Dharma Pearls

Translating Classical Buddhism to Modern English

The Related Discourses

19. Indra

15. The Sabbath Days

1. Thus have I heard:[1] One time, the Buddha was staying at Anāthapiṇḍada’s Park in Jeta’s Grove of Śrāvastī.

2. It was then that the Bhagavān addressed the monks, “On the eighth day of the month, the four god kings order a great minister to assess the world: ‘Are there people who support their parents, ascetics, priests, and relatives? Do they honor them, make merits, see the evils of the present world, and fear consequences in the afterlife? Do they practice generosity to make merit and observe the sabbath precepts? On the eight, fourteenth, and fifteenth days of the month and miracle months, do they accept the precepts at the poṣadha?’

3. “On the fourteenth day, they send down a prince who surveys the world: ‘Are there people who support their parents … accept the precepts at the poṣadha?’

4. “On the fifteenth day, the four god kings come down to the world personally and survey the sentient beings: ‘Are there people who support their parents … accept the precepts at the poṣadha?’ Monks, suppose at that point the world doesn’t have many people who support their parents … accept the precepts at the poṣadha.

5. “The four god kings then visit the Dharma assembly of the Thirty-Three Gods in their meeting hall. They say to Śakra the Lord of Gods, ‘God king, you should know that there aren’t many people present in the world who support their parents … accept the precepts at the poṣadha.’

6. “The assembly of Thirty-Three Gods isn’t please when they hear this, and they in turn tell each other, ‘The people present in the world aren’t virtuous, good, beautiful, and fine. None truly practice, and they don’t support their parents … accept the precepts at the poṣadha. As a result of their misdeeds, the host of gods will diminish and the host of asuras will slowly grow.’

7. [296b] “Monks, suppose at that point there were many people who support their parents … accept the precepts at the poṣadha. The four god kinds would visit the assembly of the Thirty-Three Gods in their meeting hall and tell Śakra the Lord of Gods, ‘God king, you should know that there are many people present in the world who support their parents … accept the precepts at the poṣadha.’

8. “The hearts of the thirty-three gods then rejoice, and they in turn tell each other, ‘There’s many people present in the world who are noble and truly follow the Dharma. They support their parents … accept the precepts at the poṣadha. As a result of their merits, the host of asuras will diminish and the host of gods will grow.’

9. “After witnessing the host of gods rejoicing, Śakra the Lord of Gods then speaks in verse:

10. The Bhagavān then told the monks, “That verse said by Śakra the Lord of Gods that goes:

“This is not well spoken. Why is that? That Śakra the Lord of Gods himself has disturbances of craving, dislike, and delusion, and he isn’t freed from birth, old age, illness, death, sorrow, lamentation, vexation, and suffering.

11. “Monks, if an arhat who has ended the contaminants, accomplished the task, has discarded the heavy burdens, cut the bonds of existence, and who’s mind is well liberated speaks this verse:

“That statement is well spoken. Why is that? That arhat monk is free of craving, dislike, and delusion, and he has been freed from birth, old age, illness, death, sorrow, lamentation, vexation, and suffering. So, this verse is well spoken as a result.”

12. After the Buddha spoke this sūtra, the monks who heard what the Buddha said rejoiced and approved.

Notes

  1. This sūtra is parallel with AN 3.37-38, SA2 46, and EA 24.6. [back]

Translator: Charles Patton

Last Revised: 9 December 2020