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Mahāsamaya Sutta: The Mighty Gathering

20. Mahāsamaya Sutta: The Mighty Gathering

Devas Come to See the Buddha

1. Thus have I heard.

Once the Lord was staying among the Sakyans in the Great Forest at Kapilavatthu, with a large company of some five hundred monks, all Arahants.

And devas from ten world-systems frequently came there to visit the Lord and his order of monks.

2. And it occurred to four devas of the Pure Abodes:

“The Blessed Lord is staying at Kapilavatthu, with a large company of some five hundred monks, all Arahants. What if we were to approach him, and each recite a verse?”

3. Then those devas, as swiftly as a strong man might stretch his flexed arm, or flex it again, vanished from the Pure Abodes and appeared before the Lord.

Then they saluted him and stood to one side, and one of them recited this verse:

“Great the assembly in the forest here, the devas have met
And we are here to see the unconquered brotherhood.”

Another said:

“The monks with concentrated minds are straight:
They guard their senses as the driver does his reins.”

Another said:

“Bars and barriers broken, the threshold-stone of lust tom up,
Unstained the spotless seers go, like well-trained elephants.”

And another said:

“Who takes refuge in the Buddha, no downward path will go:
Having left the body he'll join the deva hosts.”

4. Then the Lord said to his monks:

“Monks, it has often happened that the devas from ten world-systems have come to see the Tathagata and his order of monks. So it has been with the supreme Buddhas of the past, and so it will be with those of the future, as it is with me now.

I will detail for you the names of the groups of devas, announce them and teach them to you. Pay close attention, and I will speak.”

“Yes, Lord”, said the monks, and the Lord said:

5. “I'll tell you them in verse: to which realm each belongs.
But those who dwell composed and resolute
Like lions in mountain-caves, have overcome
Hair-raising fear and dread, their minds
White and pure, unstained and calm.”

In Kapilavatthu’s wood the Lord perceived
Five hundred of his Arahants and more,
Lovers of his word. To them he said:
“Monks, observe the deva-host approach!”
And the monks strove eagerly to see.

6. With superhuman vision thus arising,
Some saw a hundred gods, a thousand some.
While some saw seventy thousand, others saw
Gods innumerable, all around.
And He-Who-Knows-with-Insight was aware
Of all that they could see and understand.

And to the lovers of his word the Lord,
Turning said: “The deva-hosts approach.
Look and seek to know them, monks, in turn,
As I declare their names to you in verse!”

7. “Seven thousand yakkhas of Kapila's realm,
Well-endowed with power and mighty skills,
Fair to see, with splendid train have come
Rejoicing to this wood to see such monks.

And six thousand yakkhas from Himalaya,
Of varied hue, and well-endowed with powers,
Fair to see, with splendid train have come
Rejoicing to this wood to see such monks.

From Sāta's Mount three thousand yakkhas more
Of varied hue...

The sum is sixteen thousand yakkhas all,
Of varied hue...

8. Of Vessāmitta's host five hundred more
Of varied hue...

Kumbhīra too from Rājagaha comes
(Whose dwelling-place is on Vepulla's slopes):
A hundred thousand yakkhas follow him.

9. King Dhataraṭṭha, ruler of the East,
The gandhabbas' Lord, a mighty king,
Has come with retinue. Many sons
Are his, who all bear Indra's name,
All well-endowed with mighty skills...

King Virūḷha, ruler of the South,
The Kumbaṇḍhas' lord, a mighty king...

Virūpakkha, ruler of the West,
Lord of nagas and a mighty king...

King Kuvera, ruler of the North,
Lord of yakkhas and a mighty king...

From the East King Dhataraṭṭha shone,
From South Virūḷhaka, and from the West
Virūpakkha, Kuvera from the North:
Thus ranged in Kapilavatthu's wood
The Four Great Kings in all their splendour stood.”

10. With them came their vassals versed in guile,
Skilled deceivers all: Kuṭeṇḍu first,
Then Veṭeṇḍu, Viṭu and Viṭucca,
Candana and Kāmaseṭṭha next,
Kinnughaṇḍu and Nighaṇḍu, these,
Panāda, Opamañña, Mātali
(Who was the devas' charioteer), Nala,
Cittasena of the gandhabbas,
Rājā, Janesabha, Pañcaśikha,
Timbarū with Suriyavaccasā
His daughter — these, and more, rejoicing came
To that wood to see the Buddha's monks.

11. From Nabhasa, Vesālī, Tacchaka
Came Nāgas, Kambalas, Assataras,
Payāgas with their kin. From Yamunā
Dhataraṭṭha came with splendid host,
Erāvana too, the mighty nāga chief
To the forest meeting-place has come.

And the twice-born, winged and clear of sight,
Fierce Garuḍa birds (the nāgas' foes) have come
Flying here — Citrā and Supaṇṇā.
But here the nāga kings are safe: the Lord
Has imposed a truce. With gentle speech
They and the nāgas share the Buddha's peace.

12. Asuras too, whom Indra's hand once struck,
Ocean-dwellers now, in magic skilled,
Vāsava's replendent brothers came,
The Kālakañjas, terrible to see,
Dānaveghasas, Vepacitti,
Sucitti and Pahārādha too,
Fell Namucī, and Bali's hundred sons
(Who all were called Veroca) with a band
Of warriors who joined their master Rāhu,
Who had come to wish their meeting well.

13. Gods of water, earth, and fire, and wind,
The Varuṇas and their retainers. Soma
And Yasa too. Devas born of love
And compassion, with a splendid train,
These ten, with tenfold varied hosts,
Endowed with mighty powers, and fair to see,
Rejoicing came to see the Buddha's monks.

14. Veṇhu too with his Sahalis came,
The Asamas, the Yama twins, and those
Devas who attend on moon and sun,
Constellation-gods, sprites of clouds,
Sakka the Vasus' lord, ancient giver,
These ten, with tenfold varied hosts...

15. The Sahabhus, radiant, bright, came next,
Fiery-crested. The Ariṭṭhakas,
The Rojas, cornflower-blue, with Varuṇa
And Sahadhammā, Accutā, Anejakā,
Sūleyya, Rucirā, the Vāsavanesis,
These ten, with tenfold varied hosts...

16. The Samānas and Maha-Samānas both,
Beings manlike and more than manlike came,
The 'Pleasure-corrupted' and 'Mind-corrupted' gods,
Green devas, and the red ones too,
Pāragas, Maha-Pāragas with train,
These ten, with tenfold varied hosts...

17. Sukkas, Karumhas, Aruṇas, Veghanasas,
Follow in the Odātagayhas' wake.
Vicakkhaṇas, Sadāmattas, Harāgajas,
Those gods called 'Mixed in Splendour', and Pajunna
The Thunderer, who also causes rain,
These ten, with tenfold varied hosts...

18. The Khemiyas, the Tusitas and Yāmas,
The Kaṭṭhakas with train, Lambītakas,
The Lama chiefs, and the gods of flame
(The Āsavas), those who delight in shapes
They've made, and those who seize on others' work,
These ten, with tenfold varied hosts...

19. These sixty deva-hosts, of varied kinds,
All came arranged in order of their groups,
And others too, in due array. They said:
“He who's transcended birth, he for whom
No obstacle remains, who's crossed the flood,
Him, cankerless, we'll see, the Mighty One,
Traversing free without transgression, as
It were the moon that passes through the clouds.”

20. Subrahmā next, and with him Paramatta,
Sanankumāra, Tissa, who were sons
Of the Mighty One, these also came.
Mahā-Brahma, who ruled a thousand worlds,
In the Brahma-world supreme, arisen there,
Shining bright, and terrible to see,
With all his train. Ten lords of his who each
Rule a Brahma-world, and in their midst
Hārita, who ruled a hundred thousand.

21. And when all these had come in vast array,
With Indra and the hosts of Brahma too,
Then too came Māra's hosts, and now observe
That Black One's folly. For he said:
“Come on, seize and bind them all! With lust
We'll catch them all! Surround them all about,
Let none escape, whoever he may be!”
Thus the war-lord urged his murky troops.
With his palm he struck the ground, and made
A horrid din, as when a storm-cloud bursts
With thunder, lightning and with heavy rain —
And then — shrank back, enraged, but powerless!

22. And He-Who-Knows-by-Insight saw all this
And grasped its meaning. To his monks he said:
“The hosts of Māra come, monks — pay good heed!”
They heard the Buddha's words, and stayed alert.

And Māra's hosts drew back from those on whom
Neither lust nor fear could gain a hold.

“Victorious, transcending fear, they've won:
His followers rejoice with all the world!”