Sakka pays obeisance to the Buddha 2
Translation of BZA 041. First version published in Buddhist Studies
Review vol. 23-1 (2006).
Thus have I heard, once, the Buddha was staying at Sāvatthī at the Jeta Grove in
the Anāthapiṇḍika Park.
At that time the World-Honored One told the bhikkhus: “Long time ago Sakka
Devānam Indo wanted to go for a ride and enjoy his park land. He ordered his
charioteer Mātali: ‘Harness the thousand-horse chariot!’ Soon Mātali had
harnessed the chariot, went to Sakka, and said to him: ‘The chariot is ready, we
may leave whenever you please.’ Thereupon Sakka left the Vejayanta Palace and
with folded hands paid obeisance facing south. When Mātali saw this, his mind
was filled with surprise and fear, and he dropped whip and reigns.
Sakka said: ‘What have you seen that you are so scared?’ Mātali said: ‘Maghavā!
Husband of Suja! When I saw you with folded hands paying obeisance facing south,
my mind became filled with fear and I dropped whip and reigns. All beings revere
you; all the kings are completely under your rule. The four [Guardian] kings and
the thirty-three gods, all respectfully revere you. Who then surpasses you in
power, that you stand and pay obeisance with folded hands facing south?’ Sakka
answered: ‘Everybody reveres me, that might indeed be as you say. [However,]
what all devas and human beings respectfully venerate is the Dhamma. I
respectfully pay obeisance to the perfect discipline and Dhamma.’ And Sakka
spoke a verse:
Those who have left home // and practice relentlessly
To enter silent meditation during the long night, // who lead the holy life
They abandon the three poisons // can attain the Dhamma of liberation
To this Dhamma // I pay obeisance
To all great Arhants // who have abandoned desire
Dispelled the darkness of ignorance // have cut off all fetters
As well as to those lay-people who practice good // do not do evil actions
To all followers of the correct Dhamma // I pay obeisance
You are venerating the very best // I will follow you in worship
When Sakka had spoken thus, he paid obeisance with folded hands, mounted the
chariot and went.
The Buddha told the monks: “Sakka is powerful among men and devas, if even he
does pay obeisance to the Dhamma, how much more should you, oh monks, who have
cut off your hair, left home to study the way, how much more diligent should you
be in paying obeisance to the Dhamma.”
When the Buddha had finished, the monks, having listened to what he had said,
were happy and practiced accordingly.
View TEI-XML Source