"The advantage is to the good."--This the Master told while at the Bamboo-grove near Rajagaha, about Devadatta. For on one occasion, when Devadatta asked for the Five Rules, and could not get what he wanted, he made a schism in the Order, and taking four hundred of the mendicants with him, went and dwelt at the rock called Gaya-Sisa.
Afterwards the minds of these mendicants became open to conviction. And the Master, knowing it, said to his two chief disciples, "Sariputta! those five hundred pupils of yours adopted the heresy of Devadatta, and went away with him, but now their minds have become open to conviction. Do you go there with a number of the brethren, and preach to them, and instruct them in the Fruits of the Path of Holiness, and bring them back with you!"
They went, and preached to them, and instructed them in the Fruits, and the next day at dawn returned to the Bamboo Grove, bringing those mendicants with them. And as Sariputta on his return was standing by, after paying his respects to the Blessed One, the mendicants exalted him, saying to the Blessed One, "Lord! how excellent appears our elder brother, the Minister of Righteousness, returning with five hundred disciples as his retinue, whereas Devadatta is now without any followers at all!"
"Not only now, O mendicants! has Sariputta come in glory, surrounded by the assembly of his brethren; in a former birth, also, he did the same. And not now only has Devadatta been deprived of his following; in a former birth also he was the same."
The monks requested the Blessed One to explain how that was. Then the Blessed One made manifest a thing hidden by the interval of existence.
"Long ago, in the city Rajagaha, in the land of Magadha, there ruled a certain king of Magadha. At that time the Bodhisattva came to life as a deer, and when he grew up he lived in the forest at the head of a herd of a thousand deer. He had two young ones, named Lakkhana (the Beautifully-marked One, 'Beauty') and Kala (the Dark One, 'Brownie').
"When he had become old, he called them, and said, 'My beloved! I am old. Do you now lead the herd about.' And he placed five hundred of the deer under the charge of each of his sons.
"Now in the land of Magadha at crop time, when the corn is ripening in the fields, there is danger brewing for the deer in the adjoining forest. Some in one place, and some in another, the sons of men dig pit-falls, fix stakes, set traps with stones in them, and lay snares to kill the creatures that would eat the crops. And many are the deer that come to destruction.
"So when the Bodhisattva saw that crop time was at hand, he sent for his sons, and said, 'My children! the time of growing crops has come; many deer will come to destruction. We are old, and will get along by some means or another without stirring much abroad. But do you lead your herds away to the mountainous part of the forest, and return when the crops are cut!'
"'Very well,' said they; and departed with their attendant herds.
"Now the men who live on the route they have to follow know quite well, 'At such and such a time the deer are wont to come up into the mountains; at such and such a time they will come down again.' And lurking here and there in ambush, they wound and kill many deer.
"But Brownie, in his dullness, knew not that there were times when he ought to travel and times when he ought not; and he led his herd of deer early and late alike-- at dawn, or in evening twilight--past the village gates. The men in different places--some in the open, some in ambush--destroyed, as usual, a number of the deer. So he, by his stupidity, brought many of his herd to destruction, and re-entered the forest with diminished numbers.
"Beauty, on the other hand, was learned and clever, and fertile in resource; and he knew when to go on, and when to stay. He approached no village gates; he traveled not by day, nor even at dawn or by evening twilight; but he traveled at midnight, and so he readied the forest without losing a single animal.
"There they stayed four months; and when the crops were cut they came down from the mountain-side. Brownie, going back as he had come, brought the rest of the herd to destruction, and arrived alone. But Beauty, without losing even one of his herd, came up to his parent attended by all the five hundred of his deer.
"And when the Bodhisattva saw his sons approaching, he held a consultation with the herd of deer, and put together this stanza,--
"'The righteous man hath profit, and the courteous in
"When he had thus welcomed his son, the Bodhisattva lived to a good old age, and passed away according to his deeds."
Thus the Master gave them this lesson in virtue in illustration of what he had said, "Not only now, mendicants! has Sariputta come in glory, surrounded by the assembly of his brethren; in a former birth, also, he did the same. And not now only has Devadatta been deprived of his following; in a former birth also he was the same." And he united the two stories, and made the connection, and summed up the Jataka as follows: "Then 'Brownie' was Devadatta, and his attendants Devadatta's attendants. 'Beauty' was Sariputta, and his attendants the followers of the Buddha. The mother was the mother of Rahula, but the father was I myself."