SuttaCentral

Any angry mob scenes in the Pali Canon?

Hello Sutta Central friends,

I was curious to know if there are any stories involving angry mobs in the Pali Canon? I can’t recall any. Or in the Jatakas?

These are disturbing times. I take comfort in the wisdom of EBT.

Peace and well wishes from NYC,
Upayadhi

3 Likes

Well, there are suttas like MN104: SuttaCentral
But the assaults are purely verbal…

Now at that time the Nigaṇṭha Nātaputta had recently passed away at Pāvā. With his passing the Jain ascetics split, dividing into two factions, arguing, quarreling, and fighting, continually wounding each other with barbed words: ‘You don’t understand this teaching and training. I understand this teaching and training. What, you understand this teaching and training? You’re practicing wrong. I’m practicing right. I stay on topic, you don’t. You said last what you should have said first. You said first what you should have said last. What you’ve thought so much about has been disproved. Your doctrine is refuted. Go on, save your doctrine! You’re trapped; get yourself out of this—if you can!’ You’d think there was nothing but slaughter going on among the Jain ascetics. And the Nigaṇṭha Nātaputta’s white-clothed lay disciples were disillusioned, dismayed, and disappointed in the Jain ascetics. They were equally disappointed with a teaching and training so poorly explained and poorly propounded, not emancipating, not leading to peace, proclaimed by someone who is not a fully awakened Buddha, with broken monument and without a refuge.

5 Likes

MN50 : Mahamoggallana tells the story of how he as Mara in a past life had harrassed the previous Buddha…

Once upon a time, Wicked One, I was a Māra named Dūsī, and I had a sister named Kāḷī. You were her son, which made you my nephew.

At that time Kakusandha, the Blessed One, the perfected one, the fully awakened Buddha arose in the world. Kakusandha had a fine pair of chief disciples named Vidhura and Sañjīva. Of all the disciples of the Buddha Kakusandha, none were the equal of Venerable Vidhura in teaching Dhamma. And that’s how he came to be known as Vidhura.

But when Venerable Sañjīva had gone to a wilderness, or to the root of a tree, or to an empty hut, he easily attained the cessation of perception and feeling. Once upon a time, Sañjīva was sitting at the root of a certain tree having attained the cessation of perception and feeling. Some cowherds, shepherds, farmers, and passers-by saw him sitting there and said, ‘It’s incredible, it’s amazing! This ascetic passed away while sitting. We should cremate him.’ They collected grass, wood, and cow-dung, heaped it all on Sañjīva’s body, set it on fire, and left.

Then, when the night had passed, Sañjīva emerged from that attainment, shook out his robes, and, since it was morning, he robed up and entered the village for alms. Those cowherds, shepherds, farmers, and passers-by saw him wandering for alms and said, ‘It’s incredible, it’s amazing! This ascetic passed away while sitting, and now he has come back to life!’ And that’s how he came to be known as Sañjīva.

Then it occurred to Māra Dūsī, ‘I don’t know the course of rebirth of these ethical mendicants of good character. Why don’t I take possession of these brahmins and householders and say, “Come, all of you, abuse, attack, harass, and trouble the ethical mendicants of good character. Hopefully by doing this we can upset their minds so that Māra Dūsī can find a vulnerability.”’ And that’s exactly what he did.

Then those brahmins and householders abused, attacked, harassed, and troubled the ethical mendicants of good character: ‘These shavelings, fake ascetics, riffraff, black spawn from the feet of our Kinsman, say, ‘We practice absorption meditation! We practice absorption meditation!’ And they meditate and concentrate and contemplate and ruminate. They’re just like an owl on a branch, which meditates and concentrates and contemplates and ruminates as it hunts a mouse. They’re just like a jackal on a river-bank, which meditates and concentrates and contemplates and ruminates as it hunts a fish. They’re just like a cat by an alley or a drain or a dustbin, which meditates and concentrates and contemplates and ruminates as it hunts a mouse. They’re just like an unladen donkey by an alley or a drain or a dustbin, which meditates and concentrates and contemplates and ruminates. In the same way, these shavelings, fake ascetics, riffraff, black spawn from the feet of our Kinsman, say, ‘We practice absorption meditation! We practice absorption meditation!’ And they meditate and concentrate and contemplate and ruminate.’

Most of the people who died at that time—when their body broke up, after death—were reborn in a place of loss, a bad place, the underworld, hell.

Then Kakusandha the Blessed One, the perfected one, the fully awakened Buddha, addressed the mendicants: ‘Mendicants, the brahmins and householders have been possessed by Māra Dūsī. He told them to abuse you in the hope of upsetting your minds so that he can find a vulnerability. Come, all of you mendicants, meditate spreading a heart full of love to one direction, and to the second, and to the third, and to the fourth. In the same way above, below, across, everywhere, all around, spread a heart full of love to the whole world—abundant, expansive, limitless, free of enmity and ill will. Meditate spreading a heart full of compassion … Meditate spreading a heart full of rejoicing … Meditate spreading a heart full of equanimity to one direction, and to the second, and to the third, and to the fourth. In the same way above, below, across, everywhere, all around, spread a heart full of equanimity to the whole world—abundant, expansive, limitless, free of enmity and ill will.’

When those mendicants were instructed and advised by the Buddha Kakusandha in this way, they went to a wilderness, or to the root of a tree, or to an empty hut, where they meditated spreading a heart full of love … compassion … rejoicing … equanimity.

Then it occurred to Māra Dūsī, ‘Even when I do this I don’t know the course of rebirth of these ethical mendicants of good character. Why don’t I take possession of these brahmins and householders and say, “Come, all of you, honor, respect, esteem, and venerate the ethical mendicants of good character. Hopefully by doing this we can upset their minds so that Māra Dūsī can find a vulnerability.”’

And that’s exactly what he did. Then those brahmins and householders honored, respected, esteemed, and venerated the ethical mendicants of good character.

Most of the people who died at that time—when their body broke up, after death—were reborn in a good place, a heavenly realm.

Then Kakusandha the Blessed One, the perfected one, the fully awakened Buddha, addressed the mendicants: ‘Mendicants, the brahmins and householders have been possessed by Māra Dūsī. He told them to venerate you in the hope of upsetting your minds so that he can find a vulnerability. Come, all you mendicants, meditate observing the ugliness of the body, perceiving the repulsiveness of food, perceiving dissatisfaction with the whole world, and observing the impermanence of all conditions.’

When those mendicants were instructed and advised by the Buddha Kakusandha in this way, they went to a wilderness, or to the root of a tree, or to an empty hut, where they meditated observing the ugliness of the body, perceiving the repulsiveness of food, perceiving dissatisfaction with the whole world, and observing the impermanence of all conditions.

Then the Buddha Kakusandha robed up in the morning and, taking this bowl and robe, entered the village for alms with Venerable Vidhura as his second monk.

Then Māra Dūsī took possession of a certain boy, picked up a rock, and hit Vidhura on the head, cracking it open. Then Vidhura, with blood pouring from his cracked skull, still followed behind the Buddha Kakusandha. Then the Buddha Kakusandha turned his whole body, the way that elephants do, to look back, saying, ‘This Māra Dūsī knows no bounds.’ And with that look Māra Dūsī fell from that place and was reborn in the Great Hell.

6 Likes

Though IMHO, the closest parallel to the present political scene of the USA is to be found in the story of the Quarrel at Kosambi, also described here in the Vinaya.

Whene’er the Brotherhood in twain is rent,
The common folk to loud-mouthed cries give vent:
Each one believes that he himself is wise,
And views his neighbour with disdainful eyes.
Bewildered souls, puffed up with self-esteem,
With open mouth they foolishly blaspheme;
And as through all the range of speech they stray,
They know not whom as leader to obey.
“This man abused me, that struck me a blow,
A third o’ercame and robbed me long ago.”
All such as harbour feelings of this kind,
To mitigate their wrath are ne’er inclined.
“He did abuse and buffet me of yore
He overcame me and oppressed me sore.”
They who such thoughts refuse to entertain,
Appease their wrath and live at one again.
Not hate, but love alone makes hate to cease:
This is the everlasting law of peace.

9 Likes

The Saccamkira Jātaka has an episode where a tyrant, Prince Duttha (= Devadatta in a past life), gets overthrown and killed by an angry mob.

7 Likes