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Saṁyutta Nikāya — The Connected Discourses

SN1: Connected Discourses with Devatas

SN1:35 Faultfinders

1On one occasion the Blessed One was dwelling at Sāvatthī in Jeta's Grove, Anāthapiṇḍika's Park. Then, when the night had advanced, a number of "faultfinding" devatas, of stunning beauty, illuminating the entire Jeta's Grove, approached the Blessed One and stood in the air.Spk: There is no separate deva world named "the faultfinders" (ujjhanasaññino). This name was given to these devas by the redactors of the texts because they arrived in order to find fault with the Tathāgata for his "misuse" of the four requisites. They had thought: ʺThe ascetic Gotama praises contentment with simple requisites to the bhikkhus, but he himself lives luxuriously. Daily he teaches the Dhamma to the multitude. His speech goes in one direction, his deeds in another." The fact that they address the Buddha while they are still hovering in the air is already indicative of disrespect. sn.i.24

Then one devata, standing in the air, recited this verse in the presence of the Blessed One:


2v.108 "If one shows oneself in one way
While actually being otherwise,
What one enjoys is obtained by theft
Like the gains of a cheating gambler."Spk defines kitava as a fowler (sakuṇika) and explains: "As a fowler conceals himself behind branches and foliage and kills the fowl that come near, thereby supporting his wife, so the swindler conceals himself behind a rag-robe and cheats the multitude with clever talk. All the use he makes of the four requisites (robes, food, lodging, and medicines) is use by theft. The deva utters this verse with reference to the Blessed One." The same explanation of kitava is given at Dhp-a III 375 (to Dhp 252). However, at Ja VI 228,19 the word occurs in a context that clearly shows it means a gambler; it is glossed by akkhadhutta, a dice-gambler, and I translate accordingly here. See Palihawadana, "From Gambler to Camouflage: The Strange Semantic Metamorphosis of Pali Kitava."

Another devata:


3v.109 "One should speak as one would act;
Don’t speak as one wouldn’t act.
The wise clearly discern the person
Who does not practise what he preaches."

The Blessed One:


4v.110 "Not by mere speech nor solely by listening
Can one advance on this firm path of practice
By which the wise ones, the meditators,
Are released from the bondage of Māra.

5v.111 "Truly, the wise do not pretend,
For they have understood the way of the world.
By final knowledge the wise are quenched:
They have crossed over attachment to the world."

6Then those devatas, having alighted on the earth, prostrated themselves with their heads at the Blessed One's feet and said to the Blessed One:"A transgression overcame us, venerable sir, being so foolish, so stupid, so unskilful that we imagined we could assail the Blessed One. Let the Blessed One pardon us for our transgression seen as such for the sake of restraint in the future."

Then the Blessed One displayed a smile.Spk: Why did the Buddha display a smile? It is said that those devas did not apologize in a way that accorded with the Buddha’s true nature (sabhavena); they acted as if there were no difference between the Tathāgata, the supreme person in the world, and ordinary worldly people. The Blessed One smiled with the intention: "When discussion arises from this, I will show the power of a Buddha and thereafter I will pardon them." Those devatas, finding fault to an even greater extent, then rose up into the air. One devata recited this verse in the presence of the Blessed One:


7v.112 "If one does not grant pardon
To those who confess transgression,
Angry at heart, intent on hate,
One strongly harbours enmity."

The Blessed One:

8v.113 "If there was no transgression,
If here there was no going astray,
And if enmities were appeased,
Then one would be faultless here."in pāda d, I follow Se in reading tenadha, as against kenidha in Be and Ee1 and ko nidha in Ee2. Neither Spk nor Spk-pṭ offers any help with the meaning of the verse. I translate kusala here in accordance with Spk-pṭ's gloss, anavajja. At KS 1:35 this verse has been overlooked.

A devata:


9v.114 "For whom are there no transgressions?
For whom is there no going astray?
Who has not fallen into confusion?
And who is the wise one, ever mindful?" sn.i.25

The Blessed One:


10v.115 "The Tathāgata, the Enlightened One,
Full of compassion for all beings:
For him there are no transgressions,
For him there is no going astray;
He has not fallen into confusion,
And he is the wise one, ever mindful.

11v.116 "If one does not grant pardon
To those who confess transgression,
Angry at heart, intent on hate,
One strongly harbours enmity.
In that enmity I do not delight,
Thus I pardon your transgression."

1Ekaṁ samayaṁ bhagavā sāvatthiyaṁ vihārati jetavane anāthapiṇḍikassa ārāme. Atha kho sambahulā ujjhanasaññikā devatāyo abhikkantāya rattiyā abhikkantavaṇṇā kevalakappaṁ jetavanaṁ obhāsetvā yena bhagavā tenupasaṅkamiṁsu; upasaṅkamitvā vehāsaṁ aṭṭhaṁsu.

Vehāsaṁ ṭhitā kho ekā devatā bhagavato santike imaṁ gāthaṁ abhāsi: 


2"Aññathā santamattānaṁ,
aññathā yo pavedaye;
Nikacca kitavasseva,
bhuttaṁ theyyena tassa taṁ.


3Yañhi kayirā tañhi vade,
yaṁ na kayirā na taṁ vade;
Akarontaṁ bhāsamānaṁ,
parijānanti paṇḍitā"ti.


4"Na yidaṁ bhāsitamattena,
ekantāsavānena vā;
Anukkamitave sakkā,
yāyaṁ paṭipadā daḷhā;
Yāya dhīrā pamuccanti,
jhāyino mārabandhanā.

5Na ve dhīrā pakubbanti,
viditvā lokapariyāyaṁ;
Aññāya nibbutā dhīrā,
tiṇṇā loke visattikan"ti.

6Atha kho tā devatāyo pathaviyaṁ patiṭṭhahitvā bhagavato pādesu sirasā nipatitvā bhagavantaṁ etadavocuṁ: "Accayo no, bhante, accagamā yathābālaṁ yathāmūḷhaṁ yathāakusalaṁ, yā mayaṁ bhagavantaṁ āsādetabbaṁ amaññimhā. Tāsaṁ no, bhante, bhagavā accayaṁ accayato paṭiggaṇhātu āyatiṁ saṁvarāyā"ti. Atha kho bhagavā sitaṁ pātvākāsi.

Atha kho tā devatāyo bhiyyoso mattāya ujjhāyantiyo vehāsaṁ abbhuggañchuṁ. Ekā devatā bhagavato santike imaṁ gāthaṁ abhāsi: 


7"Accayaṁ desayantīnaṁ,
yo ce na paṭigaṇhati;
Kopantaro dosagaru,
sa veraṁ paṭimuñcatī"ti.

8"Accayo ce na vijjetha,
nocidhāpagataṁ siyā;
Verāni na ca sammeyyuṁ,
kenīdha kusalo siyā"ti.


9"Kassaccayā na vijjanti,
kassa natthi apāgataṁ;
Ko na sammohamāpādi,
ko ca dhīro sadā sato"ti.


10"Tathāgatassa buddhassa,
sabbabhūtānukampino;
Tassaccayā na vijjanti,
tassa natthi apāgataṁ;
So na sammohamāpādi,
sova dhīro sadā satoti.

11Accayaṁ desayantīnaṁ,
yo ce na paṭigaṇhati;
Kopantaro dosagaru,
sa veraṁ paṭimuñcati;
Taṁ veraṁ nābhinandāmi,
paṭiggaṇhāmi voccayan"ti.