life was oriented around the Saddharmapuṇḍarīka Sūtra itself. At that time, this ṛṣi taught the Saddharmapuṇḍarīka Sūtra to the bodhisattva in return for which the bodhisattva acted as his devoted servant for a thousand years. This seer was none other than Devadatta, whom the Buddha terms his kalyāṇamitra (Sps 158.25- 26 [Kn., 246]), or "spiritual friend"--in effect, his teacher. It was through training under Devadatta as his teacher, the Buddha tells us, that he was able to perfect the qualities 55 by which he eventually became a buddha (Sps 158.26ff. [Kn., 246]). In future times, the Buddha continues, Devadatta will be greatly revered and honored and shall become no less than the greatly revered tathāgata Devarāja, who shall lead innumerable beings to enlightenment. After he has passed away, the dharma of this Buddha shall remain for twenty intermediate kalpas. Moreover, his relics will not be divided but will be kept together in a single, gigantic stūpa, worshiped by gods and humans. So holy will be this stūpa that those who circumambulate it may hope for realization as an arhant, a pratyekabuddha, or a buddha. Finally, in the future, a great blessing shall come to those who hear about Devadatta: for those hearing this chapter of the Saddharmapuṇḍarīka Sūtra and gaining from it shall be liberated from rebirth in the three lower realms. 56 For at least one Buddhist tradition, then, Devadatta is clearly neither a vinaya-breaker nor the archenemy of the Buddha but is a simple bhikṣu in good standing, present in an assembly in which the Buddha is preaching the Mahāyāna of the Saddharmapuṇḍarīka Sūtra. Moreover, he is identified as having been in a previous lifetime a forest saint devoted to the principal Mahāyāna text of this tradition, one who made possible the present Buddha and his central Mahāyāna teaching. Does this textual image of Devadatta, though written down much later, retain a tradition relating to this saint that antedates or is contemporaneous with his vilification in the various vinayas? This question, particularly in light of the Mahāyāna associations of Devadatta in the Saddharmapuṇḍarīka Sūtra, is intriguing.