DEATH TAKES THE SENSUAL UNAWARES
Puppani h'eva pacinantam byasatta manasam naram
Suttam gamam mahogho'va maccu adaya gacchati.
The man who gathers flowers (of sensual pleasure), whose mind is entangled, death carries off as a great flood sweeps away a sleeping village.
King Pasenadi of Kosala, wishing to marry into the clan of the Sakyans, sent some emissaries to Kapilavatthu with a request for the hand of one of the Sakyan princesses. Not wishing to offend King Pasenadi, the Sakyan princes replied that they would comply with his request, but instead of a Sakyan princess they sent a beautiful girl born of King Mahanama and a slave woman. King Pasenadi made that girl one of his chief consorts and subsequently she gave birth to a son. This son was named Vidudabha. When the prince was sixteen years old, he was sent on a visit to King Mahanama and the Sakyan princes. There he was received with some hospitality but all the Sakyan princes who were younger than Vidudabha had been sent away to a village; so that they would not have to pay respects to him. After staying a few days in Kapilavatthu, Vidudabha and his company left for home. Soon after they left, a maid servant was given the task of washing with milk the place where Vidudabha had sat. As she did so she remarked, 'This is the place where that son of a slave woman had sat.' At that moment, a member of Vidudabha's entourage who had stayed on overheard the remark. She reported to Vidudabha that his mother, Vasabha Khattiya, had been the daughter of a slave girl.
When Vidudabha was told about the incident, he became wild with rage and declared that one day he would wipe out the whole clan of the Sakyans. True to his word, when he became king, he marched on the Sakyan clan and massacred them all, with the exception of a few who were with Mahanama and some others. On their way home, Vidudabha and his army encamped on the sandbank of the river Acirawati. As heavy rain fell in the upper parts of the country on that very night, the river swelled and rushed down with great force carrying away Vidudabha and his army into the ocean.
On hearing about these two tragic incidents, the Buddha explained to the bhikkhus that his relatives, the Sakyan princes, had in one of their previous existences, put poison into the river killing the fishes. It was as a result of that particular action that the Sakyan princes had to die en masse.
Then, referring to the incident about Vidudabha and his army, the Buddha said, 'As a great flood sweeps away all the villagers in a sleeping village, so also, death carries away all the creatures hankering after sensual pleasures.'