On the eve of Sri Lanka celebrating it’s seventh anniversary since defeating the LTTE, Ven. Galkande Dhammananda Thero, a renowned history lecturer attached to the University of Kelaniya reminded the country of the important teachings of Lord Buddha where renouncing conquest and defeat will help everyone live happily.
Dhammananda Thero, in a special message which was released last year said that while a war victory created an atmosphere of hatred, it also resulted in a section of the people remaining dejected, despite the victory.
“Conquest begets enmity; the conquered live in misery; the peaceful live happily having renounced conquest and defeat,” the Thero said, reciting a verse from the Dhammapada.
The Story of the Defeat of the King of Kosala
While residing at the Jetavana monastery, the Buddha uttered Verse (201) of this book, with reference to the King of Kosala who was defeated in battle by Ajatasattu, his own nephew.
In fighting against Ajatasattu, the King of Kosala was defeated three times. Ajatasattu was the son of King Bimbisara and Queen Vedehi, the sister of the King of Kosala. The King of Kosala was ashamed and very much depressed over his defeat. Thus his lamentation: “What a disgrace! I cannot even conquer this boy who still smells of mother’s milk. It is better that I should die.” Feeling depressed and very much ashamed, the king refused to take food, and kept to his bed. The news about the king’s distress spread like wild fire and when the Buddha came to learn about it, he said, “Bhikkhus! In one who conquers, enmity and hatred increase; one who is defeated suffers pain and distress.”
Then the Buddha spoke in verse as follows:
Jayam veram pasawati – Dukkam seti parajito
Upasanto sukham seti – Hitva jaya parajayam
Conquest begets enmity; the conquered live in misery; the peaceful live happily having renounced conquest and defeat.
( Dhammapada, Sukhaa vagga verse 5)
Galkande Dhammananda Thero
Walpola Sri Rahula Institute
Lecturer, History Department
University of Kelaniya