Classic and Contemporary Buddhist Works

The Connected Discourses of the Buddha - Selections

Chapter 1. Devatāsaṃyutta: Connected Discourses with Devatās

I. A Reed

1 (1) Crossing the Flood
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. Having approached, he paid homage to the Blessed One, stood to one side, and said to him:
    “How, dear sir, did you cross the flood?”
    “By not halting, friend, and by not straining I crossed the flood.”
    “But how is it, dear sir, that by not halting and by not straining you crossed the flood?”
    “When I came to a standstill, friend, then I sank; but when I struggled, then I got swept away. It is in this way, friend, that by not halting and by not straining I crossed the flood.” <2>

[The devatā:]

1 “After a long time at last I see
    A brahmin who is fully quenched,
    Who by not halting, not straining,
    Has crossed over attachment to the world.”

    This is what that devatā said. The Teacher approved. Then that devatā, thinking, “The Teacher has approved of me,” paid homage to the Blessed One and, keeping him on the right, disappeared right there. [2]

2 (2) Emancipation
<3> At Sāvatthī. Then, when the night had advanced, a certain devatā of stunning beauty, illuminating the entire Jeta’s Grove, approached the Blessed One. Having approached, he paid homage to the Blessed One, stood to one side, and said to him:
   “Do you know, dear sir, emancipation, release, seclusion for beings?”
   “I know, friend, emancipation, release, seclusion for beings.”
   “But in what way, dear sir, do you know emancipation, release, seclusion for beings?”

   [The Blessed One:]

2 “By the utter destruction of delight in existence,
    By the extinction of perception and consciousness,
    By the cessation and appeasement of feelings: <4>
    It is thus, friend, that I know for beings—
    Emancipation, release, seclusion.”

3 (3) Reaching
At Sāvatthī. Standing to one side, that devatā recited this verse in the presence of the Blessed One:

3 “Life is swept along, short is the life span;
    No shelters exist for one who has reached old age.
    Seeing clearly this danger in death,
    One should do deeds of merit that bring happiness.”

[The Blessed One:]

4 “Life is swept along, short is the life span;
    No shelters exist for one who has reached old age.
    Seeing clearly this danger in death,
    A seeker of peace should drop the world’s bait.” [3] <5>

4 (4) Time Flies By
At Sāvatthī. Standing to one side, that devatā recited this verse in the presence of the Blessed One:

5 “Time flies by, the nights swiftly pass;
    The stages of life successively desert us.
    Seeing clearly this danger in death,
    One should do deeds of merit that bring happiness.”

[The Blessed One:]

6 “Time flies by, the nights swiftly pass;
    The stages of life successively desert us.
    Seeing clearly this danger in death,
    A seeker of peace should drop the world’s bait.”

5 (5) How Many Must One Cut?
At Sāvatthī. Standing to one side, that devatā recited this verse in the presence of the Blessed One:

7 “How many must one cut, how many abandon,
    And how many further must one develop?
    When a bhikkhu has surmounted how many ties
    Is he called a crosser of the flood?&rdquo

[The Blessed One:] <6>

8 “One must cut off five, abandon five,
    And must develop a further five.
    A bhikkhu who has surmounted five ties
    Is called a crosser of the flood.”

6 (6) Awake
At Sāvatthī. Standing to one side, that devatā recited this verse in the presence of the Blessed One:

9 “How many are asleep when [others] are awake?
    How many are awake when [others] sleep?
    By how many does one gather dust?
    By how many is one purified?”

[The Blessed One:]

10 “Five are asleep when [others] are awake;
     Five are awake when [others] sleep.
     By five things one gathers dust,
     By five things one is purified.” [4] <7>

7 (7) Not Penetrated
At Sāvatthī. Standing to one side, that devatā recited this verse in the presence of the Blessed One:

11 “Those who have not penetrated things,
     Who may be led into others’ doctrines,
     Fast asleep, they have not yet awakened:
     It is time for them to awaken.”

[The Blessed One:]

12 “Those who have penetrated things well,
     Who cannot be led into others’ doctrines,
     Those awakened ones, having rightly known,
     Fare evenly amidst the uneven.”

8 (8) Utterly Muddled
At Sāvatthī. Standing to one side, that devatā recited this verse in the presence of the Blessed One:

13 “Those who are utterly muddled about things,
     Who may be led into others’ doctrines, <8>
     Fast asleep, they have not yet awakened:
     It is time for them to awaken.”

[The Blessed One:]

14 “Those who aren’t muddled about things,
     Who cannot be led into others’ doctrines,
     Those awakened ones, having rightly known,
     Fare evenly amidst the uneven.”

9 (9) One Prone to Conceit
At Sāvatthī. Standing to one side, that devatā recited this verse in the presence of the Blessed One:

15 “There is no taming here for one fond of conceit,
     Nor is there sagehood for the unconcentrated:
     Though dwelling alone in the forest, heedless,
     One cannot cross beyond the realm of Death.”

[The Blessed One:]

16 “Having abandoned conceit, well concentrated,
     With lofty mind, everywhere released: <9>
     While dwelling alone in the forest, diligent,
     One can cross beyond the realm of Death.” [5]

10 (10) Forest
At Sāvatthī. Standing to one side, that devatā recited this verse in the presence of the Blessed One:

17 “Those who dwell deep in the forest,
     Peaceful, leading the holy life,
     Eating but a single meal a day:
     Why is their complexion so serene?”

[The Blessed One:]

18 “They do not sorrow over the past,
     Nor do they hanker for the future.
     They maintain themselves with what is present:
     Hence their complexion is so serene.

19 “Through hankering for the future,
     Through sorrowing over the past,
     Fools dry up and wither away
     Like a green reed cut down.”
 

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

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