The Connected Discourses of the Buddha - Selections

Chapter 1. Devatāsaṃyutta: Connected Discourses with Devatās

V. Ablaze

41 (1) Ablaze
Thus have I heard. On one occasion the Blessed One was dwelling at Sāvatthī in Jeta’s Grove, Anāthapiṇḍika’s Park. Then, when the night had advanced, a certain devatā of stunning beauty, illuminating the entire Jeta’s Grove, approached the Blessed One. <65> Having approached, he paid homage to the Blessed One, stood to one side, and recited these verses in the presence of the Blessed One:

136 “When one’s house is ablaze
      The vessel taken out
      Is the one that is useful,
      Not the one left burnt inside.

137 “So when the world is ablaze
      With [the fires of] aging and death,
      One should take out [one’s wealth] by giving:
      What is given is well salvaged. [32] <66>

139 “What is given yields pleasant fruit,
      But not so what is not given.
      Thieves take it away, or kings,
      It gets burnt by fire or is lost.

140 “Then in the end one leaves the body
      Along with one’s possessions.
      Having understood this, the wise person
      Should enjoy himself but also give.
      Having given and enjoyed as fits his means,
      Blameless he goes to the heavenly state.”

42 (2) Giving What?
[A devatā:]

141 “Giving what does one give strength?
      Giving what does one give beauty?
      Giving what does one give ease?
      Giving what does one give sight?
      Who is the giver of all?
      Being asked, please explain to me.” <67>

[The Blessed One:]

142 “Giving food, one gives strength;
      Giving clothes, one gives beauty;
      Giving a vehicle, one gives ease;
      Giving a lamp, one gives sight.

143 “The one who gives a residence
      Is the giver of all.
      But the one who teaches the Dhamma
      Is the giver of the Deathless.”

43 (3) Food

144 “They always take delight in food,
      Both devas and human beings.
      So what sort of spirit could it be
      That does not take delight in food?”

145 “When they give out of faith
      With a heart of confidence,
      Food accrues to [the giver] himself
      Both in this world and the next. <68>

146 “Therefore, having removed stinginess,
      The conqueror of the stain should give a gift.
      Merits are the support for living beings
      [When they arise] in the other world.”

44 (4) One Root
[A devatā:]

147 “The seer has crossed over the abyss
      With its one root, two whirlpools,
      Three stains, five extensions,
      An ocean with twelve eddies.” [33]

45 (5) Perfect
[A devatā:]

148 “Behold him of perfect name,
      The seer of the subtle goal,
      The giver of wisdom, unattached
      To the lair of sensual pleasures. <69>
      Behold the wise one, all-knowing,
      The great seer treading the noble path.”

46 (6) Nymphs

149 “Resounding with a host of nymphs,
      Haunted by a host of demons!
      This grove is to be called ‘Deluding’:
      How does one escape from it?”

150 “‘The straight way’ that path is called,
      And ‘fearless’ is its destination.
      The chariot is called ‘unrattling,’
      Fitted with wheels of wholesome states.

151 “The sense of shame is its leaning board,
      Mindfulness its upholstery;
      I call the Dhamma the charioteer,
      With right view running out in front. <70>

152 “One who has such a vehicle—
      Whether a woman or a man—
      Has, by means of this vehicle,
      Drawn close to Nibbāna.”

47 (7) Planters of Groves

153 “For whom does merit always increase,
      Both by day and by night?
      Who are the people going to heaven,
      Established in Dhamma, endowed with virtue?”

154 “Those who set up a park or a grove,
      The people who construct a bridge,
      A place to drink and a well,
      Those who give a residence:

155 “For them merit always increases,
      Both by day and by night;
      Those are the people going to heaven,
      Established in Dhamma, endowed with virtue.” <71>

48 (8) Jeta’s Grove
[The devatā Anāthapiṇḍika:]

156 “This indeed is that Jeta’s Grove,
      The resort of the Order of seers,
      Dwelt in by the Dhamma King,
      A place that gives me joy. [34]

157 “Action, knowledge, righteousness,
      Virtue, an excellent life:
      By this are mortals purified,
      Not by clan or wealth.

158 “Therefore a person who is wise,
      Out of regard for his own good,
      Should carefully examine the Dhamma:
      Thus he is purified in it.

159 “Sāriputta truly is endowed with wisdom,
      With virtue and with inner peace.
      Even a bhikkhu who has gone beyond
      At best can only equal him.” <72>

49 (9) Stingy
[A devatā:]

160 “Those who are stingy here in the world,
      Niggardly folk, revilers,
      People who create obstacles
      For others engaged in giving alms:

161 What kind of result do they reap?
      What kind of future destiny?
      We’ve come to ask the Blessed One this:
      How are we to understand it?”

[The Blessed One:]

162 “Those who are stingy here in the world,
      Niggardly folk, revilers,
      People who create obstacles
      For others engaged in giving alms:
      They might be reborn in hell,
      In the animal realm or Yama’s world.

163 “If they come back to the human state
      They are born in a poor family <73>
      Where clothes, food, pleasures, and sport
      Are obtained only with difficulty.

164 “Whatever the fools may expect from others,
      Even that they do not obtain.
      This is the result in this very life;
      And in the future a bad destination.”

[A devatā:]

165 “We understand thus what you have said;
      We ask, O Gotama, another question:
      Those here who, on gaining the human state,
      Are amiable and generous,
      Confident in the Buddha and the Dhamma
      And deeply respectful towards the Saṅgha:

166 What kind of result do they reap?
      What kind of future destiny?
      We’ve come to ask the Blessed One this:
      How are we to understand it?” <74>

[The Blessed One:]

167 “Those here who, on gaining the human state,
      Are amiable and generous,
      Confident in the Buddha and the Dhamma
      And deeply respectful towards the Saṅgha,
      These brighten up the heavens
      Where they’ve been reborn. [35]

168 “If they come back to the human state
      They are reborn in a rich family
      Where clothes, food, pleasures, and sport
      Are obtained without difficulty.

169 “They rejoice like the devas who control
      The goods amassed by others.
      This is the result in this very life;
      And in the future a good destination.” <75>

50 (10) Ghaṭīkāra
[The devatā Ghaṭīkāra:]

170 “Seven bhikkhus reborn in Avihā
      Have been fully liberated.
      With lust and hatred utterly destroyed,
      They have crossed over attachment to the world.”

[The Blessed One:]

171 “And who are those who crossed the swamp,
      The realm of Death so hard to cross?
      Who, having left the human body,
      Have overcome the celestial bond?”

[Ghaṭīkāra:]

172 “Upaka and Palagaṇḍa,
      With Pukkusāti—these are three.
      Then Bhaddiya and Bhaddadeva,
      And Bāhudantī and Piṅgiya.
      These, having left the human body,
      Have overcome the celestial bond.”

[The Blessed One:] <76>

173 “Good is the word you speak of them,
      Of those who have abandoned Māra’s snares.
      Whose Dhamma was it that they understood
      Whereby they cut through the bondage of existence?”

[Ghaṭīkāra:]

174 “It was not apart from the Blessed One!
      It was not apart from your Teaching!
      By having understood your Dhamma
      They cut through the bondage of existence.

175 “Where name-and-form ceases,
      Stops without remainder:
      By understanding that Dhamma here
      They cut through the bondage of existence.”

[The Blessed One:]

176 “Deep is the speech you utter,
      Hard to understand, very hard to grasp.
      Having understood whose Dhamma
      Do you utter such speech?” <77>

[Ghaṭīkāra:]

177 “In the past I was the potter,
      Ghaṭīkāra in Vehaḷiṅga.
      I supported my mother and father then
      As a lay follower of the Buddha Kassapa. [36]

178 “I abstained from sexual intercourse,
      I was celibate, free from carnal ties.
      I was your fellow villager,
      In the past I was your friend.

179 “I am the one who knows
      These seven liberated bhikkhus,
      Who with lust and hatred utterly destroyed
      Have crossed over attachment to the world.”

[The Blessed One:]

180 “Just so it was at that time,
      As you say, O Bhaggava:
      In the past you were the potter, <78>
      Ghaṭīkara in Vehaḷiṅga.
      You supported your mother and father then
      As a lay follower of the Buddha Kassapa.

181 “You abstained from sexual intercourse,
      You were celibate, free from carnal ties.
      You were my fellow villager,
      In the past you were my friend.”

182 Such was the meeting that took place
      Between those friends from the past,
      Both now inwardly developed,
      Bearers of their final bodies.
 

How to cite this document:
© Bhikkhu Bodhi, The Connected Discourses of the Buddha (Wisdom Publications, 2000)

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