Aŋguttara Nikāya


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Aŋguttara Nikāya
VIII. Aṭṭhaka Nipāta
VII. Bhūmi-Cāla Vagga

The Book of the Gradual Sayings
VIII. The Book of the Eights
Chapter VII: On Earthquakes

Sutta 69

Parisa Suttaɱ

Assemblies

Translated from the Pali by E.M. Hare.

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[205]

[1] Thus have I heard:

Once the Exalted One was dwelling near Sāvatthī.

There the Exalted One addressed the monks, saying:

"Monks."

"Yes, lord," they replied, and the Exalted One said:

"Monks, there are these eight assemblies.[1]

What eight?

Assemblies of nobles,
of brahmans,
of householders,
of recluses,
of devas
of the Four Royal devas,
of the Thirty devas,
of Maras
and of Brahmās.

 

§

 

Now, monks, I call to mind having visited many hundreds[2] of times
an assembly of nobles.

And before even I had seated myself among them,
or had spoken to them,
or had engaged them in conversation -
whatever their colour,
that I became;
whatever their language,
that became mine.

And I instructed them,
incited them,
roused them
and gladdened them with Dhamma discourse;
and they knew me not when I spoke,
but reasoned among themselves, saying:

'Who is this who speaks,
man or deva?'

Then, when I had instructed,
incited,
roused
and gladdened them with Dhamma discourse,
I vanished;
and they knew me not when I was gone,
but questioned each other:

'Who is this who has vanished,
man or deva?'

Now, monks, I call to mind having visited many hundreds of times
an assembly of brahmans.

And before even I had seated myself among them,
or had spoken to them,
or had engaged them in conversation -
whatever their colour,
that I became;
whatever their language,
that became mine.

And I instructed them,
incited them,
roused them
and gladdened them with Dhamma discourse;
and they knew me not when I spoke,
but reasoned among themselves, saying:

'Who is this who speaks,
man or deva?'

Then, when I had instructed,
incited,
roused
and gladdened them with Dhamma discourse,
I vanished;
and they knew me not when I was gone,
but questioned each other:

'Who is this who has vanished,
man or deva?'

Now, monks, I call to mind having visited many hundreds of times
an assembly of householders.

And before even I had seated myself among them,
or had spoken to them,
or had engaged them in conversation -
whatever their colour,
that I became;
whatever their language,
that became mine.

And I instructed them,
incited them,
roused them
and gladdened them with Dhamma discourse;
and they knew me not when I spoke,
but reasoned among themselves, saying:

'Who is this who speaks,
man or deva?'

Then, when I had instructed,
incited,
roused
and gladdened them with Dhamma discourse,
I vanished;
and they knew me not when I was gone,
but questioned each other:

'Who is this who has vanished,
man or deva?'

Now, monks, I call to mind having visited many hundreds of times
an assembly of recluses.

And before even I had seated myself among them,
or had spoken to them,
or had engaged them in conversation -
whatever their colour,
that I became;
whatever their language,
that became mine.

And I instructed them,
incited them,
roused them
and gladdened them with Dhamma discourse;
and they knew me not when I spoke,
but reasoned among themselves, saying:

'Who is this who speaks,
man or deva?'

Then, when I had instructed,
incited,
roused
and gladdened them with Dhamma discourse,
I vanished;
and they knew me not when I was gone,
but questioned each other:

'Who is this who has vanished,
man or deva?'

Now, monks, I call to mind having visited many hundreds of times
an assembly of devas of the Four Royal devas.

And before even I had seated myself among them,
or had spoken to them,
or had engaged them in conversation -
whatever their colour,
that I became;
whatever their language,
that became mine.

And I instructed them,
incited them,
roused them
and gladdened them with Dhamma discourse;
and they knew me not when I spoke,
but reasoned among themselves, saying:

'Who is this who speaks,
man or deva?'

Then, when I had instructed,
incited,
roused
and gladdened them with Dhamma discourse,
I vanished;
and they knew me not when I was gone,
but questioned each other:

'Who is this who has vanished,
man or deva?'

Now, monks, I call to mind having visited many hundreds of times
an assembly of devas of the Thirty.

And before even I had seated myself among them,
or had spoken to them,
or had engaged them in conversation -
whatever their colour,
that I became;
whatever their language,
that became mine.

And I instructed them,
incited them,
roused them
and gladdened them with Dhamma discourse;
and they knew me not when I spoke,
but reasoned among themselves, saying:

'Who is this who speaks,
man or deva?'

Then, when I had instructed,
incited,
roused
and gladdened them with Dhamma discourse,
I vanished;
and they knew me not when I was gone,
but questioned each other:

'Who is this who has vanished,
man or deva?'

Now, monks, I call to mind having visited many hundreds of times
an assembly of Maras.

And before even I had seated myself among them,
or had spoken to them,
or had engaged them in conversation -
whatever their colour,
that I became;
whatever their language,
that became mine.

And I instructed them,
incited them,
roused them
and gladdened them with Dhamma discourse;
and they knew me not when I spoke,
but reasoned among themselves, saying:

'Who is this who speaks,
man or deva?'

Then, when I had instructed,
incited,
roused
and gladdened them with Dhamma discourse,
I vanished;
and they knew me not when I was gone,
but questioned each other:

'Who is this who has vanished,
man or deva?'

Now, monks, I call to mind having visited many hundreds of times
an assembly of Brahmās.

And before even I had seated myself among them,
or had spoken to them,
or had engaged them in conversation -
whatever their colour,
that I became;
whatever their language,
that became mine.

And I instructed them,
incited them,
roused them
and gladdened them with Dhamma discourse;
and they knew me not when I spoke,
but reasoned among themselves, saying:

'Who is this who speaks,
man or deva?'

Then, when I had instructed,
incited,
roused
and gladdened them with Dhamma discourse,
I vanished;
and they knew me not when I was gone,
but questioned each other:

'Who is this who has vanished,
man or deva?'

Monks, these are the eight assemblies.'

 


[1] Cf. D. ii, 109; iii, 260; M. i, 72; above, p. 47 (for four).

The note reads: "Windisch, 'Mara und Buddha,' p. 75, makes this number refer to the number of entrances, and quotes Itivuttaka, p. 15, in support. The Singhalese version (p. 758) is as above." The passage in the Itivuttaka speaks of rebirth as Sakka 36 times, and of rebirth as a wheel-turning King hundreds of times, but the Pali is not related to this situation, but speaks of 'habitations' (rebirths) 'satta vassāni...'. From the context of this sutta Windisch and Hare's translation fits better. What appears to be being spoken of is The Buddha transforming his appearance, etc. in his then current life during hundreds of different visits (not rebirths). The Pali is 'anekasataɱ ~parisaɱ upasaŋkamitā' which is literally 'not (just) one hundred ~assemblies approaching (not "rising up in" as in rebirth)'. Bhk. Bodhi goes the other way and has this as the number of those assembled. The issue here is: Did the Buddha make a practice of going round to various assemblies (say, even around the world) to implant Dhamma without attracting attention to the extra-normal manner in which it was done. The visits covered the full spectrum of assemblies which would indicate that this was a deliberate course of action. If he did this in the virtical direction (up and down the scale of realms), why not in the horizontal? ... hundreds of assemblies.]

p.p. explains it all — p.p.

[2] Dial. ii, 117: 'an assembly of many hundred nobles ... see note there.


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