Aŋguttara Nikāya


 

Aŋguttara-Nikāya
III. Tika Nipāta
IV. Deva-Dūta Vagga

The Numerical Discourses of the Buddha
III. The Book of the Threes
IV. Divine Messengers

Sutta 36 (WP 37)

Catu-Mahārāja Suttaɱ

Kings (1)

Translated from the Pali by Bhikkhu Bodhi.

© 2012 Bhikkhu Bodhi
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[1][pts] "Bhikkhus,

(1) on the eighth of the fortnight, the ministers and assembly members of the four great kings wander over this world, [thinking]:

'We hope there are many people who behave properly towards their mother and father, behave properly towards ascetics and brahmins, honor the elders of the family, observe the uposatha, keep the extra observance days, and do meritorious deeds.'

(2) On the fourteenth of the fortnight, the sons of the four great kings wander over this world, [thinking]:

'We hope there are many people who behave properly towards their mother and father ... and do meritorious deeds.'

(3) On the fifteenth, the uposatha day, the four great kings themselves wander over this world, [thinking]:

'We hope there are many people who behave properly towards their mother and father ... and do meritorious deeds.'

"If, bhikkhus, there are few people who behave properly towards their mother and father ... and do meritorious deeds, the four great kings report this to the Tāvatiɱsa devas when they meet and are sitting together in the Sudhamma council hall:

'Revered sirs, there are few people who behave properly towards their mother and father ... and do meritorious deeds.'

Then, because of this, the Tāvatiɱsa devas become displeased, [saying]:

'Alas, the celestial company will decline and the company of asuras will flourish!'

"But if there are many people who behave properly towards their mother and father ... and do meritorious deeds, the four great kings report this to the Tāvatiɱsa devas when they meet and are sitting together in the Sudhamma council hall:

'Revered sirs, there are many people who behave properly towards their mother and father, behave properly towards ascetics and brahmins, honor the elders of the family, observe the uposatha, keep the extra observance days, and do meritorious deeds.'

Then, because of this, the Tāvatiɱsa devas become elated, [saying]:

'Indeed, the celestial company will flourish and the company of asuras will decline!'"

"Bhikkhus, once in the past, when Sakka, ruler of the devas, was guiding the Tāvatiɱsa devas, he recited this verse:

'The person who would be like me
should observe the uposatha
complete in the eight factors,
on the fourteenth, fifteenth,
and eighth of the fortnight,
and during special fortnights.'

"This verse, bhikkhus, was badly recited by Sakka, ruler of the devas, not well recited.

It was badly stated, not well stated.

For what reason?

Because Sakka, ruler of the devas, is not devoid of lust, hatred, and delusion.

But in the case of a bhikkhu who is an arahant — one whose taints are destroyed, who has lived the spiritual life, done what had to be done, laid down the burden, reached his own goal, utterly destroyed the fetters of existence, one completely liberated through final knowledge — it is fitting for him to say:

'The person who would be like me ...
and during special fortnights.'

"For what reason?

Because that bhikkhu is devoid of lust, hatred, and delusion."


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