44. DEVADATTA'S PLAN TO GET MORE ALMS BY WINNING OVER AJATASATTU
Soon after he had ordained as a monk, Venerable Devadatta practised meditation and attained superhuman power and even the six higher psychic powers. Because he possessed these powers he wanted to become a rival and take the Buddha's place as the leader. Being eager for gain and honour he thought he would achieve his purpose by winning over Prince Ajatasattu, still a youth but with sure prospects of accession to the throne. Devadatta assumed the form of a lad with a girdle of snakes, and terrified Ajatasattu by appearing in his lap. He then comforted the Prince saying, "Oh, Prince, don't get alarmed. I am the person known as Venerable Devadatta." He then assumed his proper form as a monk with the bowl and robes, and stood in front of the prince. Ajatasattu marveling at the wonder paid him great honour, and sent him 500 dishes daily. Devadatta secured more than enough alms according to his original plan.