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Discourse on the great assembly – Mahasamaya Sutta

The Blessed One proceeded to Mahavana – High Forest near the city of Kapilavattu in the State of Sakyans with five hundred monks who were all Sakyans and Kolians ordained and attained Arahantship. This was a marvelous assembly and Devas (gods) thronged the wood to see the Blessed One and His followers – Sangha. The Enlightened One expounded the discourse on the Great assembly to the Devas.

A list of names of Devas is given in the Sanskrit book titled “Mahawasthu”

Thus have I heard: - On one occasion the Blessed One was living at Mahavana- High Forest near the city of Kapilavattu in the State of Sakyans together with a retinue of five hundred monks all of whom had attained Arahantship. Devas (Gods) from ten thousand elements of the world such as earth, air, fire, water etc. assembled in a bid to see the Blessed One and Bhikkhus (Sangha). A thought occurred to Devas of Holy abodes- Brahma world- (Suddhavasa) that it was proper for them too to pay homage to the Blessed One and each of them to recite a poem (Gatha) as Devas assembled to see the Blessed One who was living in the Mahavana near the city of Kapilavattu in the State of Sakyans with a retinue of five hundred Arahants. Thereupon those four Devas disappeared from their holy abodes in a moment equal to the time taken by a strong man to stretch an arm or to bend an arm which is stretched and appeared before the Blessed One, saluted Him and stood before Him.

  1. 01.             So standing one of those Devas addressed the Blessed One in verse:             In “In this forest there is a great assembly of Devas. We have come to this   assembly to see the Sangha who have not been defeated by evil desire.”
  2. 02.            Thereafter another god addressed the Blessed One in the following verse (Gatha) “All the monks in this assembly are in undistracted mental repose and have made their minds upright. Like a charioteer who holds the reins these wise men guard their senses”

      1. 03.         The third god addressed the  Blessed One in the following verse (Gatha):-   “These Arahants behave in a pure way, stainless, with a clear vision, well tamed being free from evil desire and having pulled out the cross bar of lust, hate and delusion”

04.        The fourth god addressed the Blessed One in the following verse: - “Those who take refuge in the Blessed One will never go to the evil state of existence. They will go to the assembly of gods after abandoning this human body.”

       Thereupon the Blessed One addressed the monks: -O monks, Devas from ten thousand   elements of the world such as earth, air, fire, water etc. meet together in a group to see the Tathagata (the Buddha) and the community of monks. Gods had assembled to see the earlier Supreme Buddhas and the Sangha. They will assemble to see the future Buddhas in the same manner. I will tell you the names of these Devas. Pay attention to me and listen.

                 The monks said “Ahan Bhante” Yes Sir, by way of assent.

  The Blessed One said thus:

05.        “I shall tell you briefly. There are terrestrial deities   in their realms.  Arahants   who are on meditation frequent the rocky clefts in which terrestrial deities live.

06.      These Arahants with immaculate minds are bent to Nibbana and concentrated on meditation, serene and undefiled and not perturbed by disturbances, live like lions free from horripillation or with drooping hairs.

07.         The Blessed One knowing that there are more than five hundred disciples in the forest     near Kapilawattu anxious to listen to Him addressed them.

0 .          He said “Monks, hosts of deities have assembled here in this forest and you may identify them with your divine eye. In response to the word of Buddha the Bhikkhus strode to identify the deities.

09.        In the monks arose the knowledge of perceiving the non-humans, Devas and    Brahmas.  Some of them identified one thousand non-humans. Some perceived seventy thousand non- humans.

10.        Some of them saw one hundred thousand non-humans. Some others saw countless number of non-humans thronged all four corners of the forest.

11.       The Tathagatha knowing everything with His omniscient eye addressed the monks     who are adhered to the Order.

12.       “Monks, a large group of Devas , celestial beings have assembled. I will introduce them to you in words in due order. You may come to know of them.

13.      Seven thousand famed gods (Yakkhas) inhabiting the earth in Kapilawattu,    possessing supernatural powers (iddhi) with radiant brightness and celebrity followed by a retinue of attendants, have come rejoicing to see the assembly of Arahants.

  1. 14.     Six thousand famed terrestrial deities from Himalayan Mountain possessing supernatural powers (iddhi) with radiant brightness and celebrity followed by a retinue of attendants have come rejoicing to see the assembly of Arahants.
  2. 15.     Three thousand deities from Satas Mountain possessing supernatural powers (iddhi) with radiant brightness and celebrity followed by a retinue of   attendants have come rejoicing to see the assembly of Arahants.
  3. 16.    Thus sixteen thousand deities possessing supernatural powers (iddhi) with   radiant brightness and celebrity followed by a retinue of attendants have come rejoicing to see the assembly of Arahants.
  4. 17.       Five hundred deities from Visvamitra Mountain possessing supernatural powers (iddhi) with radiant brightness and celebrity followed by a retinue of attendants have come rejoicing to see the assembly of Arahants.
  5. 18.      Yakkkha Commander, Kumbhira of Rajagahanuwara, residing in Vipullagiri Mountain, having more than one hundred thousand associates came rejoicing to see the assembly of Arahants.

19&20. Guardian deity, King Dhatarattha, who governs the Eastern Region, chief of   Gandabbas possessing supernatural powers (iddhi) with radiant brightness and celebrity followed by a retinue of attendants have come rejoicing to the forest with his many sons (deva puttas) named Indra came to see the assembly of Arahants

21,22.  Guardian deity, King  Virulha, who governs the Southern region, chief of   Kumbhandas possessing supernatural powers (iddhi) with radiant brightness and celebrity followed by a retinue of attendants have come rejoicing to the forest with his many sons (deva puttas) named Indra to see the assembly of Arahants.

23.24. Guardian deity, King  Virupaksha, who governs the Western region, chief of Nagas   possessing supernatural powers (iddhi) with radiant brightness and celebrity followed by a retinue of attendants have come rejoicing to the forest with his many sons (deva puttas) named Indra to see the assembly of Arahants.

25/26.  Guardian deity, King  Kuvera, who governs the Northern region, chief of   Yakkhas   possessing supernatural powers (iddhi) with radiant brightness and celebrity followed by a retinue of attendants have come rejoicing to the forest with his many sons (deva puttas) named Indra to see the assembly of Arahants.

27/28. Guardian deities, viz, Dhatarattha, chief of Gandabbas on the East, Virulha, chief of Kumbhandas on the South, Virupaksha, chief of Nagas on the West and Kuwera chief of Yakkhas on the North stood illuminating the four quarters of the forest to see the assembly of Arahants.

29.        With them came their trickish, deceitful, knavish and crafty slaves Kutendu,   Vetendu, Vitucca and Viruda.

30.        Slaves named Chandana, Kumasettha, Kinnughandu and Nighandu and also Panada,   Opamanna and Matali, the charioteer of the Devas.

31.        Citta and Sena, Gandabbas, Deva King Nala and Devaputra, Janavasabha, Pancasikha, Devas Timbar and his daughter Suriyavaccasa also came to see the assembly of monks.

32.        Together with these Gandabba Kings other Gandabbas too came to see the assembly of monks.

33.        Further, divine Nagas of lake Nabasa, Visali of the Naga realm came with nagas named Takshaka. Nagas of Naga families Kambala and Assatara came with Nagas of Prayaga together with their relatives.

34.        Nagas living at the splendid banks of river Yamuna, Nagas of Drutarasta family and Eravana Maha Naga came to the forest to see the assembly of monks.

35.        Divine birds Garundas with keen sight named Chitra and Supanna who snatch Nagas came to the forest to see the assembly of monks.

36.        That day Nagas were free from fear and danger. The Enlightened One protected them from divine birds, Garundas. An atmosphere of harmony was created among Nagas and Garundas by the pleasing words of the Blessed One and took refuge in Him.

37.        Asuras live in the ocean having being defeated by the king of Suras, Sakka or Virajahatta. However, they are the brothers of Vasavassa (Sakka). They who possess supernatural powers (iddhi) came to see the assembly of monks followed by their attendants.

38 &39.Formidable Asuras including Kalakanjaka, Danaveghasa, Vepacitti,  Sucitti,Paharada and Vasavatti Mara- the Evil one, one hundred sons of Bali Asura, all of whom are known as Verocana with an armed host of warriors came to their lord Asurendra and told that time was ripe for them to go to the forest to see the assembly of monks.

40.        Devas, Apo (water),Pathavi (earth),Tejo (heat) and Wayo (wind ) also came to the forest together with Devas Varuna, Soma and Yasas. Devas Metta-Karunakayika also came followed by their attendants.

41&42. Ten groups of Devas possessing supernatural powers (iddhi) with skins of various complexions, radiant, comely came rejoicing with the retinue to see the assembly of monks.

43.        Devas who attend to the moon god together with two yamakas, gods Sahali and Asama came to see the assembly of monks.

44.       The sun god also came with his followers. Devas attending to the planets and rain clouds god came with their followers.

45/46.The chief god, Sakka who is also known as Vasava and Purinda also came to the forest to see the assembly off monks. All the groups of Devas possessing supernatural powers (iddhi) with radiant brightness and celebrity have come rejoicing to the forest to see the assembly of monks.

47.     Deva Sahabu, shining like a flame of fire also came to the forest to see the assembly of monks.

48/49.Deva Aritthake who has the colour of Diyaberaliya flower came with Devas Raja, Varuna, Dhamma, Accuta, Anjaka, Devas Suleyya, Rucira and Vasavanesi also came. All these ten groups of Devas possessing supernatural powers (iddhi) with radiant brightness and celebrity have come rejoicing to the forest to see the assembly of monks.

50.  Also came to the forest, Devas Samana, Maha Samana, Manusa, Manasuttama,   Khiddapadosika and Manopadosika.

51. Deva Hari, Deva Lohita wearing a red dress, Devas Paraga and Maha Paraga also came with their attendants to see the assembly of monks.

52.  All those ten groups of Devas possessing supernatural powers (iddhi) with radiant brightness and celebrity have come rejoicing to the forest to see the assembly of monks.

53.  Devas Sukka, Kurumha, Aruna also came with Deva Vekhanasa, Devas Odata, Gaiha, Pamokkha and Vicakhana.

54.  Mighty Devas Sadamatta, Bharagaja and Missaka also came. Deva Parjanna, who brings rain to all directions also came thundering.

55.   All those ten groups of Devas possessing supernatural powers (iddhi) with radiant brightness and celebrity have come rejoicing to the forest to see the assembly of monks.

56/57.Renowned Devas Kemiya, Tusita, Yama, Katthaka, Lambita, Kalama, Settha, Jothi and Asava, Nimmnarati and Paranimmita also came.

58.     All those ten groups of Devas of diverse hue Devas possessing supernatural powers (iddhi) with radiant brightness and celebrity have come rejoicing to the forest to see the assembly of monks.

59.     Sixty Devas of diverse hue, together with other Devas who are similar to them came in order of merit.

60.    These Devas came saying “Let us see the monks, Arahants, who are in their last birth, who have subdued craving, who have crossed the four currents of sense-pleasures, becoming, wrong views and ignorance and have become free from taint. Let us also see Buddha who has crossed the currents of sense pleasures and who is called Naga because he will not commit any sin and who shines like the moon on the cloudless sky.

61.    From the world of Brahmas, Subrahma and Paramatta Brahmas came with followers, possessing supernatural powers (iddhi). They were followed by their sons (followers). Brahmas Sana kumara and Tissa also came to see the assembly of monks.

62.   Maha Brahma who stands out supreme in all the Brahma worlds, mighty in power and fame also came.

63.   Among them there were ten chief Brahmas. They were accompanied by their followers. With them came Brahma Harita accompanied by his followers.

64.   When Devas headed by Indra (Sakka) and Brahmas headed by Harita came a host of Maras came led by dark and unpleasant one, Mara.

65.    Vasawatti Mara gave orders to his followers saying, “Come on, seize them,   and bind them with lust. Do not allow anyone to escape.  Surround every one of them. Do not release any one of them.” Thus saying Vasawatti Mara struck the ground with his hand making a thundering sound.

66/67. The sound produced was like a thunder storm with lightening.Thus Vasavatti    Mara sent his army of Maras to the monks. Obeying the orders of Vasavatti Mara maras stood amidst the monks. However, Vasavatti Mara was unable to bring the monks under him. Hence he was shaking with anger. Thence Vasavatti Mara moved away quickly with his followers having not been succeeded.

68.   The Blessed One, the possessor of eye of wisdom, knowing well what had taken place addressed the monks.

69.    “Monks, a host of Maras have come and gone. Know them well.  The non-Arahants listening to the words of the Blessed One tried hard to be passion free by eradicating the Nivarana- hindrances or defilements. Mara departed from the passion free Arahants not being able to affect even a hair of them.

70.    All those monks who had surpassed the fear of death having subdued passion won the battle with Mara. They are glorious and renowned among mankind. They live rejoicing with Arahants.
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