In this article, Thanissaro Bhikkhu claims that King Bimbasara becomes a stream winner and “never engages in war.” He provides no citation for this claim. I know the Digha Nikaya reports that he became a stream winner and is reborn in heaven. But where in the Canon does it say King Bimbisara never went to war? It appears as though there are examples in the Vinaya where Bimbisara does, in fact, go to war. For example, here:
Bu-Pj.4.9.5 MS.765 At one time King Seniya Bimbisāra of Magadha was defeated in battle with the Licchavis. Then the king collected his armies and beat the Licchavis. Delight about the battle spread about: “The Licchavis were defeated by the king!”
Then the Venerable Mahāmoggallāna addressed the monks: “Friends, the king was defeated by the Licchavis.”
The monks criticised and denounced him: “How can Venerable Moggallāna say, ʻFriends, the king was defeated by the Licchavis,ʼ when delight about the battle is spreading about thus: ʻThe Licchavis were defeated by the king!ʼ The Venerable Mahāmoggallāna is claiming a super-human achievement.” They informed the Master.
“Monks, first the king was defeated by the Licchavis Vin.3.109 and then, after he had collected his army, the king beat the Licchavis. Moggallāna spoke truly. There is no offence for Moggallāna.”
Also, the Vinaya explains here that the reason the Buddha banned soldiers from ordaining is that too many were deserting Bimbisara’s army to become monks. Interestingly, the commentary seems to be aware of the tension between Bimbisara’s stream entry and his commanding troops, and attempts to resolve the tension by saying that Bimbisara merely commanded troops to the borderlands without explicitly call for killing; Horner points out:
“Vin-a.996 says that thieves were giving trouble, but because Bimbisāra was a stream-winner he did not command: “Strike them, kill them.”
Does anyone have any more light to shed on this issue? Are there sources that I am missing that validates Thanissaro Bhikkhu’s claim?