Aŋguttara Nikāya


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Aŋguttara Nikāya
VIII. Navaka Nipāta
IV. Mahā Vagga

The Book of the Gradual Sayings
VIII. The Book of the Nines
Chapter IV: The Great Chapter

Sutta 39

Dev-ā-sura-Saŋgāma

The Devas

Translated from the Pali by E.M. Hare.

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[290]

[1][than] Thus have I heard:

Once the Exalted One was dwelling near Savatthī, at Jeta Grove, in Anāthapiṇḍika's Park.

There the Exalted One said this to the Monks:

"Monks,[1] long ago a battle raged between the devas and the Asuras,
and in that battle the Asuras won
and the devas were defeated.

And the defeated devas simply fled,
with the Asuras facing north hot after them.

Then thought the devas:

'The Asuras give chase;
let us battle with them a second time!'

And a second time they fought
and in that battle the Asuras won
and the devas were defeated.

And the defeated devas simply fled,
with the Asuras facing north hot after them.

Then thought the devas:

'The Asuras give chase;
let us battle with them a third time!'

And a third time they fought
and the Asuras won
and the devas were defeated;
and defeated and fearful,
they just entered the deva city.

Monks, thus gone to their city,
the devas thought:

'Now that we've come to the refuge for the fearful,
we will henceforth dwell by ourselves
and have no dealings with the Asuras.'

And the Asuras thought also:

'Gone, indeed, are the devas to the refuge for the fearful,
henceforth they'll dwell by themselves
and have no dealings with us!'

 

§

 

Monks, long ago (another) battle raged between the devas and Asuras;
but in that fight the devas won
and the Asuras were defeated.

And the defeated Asuras fled,
pursued by the devas,
facing south.

Then thought the Asuras:

'The devas pursue us;
what if we fight a second time!'

And they did so
but in that fight the devas won
and the Asuras were defeated.

And the defeated Asuras fled,
pursued by the devas,
facing south.

Then thought the Asuras:

'The devas pursue us;
what if we fight a third time!'

And a third time they fought
and the devas won
and the Asuras were defeated;
and defeated and fearful,
they just entered[2] the asura city;
and thus gone to their city,
the Asuras thought:

'Now that we've come to the refuge for the fearful,
we will dwell by ourselves
and have nothing to do with the devas.'

And the devas thought also:

'Gone, indeed, are the Asuras to the refuge for the fearful,
henceforth they'll dwell by themselves
and have no dealings with us!'

 

§

 

In just the same way, monks,
what time a monk,
aloof from sense desires,
aloof from evil ideas,
enters and abides in the first musing,
wherein applied and sustained thought works,
which is born of solitude
and is full of zest and ease,
he thinks:

'Now that I have come to the refuge for the fearful,
[291] I will henceforth dwell by myself
and have no dealings with Mara.'

And Mara, the Evil One, thinks:

'Now that the monk has gone to the refuge for the fearful,
he will dwell by himself and have no dealings with me.'

Monks, what time a monk
suppressing applied and sustained thought,
enters and abides in the second musing,
which is self-evolved,
born of concentration,
full of zest and ease,
free from applied and sustained thought,
wherein the mind becomes calm and one-pointed,
he thinks:

'Now that I have come to the refuge for the fearful,
I will henceforth dwell by myself
and have no dealings with Mara.'

And Mara, the Evil One, thinks:

'Now that the monk has gone to the refuge for the fearful,
he will dwell by himself and have no dealings with me.'

Monks, what time a monk
free from the fervour of zest,
mindful and self-possessed,
enters and abides in the third musing,
and experiences in his being
that ease whereof the Ariyans declare:
"He that is tranquil and mindful dwells at ease,
he thinks:

'Now that I have come to the refuge for the fearful,
I will henceforth dwell by myself
and have no dealings with Mara.'

And Mara, the Evil One, thinks:

'Now that the monk has gone to the refuge for the fearful,
he will dwell by himself and have no dealings with me.'

Monks, what time a monk
by putting away ease and by putting away ill,
by the passing away of happiness and misery he was wont to feel,
enters and abides in the fourth musing,
which is utter purity of mindfulness and poise
and is free of ease and ill
he thinks:

'Now that I have come to the refuge for the fearful,
I will henceforth dwell by myself
and have no dealings with Mara.'

And Mara, the Evil One, thinks:

'Now that the monk has gone to the refuge for the fearful,
he will dwell by himself and have no dealings with me.'

Monks, when a monk
by passing wholly beyond perceptions of form,
by the passing away of the perceptions of sense-reactions,
unattentive to the perceptions of the manifold,
enters and abides in the sphere of infinite space, thinking:
'Space is infinite'
he is said to have put a darkness[3] about Mara,
and Mara's vision, being blotted out
is without range;
and he has become invisible to the Evil One.

Monks, when a monk
passing wholly beyond the sphere of infinite space,
enters and abides in the sphere of infinite consciousness, thinking:
'Consciousness is infinite'
he is said to have put a darkness about Mara,
and Mara's vision, being blotted out
is without range;
and he has become invisible to the Evil One.

Monks, when a monk
passing wholly beyond the sphere of infinite consciousness,
enters and abides in the sphere of nothingness, thinking:
'There is nothing'
he is said to have put a darkness about Mara,
and Mara's vision, being blotted out
is without range;
and he has become invisible to the Evil One.

Monks, when a monk
passing wholly beyond the sphere of nothingness,
he enters and abides in the sphere of neither perception nor non-perception
and by wisdom sees that the cankers are completely destroyed,
he is said to have put a darkness about Mara
and Mara's vision, being blotted out,
is rangeless;
and he has become invisible to the Evil One
and has passed through the world's entanglement.'

 


[1] The Comy. observes that the fight was due to the Asuras remembering the fruit of the divine Pāricchattaka tree (see above, p. 78) and to their anger at not being able to enjoy the fruit. See K.S. i, 279; v. 378; Dial. ii, 318; F. Dial. i, 181; J. i, 202; SnA 485.

[2] K.S. v. says, 'by way of a lotus-stalk.'

[3] The text reads antaɱ, but M. i. 159 ff., where the same passage recurs, andhaɱ; see M.A. ii, 163, where na Mārassa akkhīni bhindi ... but Māro passituɱ na sakkoti - so the monk puts up a 'smoke-screen'; cf. the story of Vakkali and Māra, enveloped in smoke and darkness, searching for his viññāṇa, S. iii, 124 (K.S. iii, 106). Our Comy. explains: Māra knows the heart (cittaɱ) of one who attains the four Jhānic levels, which have form; but not one who attains the formless levels.

 


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