Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Murder of the Buddha

Another thing that Jesus and the buddha have in common is the manner of their death. This is rarely discussed in Buddhism, but it is most likely that the Buddha was murdered and it is most likely that the murderer was a Buddhist who did not act alone. Late in his life the Buddha decided to leave the hugely successful monastic structure he had created and head out, with only a small group, to a wilder, tribal area, beyond the kingdoms that had accepted Buddhism. This was the second time the Buddha had done this. The first time was during a rebellion in the Buddhist community by monks who felt the Buddha had betrayed the original system he had created and favored a more fundamentalist approach to running things. The Buddha took no action to oppose these monks and they gained a large following. There were attempts on his life and still he did nothing. Finally, when his own supporters would no longer listen and insisted on putting down the rebels, the Buddha left. He walked away with nothing to live as an aesthetic in the forest. Meanwhile, when it was learned that the Buddha had left many followers also left. Eventually a delegation was sent to find the Buddha and beg him to come back, which he did. His return restored confidence and he forgave everyone involved.

Later in life, when the Buddha was becoming old and frail, he suddenly left again, this time with a small group of close supporters, but he would have needed help at that age. However, he did not get very far. They stopped to eat and stay overnight at the house of a lay Buddhist follower. The Buddha died there, reportedly from food poisoning from eating mushrooms, but no one else even got sick. Some versions of the story imply that the mushrooms were only served to the Buddha, but this is also strange. Also, when the Buddha was dying he praised the householder for his hospitality and declared that the meal was one of the best he had ever had. Although Buddhist accounts do not refer to the Buddha being deliberately poisoned they do say that the Buddha did this so that the householder would not get into trouble with his companions.

It is interesting that Buddhists do not discuss this much but they discuss other parts of the Buddhas life. Personally, I think there is a very important teaching in this



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