"Fallen into hand of foes,"--This story the Master, whilst dwelling at Jetavana, told concerning the Perfection of Wisdom. It was then the Master said, "Not now only, Brethren, but formerly also the Tathagata proved himself wise and full of resources." And herewith he related an old legend of the past.
"Once upon a time in the reign of Brahmadatta, king of Benares, the Bodhisattva was born in the household of a village proprietor. The whole story runs on exactly like that of the previous birth. But in this version when the doctor was dead, his village neighbors said, 'These youths have caused the man's death. We will bring them before the king.' And they bound them in fetters and led them to Benares. The Bodhisattva in the course of his journey admonished the other lads and said to them: 'Do not be afraid. Even when you are brought into the presence of the king, show yourselves fearless and happy in your mind. The king will first of all talk with us, and afterwards I shall know what to do.' They readily acquiesced in what he said, and acted accordingly. When the king found them calm and happy, he said, 'These poor wretches have been bound in chains and brought here as murderers, and although they have come to such misery, they are without fear and even happy. I will ask them the reason why they are not troubled.'
"And he repeated the first stanza:
"'Fallen into hand of foes
"On hearing this the Bodhisattva uttered the remaining verses:
"'There is no good however slight,
"The king on hearing the Bodhisattva's exposition of the law, investigated the matter, and discovering the innocence of the boys, he had their fetters removed, and bestowed much honor on the Great Being, and made him his temporal and spiritual adviser and his valued minister. He also conferred honor on the other youths and appointed them to various offices."
When the Master had brought this lesson to an end, he identified the Birth: "At that time Ananda was the king of Benares, the inferior clergy were the other youths, and I myself was the wise youth."