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Udāna

Udāna
4.8 Sundarī Sutta
Lady Sundarī

A plot to destroy the Buddha.

This is as I heard from the Blessed One. Those days, the Blessed One was living in the province of Sāvatthī, in Jeta’s Park, at Anāthapiṇḍika’s monastery. Those days, the Blessed One was worshipped, revered, honored, venerated, and given homage. The Buddha received plenty of robes, alms food, lodgings, and medicine. The community of monks was also worshipped, revered, honored, venerated, and given homage. They received plenty of robes, alms food, lodgings and medicine. But the followers of other religions were not worshipped, revered, honored, venerated, or given homage; nor did they receive robes, alms food, lodgings, or medicine.

So the followers of other religions, unable to stand the veneration given to the Blessed One and the community of monks, went to Sundarī the female follower and said to her, “Dear sister Sundarī, would you do a favor for the benefit of your relatives?”

“What shall I do, masters? What can I not do? I have given up even my life for the benefit of my relatives!”

“In that case, sister, go often to Jeta’s Park.”

Responding, “As you say, masters,” to those followers of other religions, Sundarī the female follower often went to Jeta’s Park. When the followers of other religions knew that many people had seen Sundarī the female follower going often to Jeta’s Park, they murdered her and buried her right there in the moat-ditch surrounding Jeta’s Park. Then they went to King Pasenadi Kosala and said to him, “Great king, we can’t find Sundarī the female follower.”

“But where do you suspect she is?”

“At Jeta’s Park, great king.”

“Then in that case, search Jeta’s Park.”

Then those followers of other religions, having searched Jeta’s Park, having dug up the body they had buried in the surrounding moat-ditch, having mounted it on a plank, took it around Sāvatthī and went from street to street, intersection to intersection, announcing to people, “See, friends, the work of the monks, the sons of the Sakyan teacher. They’re shameless, unvirtuous, evil-natured, liars and unholy. They claim to be practicing the Dhamma, practicing what is harmonious, practicing the holy life, speakers of the truth, virtuous and fine-natured. They have no quality of a monk, no holy quality. Destroyed is their quality of a monk! Destroyed is their holy quality! From where is their quality of a monk? From where, their holy quality? They are devoid of any quality of a monk! They are devoid of any holy quality! How can a man, having raped a woman, take her life?”

So on that occasion, people seeing monks in Sāvatthī would insult, scold and harass them with discourteous, abusive language saying, “They’re shameless, unvirtuous, evil-natured, liars and unholy. They claim to be practicing the Dhamma, practicing what is harmonious, practicing the holy life, speakers of the truth, virtuous and fine-natured. They have no quality of a monk, no holy quality. Destroyed is their quality of a monk! Destroyed is their holy quality! From where is their quality of a monk? From where, their holy quality? They are devoid of any quality of a monk! They are devoid of any holy quality! How can a man, having raped a woman, take her life?”

Then, early in the morning, a large number of monks wore their robes and carrying their bowls and double-layered robes, went into Sāvatthī for alms. Then, having gone for alms in Sāvatthī, after the meal, returning from their alms round, they went to the Blessed One and, having bowed down to him, sat to one side. As they were sitting there they said to the Blessed One, “Bhante, at present, people seeing monks in Sāvatthī insult, scold and harass them with discourteous, abusive language saying, “They’re shameless, unvirtuous, evil-natured, liars and unholy. They claim to be practicing the Dhamma, practicing what is harmonious, practicing the holy life, speakers of the truth, virtuous and fine-natured. They have no quality of a monk, no holy quality. Destroyed is their quality of a monk! Destroyed is their holy quality! From where is their quality of a monk? From where, their holy quality? They are devoid of any quality of a monk! They are devoid of any holy quality! How can a man, having raped a woman, take her life?”

“Monks, this noise will not last long. It will last only seven days. With the passing of seven days, it will disappear. So in that case, when those people, on seeing monks, insult, scold and harass you with discourteous, abusive language, counter their accusation with this verse”:

“Those who baselessly accuse others, will go to hell. Those who do not admit their wrongdoings, also will go to hell. Both these types of people become equal in hell due to their evil actions.”

So, having learned this verse in the Blessed One’s presence, the monks, whenever people, on seeing monks in Sāvatthī, insulted, scolded and harassed them with discourteous, abusive language, countered the accusation with this verse:

“Those who baselessly accuse others, will go to hell. Those who do not admit their wrongdoings, also will go to hell. Both these types of people become equal in hell due to their evil actions.”

The thought occurred to those people, “They’re innocent, these monks. It wasn’t done by them. They’re cursing us, these monks.” So that noise didn’t last long. It lasted only seven days. With the passing of seven days, it disappeared.

Then a large number of monks went to the Blessed One and having bowed down to him, sat to one side. As they were sitting there, they said to the Buddha, “Bhante, it’s amazing. It’s astounding, how well-said that was by the Blessed One: ‘Monks, this noise will not last long. It will last only seven days. With the passing of seven days, it will disappear.’ Bhante, that noise has disappeared.”

Then, on realizing the power of patience, the Blessed One spoke the following inspired verse:

“Unvirtuous people stab with their words. It is like enemies shooting arrows, to a king elephant in battle. However, an anger-free monk patiently endures harsh words of others.”

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Udāna 4.8 Sundarī Sutta: Lady Sundarī

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