This story happened during Buddha’s time in ancient India, at Savatthi.
There were 2 rich merchants who were best friends. Sirigutta was a disciple of Buddha and the other one, Garahadinna was disciple of a heretic teacher.
The heretic teacher constantly encouraged and instigated Garahadinna to convert his friend. Saying:”your friend Sirigutta had followed the fake teacher, monk Gotama. He will surely come to a bad end in future. If you care for your friend, you should bring him to me.”
Actually, the heretic teacher was desirous of gaining another rich patron.
Consequently, Garahadinna began to nag Sirigutta constantly. Encouraging and advicing Sirigutta to make offerings to his heretic teacher instead of Buddha.
This continued for a while until Sirigutta couldn’t stand it anymore. Sirigutta retorted “what use is your teacher and what is so great about him?”
Garahadinna replied, ” do not be disrespectful my friend. My teacher had proclaimed himself to be a knower of all worlds. He is aware of everything. The past, present and future.”
Sirigutta said “Ok fine, I will like to make offerings to such an enlightened master too. Please invite him and his disciples to my home for a grand offering next week.”
Garahadinna was delighted and helped Sirigutta extend his invitation to his heretic teacher.
His teacher was delighted and readily accepted the invitation.
Sirigutta started preparation for the honouring feast. However, he believed only in Buddha and seriously doubted the claims made by the heretics.
Since he lived in a huge property with a huge garden, he instructed servants to set up an elaborate trap.
Beneath the seats of honour were hidden ditch that were filled with excrement and dung. Anyone who took a seat will surely land themselves into that filthy ditch.
He also prepared empty food vessels by covering the pots with ornate lids and smearing food around the lid to create an impression that they were brimming with food.
On the day of the feast, Garahadinna lead his heretic teacher and the herectic followers to the mansion of Sirigutta.
Sirigutta received them at the gate personally. He prostrated with utmost respect and mentally prayed.
“Oh master, it is said that you are clairvoyant and knows the 3 world systems and the 3 times, I sincerely confess to you that there are no food to be offered to you today. In fact I had set a nasty trap to embarrass you today. Please do not enter my mansion today if you are really clairvoyant as claimed.”
Unfortunately the heretics continued to enter the mansion joyously.
In due course, the entire assembly of heretics fell into the filthy pitch and were covered with excrement!
When they got out of the pitch, Sirigutta had arranged a group of men with sticks in their hand to whip the heretics.
Shouting, ” fake teacher swindling people deserve a thrashing”
Since Sirigutta had arranged a grand reception earlier, all these were witnessed by the general public.
Garahadinna wasn’t please about this and felt personally insulted. Instead of being thankful to his best friend for rescuing him from a charlatan, he became hateful and refused to speak to him.
End of part one.
I find this story amusing because it is as relevant today as 2500 years ago.
There are still many charlatan claiming to be enlightened or gods or messenger of gods.
If we are brave and objective like Sirigutta, then we will not be easily fooled.
Personally, I heard this story when I was a teen and follow Sirigutta’s example.
If someone claims to be a Buddha or a bodhisattva or a messenger of Buddha/ bodhisattva or they possess supernatural power etc. I will likewise use this simple method of verification.
For example, we can mentally project a request and respectfully ask the reputable teacher to react in accordance. Keeping it to ourselves.
Hope you enjoy this story and is inspired by the wisdom of a fellow Buddhist from ancient times.
Dharma is holy and pure. We do not need a psychic or a levitating teacher to preach to us. If our mind is ready, we can also benefit from a child reading a dharma verse.