Belligerent ruler

Venerable Ratthapála was one of the important disciples of the Buddha, who is, among other things, the main actor of the Ratthapála-sutta, the canonical text of Theravada Buddhism. The text (sutta) describes in particular Ratthapála’s visit to his parents in his hometown and ends with a conversation between the venerable Ratthapála and King Kóravya, part of which is unfortunately still relevant…

Venerable Ratthapala said: “The world is incomplete, unsatiated, and a slave to desire.” How should the meaning of these words be understood?”
“What do you think, great king, do you rule in the rich land of the Kurus?”
“Yes , honored Ratthapála, I reign in the rich land of the Kurus.”
“What do you think, great king, if a trustworthy and reliable man came to you from the east and said to you: “Know, great king, that I come from the east and there I saw a great land, rich and flourishing, full of people, well peopled. There are many divisions of elephants, many divisions of horses, many divisions of chariots, and many divisions of infantry. There is a great deal of ivory, gold coins, beaten and unbeaten gold, and women to ravish. With your power you could conquer it. Conquer her, great king!’ What would you do?”
“We would conquer her, venerable Ratthapála, and rule over her.”
“It is for this, great king, declared the Exalted One who knows and sees, is meritorious and fully awakened: ‘The world is incomplete, unsatiated and a slave to desire.’ Knowing, seeing and hearing this, I left home for homelessness.”
“It is wonderful, venerable Ratthapála, it is wonderful, how beautifully it was said by the Exalted One who knows and sees, is worthy and fully awakened: ‘The world is incomplete, it is insatiable and a slave to desire.’ It is indeed so!”

Thus said the venerable Ratthapala. And when he said this, he also said:

“I see rich people in the world
who do not give of their possessions, because of blindness.
They covetously hoard their wealth,
desiring more sensual pleasures.

The king who forcibly conquered the land
surrounded by the sea and rules over it,
not satisfied with this shore
desires the other shore as well.

Kings and many other people
die not freed from desires (avitatanha).
With unfulfilled [desires] they leave their bodies,
sensual desire remains unsatiated in the world.
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His relatives wail and tear their hair:
“Oh alas, he is not immortal!”
They carry him wrapped in a robe
to the funeral pyre, where they burn him.

(Excerpt from Ratthapála-sutta, Majjhima-nikaya 82, translation by Bhikkhu Gavésakó, edited and edited by Štěpán Chromovský,

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