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Chapter 24: Enemy of the Buddha

When the Buddha's cousin Ēnán had left the family and joined him, another cousin, Típó-dáduō, had done the same. But in all the ways in which Ēnán was a help and a support to the Buddha, Típó-dáduō was a hindrance.

Típó-dáduō was a proud man, and he thought that because he was of the royal Shìjiā clan he ought to be regarded as standing above such low-caste commoners as Shè-lìfú and Mùjiān-lián, whom the Buddha respected so highly. But the Buddha, who had no interest in distinctions of caste, paid no special respect to him.

Finally, in frustration at the Buddha's failure to respect his special status as a prince of the royal line, Típó-dáduō left the company of priests (sēng) and set out on his own to the town of Wángshè, where he discussed the problem with his friend, prince Ēshé-shì 阿阇世, the son of King Pínpó-suōluó, the wise ruler who had become a follower of the Buddha after the Buddha had stopped the sacrifices of sheep and goats at his palace years before.

Prince Ēshé-shì was quite sympathetic to Típó-dáduō's views, and he believed that Típó-dáduō had the same ability to relieve suffering that the Buddha had. And further, he was Típó-dáduō's friend. So he built him a small monastery and made provision for him there.

Many years passed, and Típó-dáduō's dwelt in his little monastery, but with few followers, and Típó-dáduō desperately wished that he could have his cousin the Buddha's approval.

One day in his travels the Buddha came to the town of Wángshè. Típó-dáduō came to see him and asked that he charter a new separate order of priests (sēng 僧团), to be headed by Típó-dáduō himself. The Buddha declined, and told him that no good could come of creating such a separate order. Típó-dáduō was very disappointed. He already had a monastery and he already had followers.

But Típó-dáduō was determined to do so with or without the Buddha's approval, and he persuaded Prince Ēshé-shì to help. Ēshé-shì went to his father, King Pínpó-suōluó and asked for help in founding Típó-dáduō's new order of Buddhism. But King Pínpó-suōluó realized that Típó-dáduō was merely ambitious, and he absolutely refused to cooperate in establishing a new order of priests. Instead, he resolutely supported the Buddha, and Ēshé-shì suffered the embarrassment of having to tell Típó-dáduō that he was powerless to help.

Típó-dáduō was very disappointed, but he was still determined to find a way to establish his new order. Obviously, the resources of the realm of Mójiē-tuó would be very helpful, perhaps even necessary, if he was to attract followers, and especially if he was to attract as many followers as his cousin the Buddha had.

Seeking the wealth of Mójiē-tuó, Típó-dáduō persuaded prince Ēshé-shì to overthrow his father and take the throne himself. The prince, stung by his father's unwillingness to listen to him succeeded in doing so. He put King Pínpó-suōluó in jail and resolved to deprive him of food until he would agree to the plans that Típó-dáduō and Ēshé-shì had for the new order. The old man starved to death in jail. This was in the 37th year after the Buddha's Great Awakening (zhèngjué).

Típó-dáduō now had a great deal of power, for his friend Ēshé-shì as the new king seemed more anxious than ever to please him. He persuaded king Ēshé-shì to send skilled archers to kill the Buddha.

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