Sakka pays obeisance to the Buddha 3
Translation of BZA 042. First version published in Buddhist Studies
Review vol. 23-1 (2006).
Thus have I heard, once, the Buddha was staying at Sāvatthī at the Jeta Grove in
the Anāthapiṇḍika Park.
At that time the Buddha told the bhikkhus: “Long time ago Sakka Devānam Indo
wanted to go for a ride and enjoy his park land. He ordered his charioteer
Mātali: ‘Harness the thousand-horse chariot!’ Soon Mātali had harnessed the
chariot, went to Sakka, and said to him: ‘The chariot is ready, we may leave
whenever you please.’ Thereupon Sakka left the Vejayanta Palace and with folded
hands paid obeisance facing west. When Mātali saw this, he generated surprise
and fear, and dropped whip and reigns.
Sakka said: ‘What have you seen that you are so scared?’ Mātali said: ‘Maghavā!
Husband of Suja! When I saw you with folded hands paying obeisance facing west,
my mind became filled with fear and I dropped whip and reigns. All beings revere
you; all the kings are completely under your rule. The four [Guardian] kings and
the thirty-three gods, all respectfully revere you. Who then surpasses you in
power, that you stand and pay obeisance with folded hands facing west?’ Sakka
answered: ‘Everybody reveres me, like you say. [However,] what all devas and
human beings respectfully venerate is the Sangha. I respectfully pay obeisance
to the Sangha.’
Thereupon Mātali spoke a verse:
The human body is filled with pus and sweat // entangled within a feeble
Always afflicted by hunger and thirst // why do you admire these homeless
Why do you // venerate them deeply
What beauty do they have // and what virtue
Please tell me // I would like to know
At that time Sakka Devānam Indo spoke a verse:
Right because they are homeless // I do admire them
They own no goods // no storehouse and no grain.
They have left all tasks and business // frugally live out their lives in
They keep the precepts well // discuss the wonderful Dhamma
brave and firm they are without fear // practicing noble silence.
devas and asuras // fight incessantly
and among men // each harbors anger.
I venerate those // who have abandoned blade and cudgel.
Everybody strives to accumulate [riches], // they let go of everything.
What the world holds dear, // their mind has discarded.
I pay obedience to those // who have abandoned all extremes.
This, Mātali, // you should know.
At that time Mātali spoke this verse:
You venerate the very best // I will follow you in worship
What the Maghavā venerates // I too shall venerate
Having spoken this verse, Sakka mounted the chariot and left.
Buddha told the monks: “Sakka is powerful among men and devas, if even he
venerates the Sangha, how much more should you, oh monks, who have left home to
study the way, venerate the Sangha.”
When the Buddha had finished, the monks, having listened to what he had said,
were happy and practiced accordingly.
View TEI-XML Source