Anguttara Nikaya


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Aŋguttara Nikāya
4. Catukka Nipāta
VII. Pattakamma Vagga

The Book of the Gradual Sayings
The Book of the Fours Chapter VII: Deeds of Merit

Sutta 67

Ahi(metta) Suttaṃ

Lord of Snakes

Translated from the Pali by F. L. Woodward, M.A.

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[1][piya][than] THUS have I heard:

On a certain occasion the Exalted One was staying near Savatthi, in Jeta Grove in Anathapindika's Park.

Now at that time at Savatthi a certain monk had been bitten by a snake and had died.[1]

So a great number of monks came to visit the Exalted One, and on coming to him saluted him and sat down at one side.

So seated those monks said this to the Exalted One:

"Lord, a certain monk here in Savatthi has been bitten by a snake and has died."

"Then, monks, that monk did not suffuse with heart of amity the four royal families of snakes.

Had he done so that monk would not have died of snake-bite.

What are the four royal families of snakes?

The royal family of snakes called Virūpakkha, that called Erāpatha, that called Chabyāputta and the royal family of [82] snakes called Kaṇhā-gotamaka.

Monks, that monk did not suffuse with heart of amity these four royal families of snakes; had he done so he would not have died of snake-bite.

Monks, for self-warding, for self-guarding, for self-protection I do enjoin that ye suffuse with heart of amity[2] these four royal families of snakes, thus:

May I have kindness with Virūpakkhas,
May I have kindness with Erāpathas,
With Chabyāputtas may I kindness have.
With Kaṇhā-gotamakas may I have kindness.

May I have kindness with the footless,
With those of two feet may I kindness have,
With quadrupeds may I have kindness.
May I have kindness with the many-footed.

Let not the footless do me harm,
Nor those that have two feet;
Let not four-footed ones me harm,
Nor those with many feet.

All creatures, living things, - may all that has become, -
May one and all see luck, and may no harm befall.

Infinite the Buddha, infinite is Dhamma, infinite the Order.
Finite are creeping things, snakes, scorpions, centipedes;
Finite are spinning spiders,[3] house-lizards, rats and mice.

Done by me is warding, done by me is protection.
Let all things living now depart in peace.
I, even I, before the Exalted One bow down;
Before the seven fully Enlightened Ones I bow.'

 


[1] Cf. Vin. ii, 109; JA. ii, 144.

[2] For the subject of metta-bhāvanā and parittā cf. Mrs. Rhys Davids at Dial. iii, 185 f. and Sakya, 221 ff.; also J.P.T.S., 1893 [Ed. but ?].

Virūpakkha was regarded as regent of the western quarter (D. iii, 199). Comy. can tell us nothing of the other three. Jataka Comy. says that the Bodhisattva promised long life to those who observed this paritta, or charm, and that thereafter the monks lived long, while the B. himself 'by developing the divine moods (brahmavihāre) was bound for the Brahma world.' For Metta-Sutta see KhpA. ix and Manual of a Mystic, p. 4 ff.

[3] Uṇṇānabhi, 'belly-spinners.' JA. Comy.


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