I've been looking for a reference for the story of the conflict between Kosalan king Vidubhara and the Sakyans, that the Buddha tried to stop. There are several versions of this on the web, but none of them give any references. Is it canonical? Whether it's canonical or not, where does it come from?

  • I think this is in Jātaka texts.
    – user382
    Commented Oct 22, 2017 at 16:01

3 Answers 3


Yes, these are striking stories given with varying details even though the 'lesson' is usually the same. I found this summary by a monk named Cittasamvaro;

'Within the Buddhist Scriptures, there is little evidence for collective karma, though the commentaries abound with karma stories. One such is the defeat of the Sakyan kingdom at the end of the Buddha’s life, and the subsequent destruction of the conquering army through natural disaster. Though the Buddha reportedly knew that the war would occur due to past karmas, he still tried to intervene peacefully. The conquering army also paid for its part in the bloodshed, by being swept away by a flood. (Dhammapada Aṭṭhakathā 1.46, Viṭaṭūbhavatthu). Despite the Commentarial stories, stories that are not part of the direct teachings of the Buddha, there is little in the Sutta/Vinaya to suggest that there is such a form of collective karma'.


The evidence for this kind of Buddha's involvement is from the commentaries to the Pali Canon. Thus commentary for Attadaṇḍa Sutta (Sutta Nipata 4:15) says the this sutta was spoken by the Buddha in front of the warring parties in the dispute over Rohini River. Translation of the commentary is in the Bhikkhu Bodhi's translation of the Sutta Nipata, p. 1189: https://books.google.com.mm/books?id=TYQ2DwAAQBAJ&dq=bhikkhu+bodhi+sutta+nipata&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjY0JH49v3lAhUdyzgGHetFBisQ6AEILjAB

In the case you mentioned, regarding revenge Pasenadi's son Vidūdabha took over Sakyans, it is story from the Dhammapada Commentary.


Late Upasaka Goenka gave a very detailed teaching, based on cannonical references: Why Was the Sakyan Republic Destroyed?, Robert Michael.

On seeing the importance here: Dhamma is unwisely grasped, if used for politic and wordily gains:

One should not make an effort everywhere, should not be another's hireling, should not live dependent on another, should not go about as a trader in the Dhamma.

ud 6.2

Topics and Speech that easy leads astray and goes straight to papanca, as this is here very close and inclined seemingly; involved.

[Note: This is a gift of Dhamma and not meant for commercial purpose or other low wordily gains by means of trade and exchange.]

  • This article gives a commentarial source for another of the Buddha's peacemaking actions, between his relatives the Sakyans and Koliyans when they quarreled over water, which I found useful. It is also useful in giving an alternative name (Vitutubha rather than Vidubhara) for the Kosalan king who attacked the Sakyans and apparently found the Buddha sitting under a tree in the way. However, there's no source given for this latter episode. Commented Oct 23, 2017 at 17:09
  • "The fourth time, Viṭaṭūbha set out again in extreme rage, determined that he would not be dissuaded by anyone from avenging his humiliation by the Sakyans. The Buddha discerned his state of mind and also knew that the time had arrived for the past misdeeds of the Sakyans to bear fruit. Therefore, he did not intervene." Dhammapada Aṭṭhakathā 1.46, Viṭaṭūbhavatthu, best asking @BonnWarapol for the text. It's good to read DN11, to understand Buddhas ways of intervention and nothing helps more than teaching people about gratitude, duties, right view, respect of what is worthy of it.
    – user11235
    Commented Oct 23, 2017 at 17:36
  • Mr. @RobertMichaelEllis . It might be difficult to get translated text of commentary, so here one might approach best a pali skilled, learned monk for detail side stories. My person "guesses" the matter certain lack of feeling obligated and gratitude will be a big obstacel to touch the heartwood here. Oh...1not dn11, DN16 "Conditions of a Nation's Welfare"
    – user11235
    Commented Oct 23, 2017 at 17:46
  • buddhism.stackexchange.com/review/suggested-edits/10950 and then you suggestion. That's classical malicious. Really ugly you guys here, again and again...
    – user11235
    Commented Dec 30, 2019 at 2:36
  • @SamanaJohann I guess that rejecting the edit was a mistake. I approved it, so the link is fixed now.
    – ChrisW
    Commented Dec 30, 2019 at 17:20

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .