Itivuttaka: The Buddha’s Sayings

The Section of the Threes

89. Devadatta

This was said by the Lord…

“Bhikkhus, overcome with his mind obsessed by three kinds of wickedness, Devadatta will inevitably go to a state of misery, to hell, for the duration of the aeon. What are the three? Overcome with his mind obsessed by evil desires …; overcome with his mind obsessed by evil friends …; and although there was more that should have been done, he stopped halfway through gaining a trifling attainment of distinction. These, bhikkhus, are the three.”

Surely no one of evil desires
Is born again into this world.
Know that he goes to the bourn of those
Who live in the grip of evil desires.

I heard how Devadatta was
Regarded as a wise man,
One developed in meditation
Who shone as it were with fame.

Having thought himself his equal,
He assaulted the Tathāgata
And went to the four-doored frightful place,
Avīci the Unremitting Hell.

When one plots against an innocent
Who has done no evil deed,
That evil merely affects the one
Corrupt of mind and disrespectful.

One who thinks he could pollute
The ocean with a pot of poison
Would not be able to pollute it—
Awesome is that mass of water.

It is similar in attacking with abuse
The Tathāgata who has reached perfection
And ever dwells with peaceful mind—
Abuse has no effect on him.

A wise man should befriend such a one
And constantly follow after him.
A bhikkhu who goes along his path
Can reach the end of suffering.