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Mah-Samaya-Sutta

Discourse Addressed to the Great Assembly



Thus I heard. When Buddha was once residing in the forest called
Mah-vana, situated in the city of Kapilavatthu in the country of
Sakya, attended by a numerous retinue of bhikkhus, all of them
arahats, amounting to about five hundred in number, the devas
from the ten thousand Sakvalas congregated in great numbers for
the purpose of seeing Buddha and the bhikkhus. At that time the
following thought occurred to four of the devas residing in the
world called Suddh-vsa-kya: Bhagav is residing at the forest
called Mah-vana in the city of Kapilavatthu in the country of
Sakya, attended by a numerous retinue of bhikkhus, all of them
arahats, amounting to about five hundred in number, and the
devas from the ten thousand Sakvalas have congregated in great
numbers for the purpose of seeing Buddha and the bhikkhus. It is
well if we should also repair to the place where Buddha is, and
speak, each of us, respectively a different stanza in the presence
of Buddha. Instantly the said four devas vanished from their
residence, the world called Suddh-vsa-kya, and descending
as quickly as a strong made man would stretch out his hand
which had been bent, or bend his hand which has been stretched
out, presented themselves before Buddha. Having worshipped
him they stood on one side. One of them then spoke in his
presence the following stanza:
p. 290
There is a great assembly! a concourse of devas has assembled
in the forest; we also came to the righteous assembly for the
purpose of seeing the invincible bhikkhus.
Then the other deva spoke in the presence of Buddha the
following stanza:
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The bhikkhus are engaged in samdhi (meditation); they have
wrought up their minds to uprightness; those wise bhikkhus
control their senses as a charioteer who holds the reins steadily.
Then the other deva said in the presence of Buddha the following
stanza:
Those bhikkhus are moving, having cut off the stake (of lust,
anger, and ignorance), having cut off the shield (of lust, anger,
and ignorance), and demolished the threshold (of lust, anger, and
ignorance), they are moving like unto young elephants, being
destitute of desire, free from passions, pure, endued with eyes
(the five eyes 1), and orderly in their conduct.
Then the other deva said in the presence of Buddha the following
stanza:
If any body place himself under the protection of Buddha, he
would not go to the four hells; he would quit the human body and
acquire a divine body (i.e. he would be born in heaven).
Buddha then called the priests and addressed them thus:
Bhikkhus, the devas from the ten thousand Sakvalas have in
great numbers congregated for the purpose of seeing Tathgata
and the bhikkhus. Bhikkhus! in respect of the sanctified and
omniscient Buddhas who had, in the past ages, appeared and on
account of those Bhagavas also there were assemblies of devas
equal to that which has now congregated because of me. In
respect of those sanctified and omniscient Buddhas who would p.
291 appear in future, on account of those Bhagavas also,
Bhikkhus! there would be assemblies of devas equal to the one
which has now congregated on account of me. Bhikkhus! I shall
tell the names of the devas, Bhikkhus! I shall proclaim the names
of the devas, Bhikkhus! I shall declare the names of the devas.
Do ye listen to the same, bear it well in mind, and I shall tell the
same.
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The priests, in reply to Bhagav, saying: "Be it so, our Lord!"
Bhagav declared the following:
I shall repeat stanzas: Are these terrestrial devas anywhere, they
reside there. Is there any priest who lives in rocky clefts, in his
mind prepared (for the attainment of Nibbna), is he of tranquil
mind; are many of them like unto lions, possessed of calmness of
mind; are they intrepid; are they immaculate in mind; are they
pure; are they of undisturbed mind: such priest knew that there
were more than five hundred bhikkhus in the forest in the
neighbourhood of Kapilavatthu. At that time Satth (the divine
teacher, i.e. Buddha) called his disciples, devotedly attached to
his religion, and addressed them thus: Bhikkhus! the multitude of
devas is present: do ye know them? and the priests hearing the
directions of Buddha, instantly obeyed the same. They became
endowed with the faculty of perceiving the Amanussas 1 (invisible
or spiritual beings). Some of them saw hundreds of invisible
beings, some saw thousands, and others seventy thousand.
Some perceived hundred thousand invisible beings; some,
beyond number, every quarter being filled with them. Cakkhum 2
Buddha knowing the whole distinctly and well, subsequently
called his disciples devotedly attached to his religion and said
thus: Bhikkhus, shall I announce to you in due order any devas?
Know ye them, they being present: seven thousands of Yakkhas
3 born in Kapilavatthu city, who are possessed of the faculty of
iddhi, of power, of personal attractions, and of a retinue of
attendants, have come rejoicing to the assembly of priests in the
forest; six thousands of Yakkhas horn in Himalaya mountains,
who are of various colours, endowed with the faculty of iddhi, full
of power, possessed of personal attractions, and with a retinue of
attendants, have come rejoicing to the assembly of priests in the
forest; three thousands of Yakkhas born in Sta-giri mountain,
who are of various colours, etc.
Thus these sixteen thousand Yakkhas, who are of various
colours, etc,
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Five hundred Yakkhas Wessmittas, who are of various colours,
etc.
There is a Yakkha named Kumbhra of Rjagaha city; his
residence is in the mountain Vepulla; he is attended by hundred
thousand Yakkhas; and that Kumbhra of the city of Rjagaha has
also come to the assembly of priests in the forest.
The king Dhatara.t.tha regent of the East; he rules the inhabitants
of the East; he is the chief of the Gandhabbas 1; he is attended
by a retinue of attendants. His many sons also of vast power and
of the name of Inda, endowed with the faculty of iddhi, etc.
The king Vir.lha regent of the South; he rules the inhahitants of
the South; he is the chief of the Kumbha.n.das 2, and he is
attended by a retinue of attendants. His many sons also of vast
power and of the name of Inda, endowed with the faculty of iddhi,
etc.
The king Virupakkha the regent of the West; he rules the
inhahitants of the West; he is the chief of the Ngas 3, and he is
attended by a retinue of attendants. His many sons also of p. 293
vast power and of the name of Inda, endowed with the faculty of
iddhi, etc.
The king Kuvera the regent of the North; he rules the inhabitants
of the North; he is the chief of the Yakkhas 1, and he is attended
by a retinue of attendants. His many sons also of vast power and
of the name of Inda, endowed with the faculty of iddhi, etc.
The four devas (regents of the four quarters) stood in the forest in
the vicinity of the city Kapilavatthu illuminating all the four quarters
with their splendour, each illuminating his own quarter:
Dhatara.t.tha, the East; Vir.lha, the South; Virupakkha, the West;
and Kuvera, the North. Their slaves who are versed in devices,
tricks, and dissimulation, have also come, and their
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names are: My, Kute.n.du, Ve.te.n.du, Vitucca, and Vitucco;
and also: Candana, Kmase.t.tha, Kinnugha.n.du and Niga.n.du;
(the Gandhabba devas named) Panda, and Opamaa, Matali
the charioteer, Citta and Sena, the king of Nala, Janesabha, have
also come, as well as Pacasikha, Timbaru, and Suriya-vacas
(the daughter of Timbaru). Along with these devas other
Gandhabbas also came rejoicing to the assembly of priests in the
forest; and Ngas of the (lake) Nbhasa, those of the city Visala,
accompanied by their retinue called Taccakas; Kambala and
Assatara, and Ngas of Pyga also have come, accompanied by
their relatives. The Ngas of Yamuna, and those of the race of
Dhatara.t.tha, who are attended by a retinue of attendants, have
also come to the assembly of priests in the forest. Ervana, the
great Nga, has also come to the assembly of priests in the
forest. Are there any that carry away by force the Ngas endowed
with divine power, that are twice born, that are furnished with
wings, possessed of clear eyes, those (Garulas) have also come
down from the sky to the middle of the forest and their names are
Citr Supann. At that time the Ngas were fearless (of their
enemies the Garulas). Buddha vouchsafed his protection to the
Ngas (from the Garulas), and inviting each, in soft words, the
Ngas and Garulas took refuge in Buddha. The Asuras (literally
"not gods"), who had been vanquished by Sakka covered the sea:
they are cousins (in relationship derived from the virgin Sujta) to
Sakka; they are also possessed of the power of iddhi, and
attended by a retinue of attendants. Klakaj assumed a
hideous form, Dnaveghas, Vepacitti, Sucitti, Pahrada, Namuci
(also came). Hundred of the sons of Bali, and all who have the
name of Rhu (those who have Rhu for their head) having
accoutred an army in full armour, repaired to Bhadda Rhu, and
he (giving his benediction) said: "May prosperity attend on you! it
is time for you to go to the assembly of priests in the forest." The
devas Apa (those who have received birth in heaven by indulging
Apa kasina), Pathavi (those who have obtained a celestial birth by
means of Pathavi kasina), Teja (those who had been born in
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heaven by means of Teja kasina), and Vya (those who had
obtained a like birth in heaven by the practice of Vya kasina),
also came at that time; and also the devas Varu.na, Vru.na, and
Soma accompanied by Yasasa. The devas who had obtained
their birth by the practice of benevolence, kindness and
meditations, and possessed of great retinue of attendants also
came: all of these ten bodies of devas composed of as many
sorts who were of different colours, endowed with the faculty of
iddhi, etc.
The devas Ve.nhu, Sahali, Asam, two of the name of Yama; the
devas dwelling in the moon, preceded by the moon, and the
devas residing in the sun, preceded by the sun, came. The devas
of wind, cloud, and heat came, preceded by devas of planets; and
Sakka, the chief of terrestrial devas and who is also called
Vsava and Purindada, also came; all of these ten bodies of
devas, composed of as many sorts, who were of different colours,
etc.
Subsequently the devas Sahabh, shining like unto a flame of
fire, Ari.t.thak, and Roj, shining like the flowers of the Umm
(Pontederia hastaka), came; Varu.na, Dhamma, Accuta, p. 295
Anejaka, Suleya, Rucira came, also came Vasavanesi: all of
these ten bodies of devas, composed of as many sorts who are of
various colours, etc.
Sama.nas, Mah-Sama.nas, Mnussas, and Uttama-Mnussas,
Khi.d.dpadusikas came, also came Manopdusikas. And the
devas Hari, those of Lohita came, also came Pragas, Mah-
pragas: the whole of the ten bodies of devas, etc.
Sukka, Karumha, Aru.na, and Veghanasa came; Pamokkha
called Odtagayha (from the whiteness of his body), and
Vicakkhana are also come. Sadamatta, Hragaja, and Missaka,
possessed of prosperity, Pajjuna, who causes rain to pour in
every direction, came thundering: the whole of the ten bodies of
devas, etc.
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Khemiyas (the devas of the) Tusita (heaven), the Yamas, and
Katthaka possessed of prosperity, Lambitaka, Lma-se.t.tha, Joti
(called so from personal attractions), Asava, those of
Nimmnarati (heaven) are come, and also those of Parinimmita
(heaven): all the ten bodies of devas, etc.
All these sixty kinds of devas who are of different colours and
each distinguished by a particular name have come, and if there
be any other (known by other colours and names), they have also
come with those enumerated above. They have come saying:
"Let us see the arahat priests who will never be born again, who
are destitute of the stake (of lust, anger and ignorance), who have
crossed the (four) streams, and who are free from passions, and
also (Buddha) who has crossed the (four) streams, who is called
Nga (from the circumstance of his never committing an offence)
and who shines like the moon free from darkness." Subrahma
and Paramatto, with their sons possessed of the faculty of iddhi,
and Tissa sanam-kumra, came to the assembly of priests in the
forest. Are there any who are superior to the Mah-Brahmas in
the Brahma-worlds, possessed of great powers, of a vast body,
prosperous, thousands of such Brahmas are come. Among these
ten chief Brahmas, each of whom have control over a different
body, have come; and in the midst of them the Brahma called
Harita has also come attended (by ten thousand attendants).
When all of the devas headed by Inda, and all the Brahmas
headed by Harita came, the retinue of Mra also came: look at
the power of wicked Mra! Mra called Mah-sena saying: "Come
here, capture (them), tie (them), let them be bound by lust,
surround (them), suffer not any body to escape," and striking the
earth with his hands, and thereby producing a dreadful shock,
sent his black army to the midst of the devas. In the same manner
as rain does not fall after lightning and thunder, so Mra finding
his own followers disobedient to him, and being greatly irritated,
remained silent. Buddha who is endowed with (five) eyes,
knowing perfectly well all that was transpiring, called his disciples
who are devotedly attached to his religion and addressed them
thus: "Priests, the retinue of Mra is present,
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do you known {sic} them?" and they hearing the words of Buddha
prepared to enter into meditation. The army of Mra receded from
among those free from lust, even so much as a hair in them was
not affected. Then Mra saying: "All these (priests) having proved
victorious in the war of passions become intrepid, endowed with
prosperity, became famous among the people, and these
disciples live rejoicing with the arahats of the religion of Buddha,"
departed.
Footnotes
1 The five eyes of Buddha are, his divine eye, his human eye, his
mental eye, his omniscient eye, the eye of a Buddha i.e.
knowledgc of Nibbna.
1 Literally inhuman beings.
2 An epithet applied to Buddha in allusion to his five faculties of
perception explained above. Literally one endowed with eyes.\
3Yakkha means deva or god throughout this Sutta.
1 The heavenly musicians.
2 A class of demi-gods.
3 Cobra capello with superhuman powers who can assume the
human form and intermarry with the human race.
1Commonly called in English devils, but answering to the demonia of
the Greeks.