submit to him and abused him and his family.
He ordered them to be killed, their hands and feet to be cut off, and their
bodies thrown into a ditch. The Buddha sent a monk to preach to them, and they
were reborn after death in heaven. Sakra collected their bones and burnt them
(Beal., op. cit.ii.11f.).
The eleventh Pallava of the Avadānakalpalatā has a similar story. Vidūdabha
killed seventy seven thousand Sākiyans and stole eighty thousand boys and girls.
The girls were rude to him, and he ordered their death.