Śrīgupta Sūtra


Toh 217

Śrīgupta Sūtra

The Śrīgupta Sūtra tells the story of a plot against the life of Śākyamuni Buddha. At his guru’s instigation, a wealthy young Jain named Śrīgupta invites the Buddha to the midday meal at his house in Rājagṛha, where he has secretly prepared a fire trap and a poisoned meal. The Buddha is aware of these plans, but instead of simply avoiding the trap he accepts the invitation and uses the occasion to demonstrate his invulnerability to such harms, due to his realization and the power of his past deeds. He tells three stories from his previous lives as a pheasant chick, a hare, and the peacock king Suvarṇāvabhāsa‍—lives in which he similarly overcame fire and poison. After Śrīgupta’s attempts fail, Śākyamuni recounts yet another of his former lives in which Śrīgupta, this time as a brahmin teacher, similarly attempted to trap him in a pit of fire. Ashamed of his actions, Śrīgupta apologizes for his mistakes, takes refuge, and receives the vows of a lay devotee in the Buddha’s community.

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