DN 20 Mahisamaya Sutta: The Mighty Gathering, Devas Come to See the Buddha
THUS HAVE 1 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-system frequently came there to I visit the Lord and his order of monks. 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 I approach him, and each recite a verse?' 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.'
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: '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.
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!'
'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 Sata's Mount three thousand yakkhas more Of varied hue. . . The sum is sixteen thousand yakkhas all, Of varied hue. . .
Of Vessamitta's host five hundred more Of varied hue. . . Kumbhira too from Rajagaha comes (Whose dwelling-place is on Vepulla's slopes): A hundred thousand yakkhas follow him.
King Dhatarattha, 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 Virulha, ruler of the South, The Kumbandhas' lord, a mighty king. . . Virupakkha, 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 Dhatarattha shone, From South Virulhaka, and from the West Virupakkha, Kuvera from the North: Thus ranged in Kapilavatthu's wood The Four Great Kings in all their splendor stood.'
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), Nala, Cittasena of the gandhabbas, Raja, Janesabha, Pancasikha, Timbarti with Suriyavaccasa His daughter - these, and more, rejoicing came To that wood to see the Buddha's monks.
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 To the forest meeting-place has come.
And the twice-born winged and clear of sight, Fierce garuda birds (the nagas' foes) have come Flying here - Citra and Supar;ma. But here the naga lungs are safe: the Lord Has imposed a truce. With gentle speech They and the nagas share the Buddha's peace.
Asuras too, whom Indra's hand once struck, ocean-dwellers now, in magic skilled, Vasava's replendent brothers came, The Kalakanjas, terrible to see, Danaveghasas, Vepacitti, Sucitti and Paharadha too,
Fell Namuci, and Bali's hundred sons (Who all were called Veroca) with a band Of warriors who joined their master Rahu, Who had come to wish their meeting well.
Gods of water, earth, and fire, and wind, The Varunas 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.
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, These ten, with tenfold varied hosts. . . The Sahabhus, radiant, bright, came next, Fiery-crested. The Aritthakas, The Rojas, cornflower-blue, with Varuna And Sahadhamma, Accuta, Anejaka, Suleyya, Rucira, the Vasavanesis, These ten, with tenfold varied hosts. . .
The Samanas and Maha-Samanas both, Beings manlike and more than manlike came, The 'Pleasure-corrupted' and 'Mind-conupted' Green devas, and the red ones too, Paragas, Maha-Paragas with train, These ten, with tenfold varied hosts. . .
Sukkas, Karumhas, Arunas, Veghanasas, Follow in the Odatagayhas' wake. Vicakkhqas, Sadhattas, Hariigajas, Those gods called 'Mixed in Splendour', and Pajunna The Thunderer, who also causes rain, These ten, with tenfold varied hosts. . .
The Khemiyas, the Tusitas and Yamas, The Katthakas with train, Lambitakas, The Lama chiefs, and the gods of flame (The Asavas), those who delight in shapes They've made, and those who seize on others' work.. These ten, with tenfold varied hosts. . .
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.'
Subrahma next, and with him Paramatta, Sanankumara, Tissa, who were sons Of the Mighty One, these also came. Maha-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 Harita, who ruled a hundred thousand. And when all these had come in vast array, With Indra and the hosts of Brahma too, Then too came Mara'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 shuck 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! And 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. And Mara's hosts drew back from those on whom Neither lust nor fear could gain a hold. Victorious, transcending fey, they've won His followers rejoice with all the world.
(When deities from all realms gather in homage to the Buddha, he gives a series of verses describing them. These verses, which are commonly chanted in Theravadin countries, give one of the most detailed descriptions of the deities worshiped at the the time of the Buddha.)
References: 1. www.accesstoinsight.org 2. https://suttacentral.net/ 3. The long discourses of the Buddha (Bhikkhu Bodhi)