Sakyamuni and Devadatta

Political scandals have always been with us. But the politicians, themselves, rarely think of themselves as scandalous. They are only “back scratching,” they feel: repaying a favor for a favor. The country may not forgive them for putting selfish interests ahead of national interests, but we cannot say that they were entirely evil for helping their political friends. They put human relationships ahead of duty.

The relationship between Sakyamuni and Devadatta can be considered an example of human relationships. Devadatta was a traitor during Sakyamuni’s lifetime. However, in a previous life he had been an indispensable teacher of Sakyamuni.

Introduction to the Lotus Sutra