The 7th International Conference Buddhism & Australia
Chinese Buddhist Encyclopedia Illustrations
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Ajatasatru - Ajatasattu
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w “A king of Magadha in Shakyamuni’s day. While still a prince, he became friendly with Devadatta, who incited him to have his father Bimbisara killed and become king in his stead. He made Magadha into the most powerful kingdom in India.
According to the Nirvana Sutra, since King Bimbisara had no heir by his wife Vaidehi, he consulted a diviner, who said that there was a hermit presently living in the mountains who, after he died, would be reborn as Bimbisara’s son.
In fear of this child, the king dropped him from atop a tower [but the child survived the fall]… It is said that as a young man Ajatasatru was persuaded to rebel against his father by Devadatta, who told him the story of his birth.” Sokk: 7-8
This was interpreted by the astrologers to mean that her child would kill his father.
Together with Devadatta, he contrived a double conspiracy: since Devadatta was eager to take over the leadership of the Buddhist order, he was to murder the Buddha, and Ajatasattu was to kill his own father.
“After Bimbisara’s death, Ajatasatru came to regret his conduct deeply. Tormented by guilt over the death of his father, he broke out in virulent sores during the second month of his fiftieth year, and it was predicted that he would die in the third month.