DN 20 Mahisamaya Sutta: The Mighty Gathering, Devas Come to See the Buddha
Thus have i heard.
Once the Buddha was staying among the Sakyans in the Great Forest at Kapilavatthu with 500 monks, all Arahants. And devas from ten world-systems frequently went there to visit the Lord and his order of monks.
The four devas of the Pure Abodes thought since the Blessed one is staying at Kapilavatthu, what if we were to approach him, and each recite a verse? Then those devas swiftly vanished from the Pure Abodes and appeared before the Lord. 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. We are here to see the unconquered brotherhood'. Another deva said : "The monks with concentrated minds are straight. They guard their senses as the driver does his reins.' Another deva said: 'Bars and barriers broken, the threshold-stone of lust tom up. Unstained the spotless seers go, like well-trained elephants.' Another deva said: 'Who takes refuge in the Buddha, no downward path will go. Having left the body he'll join the deva hosts.' Then the Buddha 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. This has happened during the time of the supreme Buddhas of the past, and it will happen with those Buddhas of the future, as it is with me now. I will explain in details for you the names of the groups of devas, announce them and teach them to you. Pay close attention and I will speak.' The monks replied: 'Yes, Lord'.
Buddha: 'I'll tell you them in verse: to which realm each deva belongs. But those who dwell composed and resolute like lions in mountain-caves, those who have overcome hair-raising fear and dread, their minds White and pure, unstained and calm.'
In Kapilavatthu's forest the Lord perceived 500 of his Arahants and more. To them he said: 'Monks, observe the deva-host approach!' And the monks strove eagerly to see. With superhuman vision thus arising, some saw a hundred gods, some saw a thousand, some saw 70000, others saw Gods innumerable, all around. Realizing all this, the One-with-Vision felt moved to speak. The Teacher then said to them, disciples delighting in his instruction, "The deva hosts have approached. Detect them, monks, as I describe their glories, one by one.
7000 yakkhas of Kapila's realm, 6000 yakkhas from Himalaya, and 3000 Yakkhas from Sata's Mount of whom are all well-endowed with power and mighty skills, fair to see,effulgent, rejoicing, have approached the monks' forest meeting. There is a total of 16000 yakkhas.
500 Yakkha's from Vessamitta's host five hundred of varied hue, powerful, effulgent, glamorous, prestigious, rejoicing, have approached the monks' forest meeting. Kumbhira from Rajagahawho dwells on Mount Vepulla accompanied by 100,000 Yakkhas has com to the forest meeting too.
King Dhatarattha, ruler of the East, The gandhabbas' Lord, a mighty king, has come with retinue. Many sons of his, who all bear Indra's name are all well-endowed with mighty skills, of great strength, powerful, effulgent, glamorous, prestigious, rejoicing, have approached the monks' forest meeting.
King Virilha, ruler of the South, The Kumbmdhas' lord, a mighty king. . . Vifipakkha, ruler of the West, Lord of nagas and a mighty king. . . King Kuvera, ruler of the North, Lord of yakkhas and a mighty king. . . All of the Kings have come to the monks' forest meeting.
From the East King Dhataraftha shone, From South Viriihaka, from the West Viriipakkha, Kuvera from the North. Hence in Kapilavatthu's forest, the Four Great Kings stood in all their splendour . With them came their vassals versed in guile, Skilled deceivers all: Kutendu first, Then Vetendu, Vitu and Viwcca, Candana and Emasegha next, Kinnughandu and Nighaqdu, these, Panada, Opamaiina, Matali (Who was the devas' charioteer), Nda, Cittasena of the gandhabbas, Riija, Janesabha, Paficasikha, Timbarti with Suriyavaccasa (His daughter). These and other kings, gandhabbas with their kings, rejoicing, have approached the monks' forest meeting.
From Nabhasa, Vesali, Tacchaka Came Nagas, Kambalas, Assataras, Payagas with their kin. From Yamuna Dhataraffha came with splendid host, Eravana too, the mighty naga chief. All have come to the monks' forest meeting. They who swoop down swiftly on naga kings, divine, twice-born, winged, their eyesight pure: (Garudas) came from the sky to the midst of the forest. Their names are Citra and Supanna. But the Buddha made the naga kings safe, made them secure from Supanna. With gentle speech they and the nagas share the Buddha's peace.
Asuras dwelling in the ocean whom Indra's hand once struck, Vasava's brothers who are powerful, prestigious, Greatly terrifying Kalakañjas, the Danaveghasa asuras Vepacitti and Sucitti, Paharada, with Namuci, and Bali's hundred sons, all named Veroca, arrayed with powerful armies have approached their honored Rahu and said: 'Now is the occasion to attend the monk's forest meeting.'
Gods of water, earth, and fire, and wind, The Varunas, Soma and Yasa have come too. Devas born of love And compassion, all of varied hue have all come. These ten, with tenfold varied hosts, who are endowed with mighty powers, fair to see, Rejoicing came to see the Buddha's monks.
Venhu 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 have all come to the Monks' forest meeting.
The Sahabhus devas who are blazing like crests of fire-flame, The Arifthakas, The Rojas, cornflower-blue, with Varuna And Sahadhamma, Accuta, Anejaka, Suleyya, Rucira, the Vasavanesis; these ten, with tenfold varied hosts all came to the monks' forest meeting.
Samanas and Great Samanas, Manusas and Super Manusas, the devas corrupted by fun have come, as well as devas corrupted by mind. Followed by green-gold devas and those wearing red. Paragas and Great Paragas, prestigious devas have come too. These ten, with tenfold varied hosts have all came to the monks' forest meeting.
Sukkas, Karumhas, Arunas, Veghanasas, follow in the Odiitagayhas' wake. Vicakkhqas, Sadhattas, Hariigajas, those gods called 'Mixed in Splendour' and Pajunna The Thunderer (who also causes rain); these ten, with tenfold varied hosts have all came to the monks' forest meeting.
The Khemiyas, the Tusitas and Yamas, The Kaffhakas with train, Lambitakas, The Lama chiefs, the gods of flame (The Asavas), those who delight in shapes they've made and those who seize on others' work have all came to the monks' forest meeting.
These 60 deva-hosts of varied kinds all came arranged in order of their groups and others in due array thought in a similar manner : 'We'll see the one who's transcended birth, the one who has no bounds, who's crossed the flood, cankerless, the Mighty One who is traversing free without transgression just like the moon that passes through the clouds.'
Subrahma comes next with Paramatta, Sanankumara, Tissa, who were sons Of the Mighty One have also came. Great Brahma who ruled a thousand worlds, who arose there spontaneously, effulgent: Prestigious is he, with a terrifying body. And ten brahma who each rule a brahma-world and in their midst has come Harita Brahma surrounded by his retinue.
When all these devas with Indra and the hosts of Brahma come, Mara's hosts have all come as well. Now observe that Black One's folly as he said: 'Come on, seize and bind them all! With lust We'll catch them all! Surround them all , let none escape, whoever he may be!' Thus the great war-lord urged his dark army, slapping the ground with his hand, making a horrendous din, as when as when a storm-cloud bursts With thunder, lightning and with heavy rain. But then he withdrew-enraged, with none under his sway. He-Who-Knows-by-Insight saw all this and grasped its meaning. To his monks he said: "The hosts of Mara come, monks - pay good heed!' They heard the Buddha's words, and stayed alert. With ardent effect of the monks, the Mara's hosts retreated from those monks on whom neither lust nor fear could gain a hold. Victorious, transcending fear, they've won. His followers rejoice with all the world.
In summary, it was a discourse which Buddha narrated the different types of devas that came to the forest in Kapilavatttthu where Buddha and the 500 monks were gathered. It ended with the conclusion that one has no fear (from mara) if one's mind is uncontaminated by craving, un-perplexed and guarded.
References: 1. www.accesstoinsight.org 2. https://suttacentral.net/ 3. The long discourses of the Buddha (Bhikkhu Bodhi)
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