"I do the right,"--This story the Master told while dwelling in Jetavana, how Devadatta was swallowed up in the earth. They gathered in the Hall of Truth to talk: "Friend, Devadatta fell at enmity with the Tathagata, and was swallowed up in the earth." The Master entering asked what they were talking of as they sat there. They told him. He replied, "Now, Brethren, he has been swallowed up in the earth because he dealt a blow at my victorious authority; but formerly he dealt a blow at the authority of right, and was swallowed up in the earth, and went on his way to nethermost hell." So saying, he told a story of the past.
"Once upon a time, when Brahmadatta was king in Benares, the Bodhisattva was born into the world of sense as one of the gods, and was named Dhamma, or Right, while Devadatta was called Adhamma, or Wrong.
"As on the fast-day of the full moon, in the evening when meals were done, men were sitting in enjoyment each at his own house-door in village and city and royal capital, Dhamma appeared before them, poised in the air, in his celestial chariot mounted, and adorned with celestial array, in the midst of a multitude of nymphs, and thus addressed them:
"'Take not the life of living creatures, and the other ten paths of evildoing eschew, fulfil the duty of service to mother and the duty of service to father and the threefold course of right; thus ye shall become destined for heaven, and shall receive great glory.' Thus did he urge men to follow the ten paths of right-doing, and made a solemn circuit around India right-wise. But Adhamma taught them, 'Kill that which lives,' and in like manner urged men to follow the other ten paths of evildoing, and made a circuit around India left-wise.
"Now their chariots met face to face in the air, and their attendant multitudes asked each the other, 'Whose are you? and whose are you?' They replied, 'We are of Dhamma, we of Adhamma,' and made room, so that their paths were divided. But Dhamma said to Adhamma, 'Good sir, you are Adhamma, and I am Dhamma; I have the right of way; turn your chariot aside, and give me way,' repeating the first stanza:
"'I do the right, men's fame is of my grace,
"These next follow:
"'In the strong car of Wrong enthroned on high
"'Right of a truth was first made manifest,
"'Nor if you worthy be, nor if you pray,
"'Known am I in all regions far and near,
"'By iron gold is beaten, nor do we
"'If you indeed are mighty in the fray,
"These six stanzas they repeated, one answering the other.
"But at the very moment when the Bodhisattva repeated this stanza, Adhamma could no longer stand in his car, but head-foremost plunged into the earth which gaped to receive him, and was born again in nethermost hell."
The Blessed One no sooner perceived this that had happened, than in his Perfect Wisdom he recited the remaining stanzas:
"The words no sooner heard, Wrong from the height
"Thus by the Mighty-in-Forbearance lies
"Who in his house no due observance pays
"Who in his house all due observance pays
When the Master had ended this discourse, he said, "Not now only, Brethren, but in former times also, Devadatta attacked me, and was swallowed up in the earth": then he identified the Birth--"At that time Devadatta was Adhamma, and his attendants were the attendants of Devadatta, and I was Dhamma, and the Buddha's attendants were the attendants of Dhamma."