‘Being the devil isn’t easy. I always have to speak in riddles so that
people won’t notice that I’m tempting them. I always have to appear
bright and intelligent to gain their admiration. I have to put a lot of
energy into trying to persuade my disciples that Hell is more
interesting than Heaven. I am old now and I would like to pass my
students on to you.’
Buddha knew that this was a trap: if he accepted the proposal, he
himself would become the devil, and the devil would become Buddha.
‘You think it’s fun being Buddha,’ he replied. ‘But as well as doing
everything that you have to do, I also have to put up with the things
my students do to me! They place words in my mouth that I never spoke,
they earn money from my teachings and expect me to be wise all the
time! You would never be able to stand such a life!’
This argument convinced the devil that changing roles really wasn’t such a good idea, and Buddha escaped temptation.