Dhammapada Verse 162
karoti so tatha'ttanam
yatha nam icchati diso.
Verse 162: As the creeper (maluva) strangle the sal tree, so also, a really
immoral person (overwhelmed by Craving) does to himself just what his enemy
wishes him to do.
The Story of Devadatta
While residing at the Jetavana monastery, the Buddha uttered Verse (162) of
this book, with reference to Devadatta.
One day, some bhikkhus were talking amongst themselves when the Buddha came
in and asked the subject of their talk. They answered that they were talking
about Devadatta and then continued as follows:
"Venerable Sir! Devadatta is, indeed, a man without morality; he is also
very avaricious. He has tried to gain fame and fortune by getting the confidence
of Ajatasattu by unfair means. He has also tried to convince Ajatasattu that by
getting rid of his father, he (Ajatasattu) would immediately become a powerful
king. Having been thus misled by Devadatta, Ajatasattu killed his father, the
noble king, Bimbisara. Devadatta has even attempted three times to kill you, our
most Venerable Teacher. Devadatta is, indeed, very wicked and
After listening to the bhikkhus, the Buddha told them that Devadatta has
tried to kill him not only now but also in his previous existences. The Buddha
then narrated the story of a deer-stalker.
"Once, while King Brahmadatta was reigning in Baranasi, the future
Buddha was born as a deer, and Devadatta was then a deer-stalker. One day, the
deer-stalker saw the footprints of a deer under a tree. So, he put up a bamboo
platform in the tree and waited with the spear ready for the deer. The deer came
but he came very cautiously. The deer-stalker saw him hesitating, and threw some
fruits of the tree to coax him. But that put the deer on guard; he looked more
carefully and saw the deer-stalker in the tree. He pretended not to see the deer
stalker and turned away slowly. From some distance, he addressed the tree thus:
'O tree! You always drop your fruits vertically, but today you have broken
the law of nature and have dropped your fruits slantingly. Since you have
violated the nature law of trees, I am now leaving you for another tree.'
"Seeing the deer turning away, the dear-stalker dropped his spear to
the ground and said, 'Yes, you can now move on; for today, I have been wrong in
my calculations.' The deer who was the Buddha-to-be replied, 'O hunter! You have
truly miscalculated today, but your evil kamma will not take any mistake; it
will certainly follow you.' Thus, Devadatta had attempted to kill me not only
now but also in the past, yet he had never succeeded." 'Then the Buddha
continued, 'Bhikkhus! Just as a creeper strangles the tree to which it clings,
so also, those without morality, being overwhelmed by lust, are finally thrown
Then the Buddha spoke in verse as follows:
|Verse 162: As the creeper (maluva) strangle the sal
tree, so also, a really immoral person (overwhelmed by Craving) does
to himself just what his enemy wishes him to do.
At the end of the discourse, many people attained Sotapatti Fruition.