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Sacred Books of the Buddhists
Volume IV

Dīgha Nikāya

Dialogues of the Buddha
Part III

Sutta 32

Āṭānāṭiya Suttantaɱ

The Ward Rune of Āṭānāṭa

Translated from the Pali by T.W. Rhys Davids and
C.A.F. Rhys Davids

Public Domain

Originally published under the patronage of
His Majesty King Chulālankarana,
King of Siam
by The Pali Text Society, Oxford

 


 

Introduction
to the
Āṭānāṭiya Suttanta

On this Suttanta we have already commented incidentally in the preceding and the Mahā-Samaya Suttantas (II, 283). Here we wish very briefly to consider the position of these rakkhan's, parittās or prayers for safety in the Buddhist cult. Parittā (pari-trā) means protection, from a root trā, to rescue. It is a different word from the parittaṃ (parītra, limited, little) on which we have commented elsewhere.[1] And it is more often used than its synonym rakkhaṃ, the term used here. A list of parittās is given in the Questions of King Milinda (trs. I, 231), and the sanction of their use is there made one of the horns of a dilemma, thus: — 'The Parittās were promulgated by the Blessed One, that is to say, the Ratana Sutta, the Khandha, Peacock, Banner-crest, Āṭānāṭiya and Angulimāla Parittās. Now if a man may not escape death, the Paritta is useless; if the Parittā saves him, it is not true that he cannot escape death.' All of these Parittās are translated into English. The Ratana is in the Khuddakapatha, translated by Childers,[2] and the Sutta-Nipata;[3] the Peacock is the Jātaka verses so called;[4] the Banner-crest is in the Sakka-Saijyutta;[5] and the Angulimāla may be read in the Theragātha and the Majjhima-Nikāya.[6] The Khandha parittā is in the Anguttara-Nikaya (II., 72) and in the Cullavagga of the Vinaya.[7] In the last-named works it is said to be 'allowed' by the Buddha 'as a watch, a guard, a protection for one's self for the use of the Order.' The occasion for this general injunction was the death of a member through snake-bite. The formula consists of a profession of amity towards the four tribes of snakes, an entreaty against injury from beasts, a prayer for the welfare of all beings. The profession of amity, according to Buddhist doctrine, was no mere matter of pretty speech.

[186] It was to accompany and express a psychic suffusion of the hostile man or beast or spirit with benign, fraternal emotion — with mettā. For strong was the conviction, from Sutta and Vinaya to Buddhaghosa's Visuddhi-Magga,[8] that 'thoughts are things,' that psychical action, emotional or intellectual, is capable of working like a force among forces. Europe may yet come round further to this Indian attitude.

The belief in the effective power to heal, or protect, of the saccakiriyā, or asseveration of something quite true, is but another aspect of the work ascribed to the parittā."[9]

It may well be that Buddhism was compelled to adopt and then adapt, in the parittā, the rakshamantras dear to its converts. There was wisdom shown by the teachers of the new successful Dhamma in making friends out of certain traditions and prejudices very hard to overcome. In moments of vital peril any conceivable means are clutched at that may avail to save. And it is chiefly as a cry for help in sickness that the parittā-rite or pirit survives yet in Ceylon. The simple ritual is described in Spence Hardy's Eastern Monarchism, p. 240, and in Gogerly's Ceylon Buddhism, edited by A. S. Bishop, p. 327 ff.

But on the other hand there is an aspect under which these guarding runes are not alien to Buddhist doctrine, but are as much in harmony with it as is prayer with a theistic religion. This is not altogether because the agencies whose power to harm is deprecated are not, as in other cults, cursed and anathematized, but are blessed with good wishes, and suffused with an outgoing love. Though, for that matter, we cannot but linger for a moment to render homage to this wonderful vista of faith, wherein even the most malignant spirits and beasts were looked upon, not as hopelessly and eternally damned, but as erring unfortunates upon their agelong upward way, and capable of being doctored and softened by the lovely power of love. What we mean here is that the Buddhist's idea of the moral order reigning in the universe — an order or law which he called Dhamma — justifies him in the practice of the parittā. The kernel of Buddhist doctrine is insight into the moral cosmic order — into the eternal truth of Ill and of its arising and passing, and of the Path whereby it may be overpassed. But this order is not a finished, rigid, alien measure which may be [187] applied from without to life and conduct. It is not like an iron gallon jar which may be filled and emptied innumerable times with changing contents. It is more like an infinite web that living creatures themselves are ever weaving. The results of our actions are the web. The pattern that comes out as the web progresses is by us interpreted as moral law. It is a growing induction based on faith, namely, that good brings happiness, evil, unhappiness. And the actions with such pregnant results are acts not only of deed and speech, but also of feeling, thinking, and will. Each thread of the web is the result of some person's karma. Whether that karma be good or bad, the eternal shuttle weaves in the result. And at any given moment it requires, in making up the pattern, which is the fulfilling of the moral law, an act 'of mind, word, or deed from some being or beings. The Hebrew prophet in a fine inspiration conceived the Lord as 'waiting to be gracious.' So the Buddhist, his world teeming with the life and power of beings seen and unseen, all making their own karma, conceives the moral order as, so to speak, waiting for the action of this or that human or non-human being, contributing to the progress of its sempiternal fulfilment. Nāgasena, in the Milinda question, likens this, that we have called a 'waiting' for the human intercession in the Parittā, to the sick man's turning to the physician's remedies. Either means may avail if the patient's karma for this life be not exhausted. The fervent utterances of the Parittā, as synergy of thought sent forth by the utterers, are judged to be a possibly effective medicine no less than the muscular and material appliances of medical art. They are intended to range benign agencies on the side of the patient, and to keep far off those that may harm. Deities as conceived in other creeds were no longer invoked. Short of this, the parittas have yet much of the force of prayer. Balaam's aspiration: 'Let me die the death of the righteous and let my last end be like his!' would be accounted as a prayer by both theist and Buddhist. Even Aaron's benediction of Israel: 'May the Lord bless thee and keep thee,' etc., is a votive uttering — a voeu — an invocation on the lines of the parittās. In these the power and goodness of the wonderful Teacher and Saviour, the truth of the Dhamma, the help of all holy ones — these are made present to the mind and give strength. The heart of unbounded love converts foes to friends, or else to powerlessness, and so drives out fear. So that whether it is to be a prolonged span of safety here, or whether life elsewhere is once more imminent, great allies have been called to aid and are standing by, and all is well.

C. A. F. RHYS DAVIDS.

 


 

[188]

 

The Ward Rune of Āṭānāṭa

[1][grim][piya] THUS HAVE I HEARD.

Vulture Head Rock

The Exalted One was once staying near Rājagaha on Vulture's Peak.

Now the Four Kings[10] having set a guard, a screen, a patrol over the four quarters with a great army of Yakkhas, of Gandhabbas, of Kumbhaṇḍas, went to Vulture's Peak when night was far spent, lighting up the whole mountain with their effulgent beauty.[11] And there they saluted the Exalted One and sat down at one side. And of the [attendant] fairies[12] some saluted only and sat down at one side, some exchanged greetings and compliments of politeness and courtesy, and took their seats on one side; some saluted him with clasped hands, then sat down on one side; some called out their name and family, then sat down on one side; some sat down in silence.[13]

Vessavana Kuvera, King of theYakshas and Regent of the North from the Bharat Tope from Rhys Davids, Buddhist India.
Vessavana Kuvera, King of the Yakshas
and Regent of the North
from the Bharat Tope
from Rhys Davids, Buddhist India.

2. Then King Vessavana[14] so seated spake thus to the Exalted One:

'Lord! there are eminent fairies[15] who do not believe in the Exalted One, and there are eminent fairies who do. There are also fairies of middle and of inferior rank who do not believe in him, and there are [189] fairies of middle and of inferior rank who do. But for the most part, lord, fairies do not believe in the Exalted One.

Why is this?

'The Exalted One teaches a code of abstaining from the taking of life, from theft, inchastity, lying and intemperance. But for the most part, lord, fairies do not abstain from any one of these things. To them such a code is distasteful and disagreeable.

' Surely, lord, there are disciples of the Exalted One who haunt the lonely and remote recesses of the forest, where noise, where sound there hardly is,[16] where breezes from the pastures blow, hidden from men, suitable for meditation. There do eminent fairies dwell, who have no faith in the word of the Exalted One. That they may find faith, may the Exalted One learn[17] the Āṭānāṭa[18] ward-rune whereby both brethren and sisters of the Order, and laymen and laywomen may dwell at ease guarded, protected and unscathed?'

The Exalted One by his silence gave consent.

3. Then King Vessavana, noting the Exalted One's consent, recited in that hour this ward-rune of Āṭānāṭa: —

All glory to Vipassi, splendid seer!
To Sikhin of the tender heart for all!
To Vessabhu ascetic, wholly pure!
To Kakusandha, mill of Māra's host!
To Koṇāgamana, perfected saint!
To Kassapa, in every way set free!
And to Angīrasa the splendid son
Of Sākiyas who hath taught the holy Norm
Defeating and dispelling every ill.[19]
[190] They too who here from passions freed[20] have pierced
E'en as it really is the truth of things,
Such souls of gentle speech, mighty, serene,
To GOTAMA give glory, Fount of Good[21]
To devas and to men, in wisdom's lore
And conduct versed, mighty, serene.

4. Whence cometh up the sun, Aditi's child,[22]
Orbèd and vast, e'en as he cometh up
Ceaseth the Shrouder:[23] lo! the day, 't is said.
There too and thus they know the sounding deep,
The sea, the bourne of travelling waters, so
They call it 'Sea.' And looking hence[24] we say
This quarter is the East: the 'First' to come[25]
Custodian of this quarter is a king.
With brilliant retinue, the sovereign lord
Of the Gandhabbas, Dhataraṭṭha named.
Attended by Gandhabbas he enjoys
Their songs and dances. Many are his sons
Of one name and the same, so have I heard.
Eighty and ten and one the tale of them,
Inda their name and mighty is their strength.
They too beholding Buddha, kin o' th sun,
Mighty, serene, acclaim him from afar.
'Hail thou, humanity's aristocrat!
Glory to thee, thou highest among men![26]
'Tis by thy goodness[27] thou hast looked on us.
[191] We, though we be not human, worship thee!'
Full often have we heard the question asked,
'The conqueror do ye worships GOTAMA?'
Therefore do we on this wise utterance make:
'The conqueror we do worships GOTAMA,
In wisdom's lore and conduct throughly versed;
The Buddha do we worships GOTAMA!'

5. Where they whom men call Peta-folk reside,
Folk rough of speech, backbiters, murderers,
Brigands and crafty-minded, looking hence,
They say, 'This is the quarter of the south.'
Custodian of this quarter is a king,
With brilliant retinue, the sovereign lord
Of the Kumbhaṇḍa sprites, Virūḷha named.
Attended by Kumbhaṇḍas he enjoys
Their songs and dances. Many are his sons,
Of one name and the same, so have I heard,
Eighty and ten and one the tale of them;
Inda their name and mighty is their strength.
They too beholding Buddha, kin o' th' sun,
Mighty, serene, acclaim him from afar,
'Hail thou, humanity's aristocrat!
Glory to thee, thou highest among men!
'Tis by thy goodness thou hast looked on us.
We, though we be not human, worship thee!'
Full often have we heard the question asked,
'The conqueror do ye worship, GOTAMA?'
Therefore do we on this wise utterance make:
'The conqueror we do worship, GOTAMA,
In wisdom's lore and conduct throughly versed;
The Buddha do we worship, GOTAMA!'

6. And where the sun goes down, Aditi's child,
Orbèd and vast, e'en as he goeth down
Ceaseth the day, and when he goeth down
The Shrouder cometh, men are wont to say.
[192] There too and thus they know the sounding deep.
The sea, the bourne of travelling waters, so
They call it 'sea.' And looking hence we say
This quarter is the 'West' the 'Last' to come.[28]
Custodian of this quarter is a king,
Of brilliant retinue, the sovereign lord
Of Nāgas, him Virupakkha we name.
Attended by tlie Nāgas he enjoys
Their songs and dances. Many are his sons.
Of one name and the same, so have I heard.
Eighty and ten and one the tale of them;
Inda their name and mighty is their strength.
They too beholding Buddha, kin o' th' sun.
Mighty, serene, acclaim him from afar.
'Hail thou, humanity's aristocrat!
Glory to thee, thou highest among men!
'Tis by thy goodness thou hast looked on us.
We, though we be not human, worship thee.'
Full often have we heard the question asked,
'The conqueror do ye worship, GOTAMA?'
Therefore do we on this wise utterance make:
'The conqueror we do worship, GOTAMA,
In wisdom's lore and conduct throughly versed;
The Buddha do we worship, GOTAMA!'

7. Where Northern Kuru lies delectable,
Where towers great Neru's[29] mountain beauteously,.
There do men live calling no goods their own,.
Nor as their chattels any womenkind.[30]
No seed they scatter, nor in furrows led
Are ploughshares. Of itself the ripened corn[31]
Stands without toil of tilth for men to enjoy.
The rice purged of red powder and of husk,
Sweet-scented, boiling on hot oven-stones:[32]
[193] Thus they [untoiling find and] eat their food.
They make of kine a single-seated mount,[33]
And so they ride about the land; and eke
Their flocks they use on this wise, women too
And men, and maids and youths — these vehicles
Mounting they ride about on every hand,
Engaged upon the service of their king.
And elephants they have to ride and horses too
And cars celestial, and for the king
And all his retinue state palanquins.
Cities are theirs well built on airy base;
Their names Āṭānāṭā, Kusināṭā,
Parakusināṭā and Nāṭapuriya,

And Parakusitanāṭa, to the North
Kapīvanta and other cities too: —[34]
Janogha and Navanavatiya
And Ambara-Ambaravatiya[35]
Āḷakamandā too, the royal residence.
But where Kuvera[36] dwells, their gracious king,
Visānā is the citadel, and hence
The name he goes by of Vessavaṇa.
And these are they who take his embassies
And make them known: — Tatolā, Tattalā,
Tatotalā; Ojasi, Tejasi,
Tatojasi and Sūro and Rāja
Ariṭṭha too and Nemi. There too spreads
The mighty sheet of water, Dharani,
Whence rain-clouds [drawing waters][37] pour them forth
Whence showers rain down. And there too stands the hall
Named Bhagalavati, where congregate
The Yakkha sprites. And round about are trees
[194] Bearing perpetual fruit; their foliage
Swarming with divers birds and jubilant
With cry of peacock and of heron and the song
Melodious of the kokilā. There too
You hear the jīva-bird who calls 'Live ye!
Live ye!' and he who sings 'O lift your hearts!'[38]
And many another bird of wood and lake[39]
With noisy parrots and the gentler song
Of myna-birds and harpies called by men
Rod-mannikins. Aye in her beauty lies
The livelong day Kuvera's lotus-lake.
And looking hence our people designate
That quarter of the firmament as North.
Custodian of this quarter is a king
Of brilliant retinue, the soverign lord
Of Yakkhas, by the name Kuvera known.
Attended by the Yakkhas he enjoys
Their songs and dances. Many are his sons,
Of one name and the same, so have I heard.
Eighty and ten and one the tale of them;
Inda their name and mighty is their strength.
They too beholding Buddha kin o' the sun,
Mighty, serene, acclaim him from afar:
Hail thou., humanity s aristocrat!
Glory to thee, thou highest among men!
'Tis by thy goodness thou hast looked on us.
We though we be not human worship thee.
Full often have we heard the question asked:
'The conqueror do ye worships GOTAMA?'
Therefore do we on this wise utterance make:
'The conqueror we do worship, GOTAMA,
In wisdom's lore and conduct throughly versed.
The Buddha do we worships GOTAMA.'

8. This, dear Sir, is the ward rune, whereby both brethren and sisters of the Order, and laymen and laywomen may dwell at ease, guarded, protected [195] and unscathed. When any brother or sister, layman or laywoman shall have well learnt this Āṭānāṭa spell, and shall know it word-perfectly, if any non-human creature, whether it be a Yakkha of either sex, young or otherwise, chief or attendant, or servant, or a Gandhabba, or a Kumbhaṇḍa, or a Nāga, of either sex, young or otherwise, chief or attendant or servant, should approach him or her while walking, standing, sitting or lying down, with malevolent intent, such a creature, dear sir, would not win, either in village or township, hospitality or respect. Such a creature, dear sir, would obtain at my royal city of Āḷakamandā neither site nor dwelling. He would not be received in any assembly of Yakkhas. And he would not be taken or given in marriage. And when his trial was over, the public of creatures non-human would heap contumely upon him, and they would bend down his head like an empty bowl, and split it in seven pieces.

9. There are creatures not human, dear sir, who are rough, irascible, violent. They heed neither the [four] kings, nor the officers of the kings, nor their men. They are called rebels against the four kings. Even as brigand chiefs suppressed by the king of Magadha, so do they act. Now if any Yakkha whatever, or Gandhabba, Kumbhaṇḍa or Nāga should approach a brother or sister of the Order, or a lay-disciple, walking, standing, sitting or lying, with malevolent intent, then should [the molested one] incite and cry aloud and shout to those Yakkhas, the Great Yakkhas, their generals and commanders, saying: 'This Yakkha is seizing me, is assailing me, is hurting, injuring, harming me, and will not let me go!'

10. Which are the Yakkhas [to whom appeal should be made]?

Inda,†[40] Soma† and Varuna,†
Bhāradvāja, Pajāpati,†
Candana,† Kāmasettha too,*
[196] Kinnughaṇḍu* and Nighaṇḍu*
Panāda, Opamañña too,
Devasūta and Mātali,†*
Cittasena* the Gandhabba,
Naḷa,* Rāja,* Janesabha*
Sātāgira* Hemavata,*
Puṇṇaka,* Karatiya, Gula.
Sīvaka* Mucalinda too
Vessāmitta, Yugandhara,
Gopāla, Suppagedha too,
Hirī, Nettī and Mandiya,
Pañcālacaṇḍa Āḷavaka,*
Pajunna,† Sumana, Sumukha,
Dadhimukha, Mani,
Mānicara, Dīgha,
With these Serissaka.

These are the Yakkhas, the Greater Yakkhas, the commanders, the chief commanders, who should be invoked.

11. This, dear sir, is the ward rune whereby both brethren and sisters of the Order, and laymen and laywomen may dwell at ease, guarded, protected and unscathed.

'Well, dear sir, now we take our leave; we have many duties, much to do.'

'That, sires, is whenever you think fit.'

Then the Four King's arose from their seat, and saluting the Exalted One passed round him by his right and there and then vanished. And the Yakkhas arose from their seat some following the procedure of the four kings, some exchanging with the Exalted One friendly and courteous salutations, some stretching forth clasped hands, some announcing their name and family, some keeping silence. And so all there and then vanished.

12. And when the night had passed, the Exalted One addressed the brethren:

Last night while staying near Vulture's Peak the Four Kings having set a guard, a screen, a patrol over the four quarters with a great army of Yakkhas, of Gandhabbas, of Kumbhaṇḍas, went to Vulture's Peak when night was far spent, lighting up the whole mountain with their effulgent beauty. And there they saluted the me and sat down at one side. And of the [attendant] fairies some saluted only and sat down at one side, some exchanged greetings and compliments of politeness and courtesy, and took their seats on one side; some saluted him with clasped hands, then sat down on one side; some called out their name and family, then sat down on one side; some sat down in silence.

Then King Vessavana so seated spake thus:

'Lord! there are eminent fairies who do not believe in the Exalted One, and there are eminent fairies who do. There are also fairies of middle and of inferior rank who do not believe in him, and there are fairies of middle and of inferior rank who do. But for the most part, lord, fairies do not believe in the Exalted One.

Why is this?

'The Exalted One teaches a code of abstaining from the taking of life, from theft, inchastity, lying and intemperance. But for the most part, lord, fairies do not abstain from any one of these things. To them such a code is distasteful and disagreeable.

'Surely, lord, there are disciples of the Exalted One who haunt the lonely and remote recesses of the forest, where noise, where sound there hardly is, where breezes from the pastures blow, hidden from men, suitable for meditation. There do eminent fairies dwell, who have no faith in the word of the Exalted One. That they may find faith, may the Exalted One learn the Āṭānāṭa ward-rune whereby both brethren and sisters of the Order, and laymen and laywomen may dwell at ease guarded, protected and unscathed?'

Then King Vessavana, noting my consent, recited in that hour this ward-rune of Āṭānāṭa: —

All glory to Vipassi, splendid seer!
To Sikhin of the tender heart for all!
To Vessabhu ascetic, wholly pure!
To Kakusandha, mill of Māra's host!
To Koṇāgamana, perfected saint!
To Kassapa, in every way set free!
And to Angīrasa the splendid son
Of Sākiyas who hath taught the holy Norm
Defeating and dispelling every ill.
They too who here from passions freed have pierced
E'en as it really is the truth of things,
Such souls of gentle speech, mighty, serene,
To GOTAMA give glory, Fount of Good
To devas and to men, in wisdom's lore
And conduct versed, mighty, serene.

Whence cometh up the sun, Aditi's child,
Orbèd and vast, e'en as he cometh up
Ceaseth the Shrouder: lo! the day, 't is said.
There too and thus they know the sounding deep,
The sea, the bourne of travelling waters, so
They call it 'Sea.' And looking hence we say
This quarter is the East: the 'First' to come
Custodian of this quarter is a king.
With brilliant retinue, the sovereign lord
Of the Gandhabbas, Dhataraṭṭha named.
Attended by Gandhabbas he enjoys
Their songs and dances. Many are his sons
Of one name and the same, so have I heard.
Eighty and ten and one the tale of them,
Inda their name and mighty is their strength.
They too beholding Buddha, kin o' th sun,
Mighty, serene, acclaim him from afar.
'Hail thou, humanity's aristocrat!
Glory to thee, thou highest among men!
'Tis by thy goodness thou hast looked on us.
We, though we be not human, worship thee!'
Full often have we heard the question asked,
'The conqueror do ye worships GOTAMA?'
Therefore do we on this wise utterance make:
'The conqueror we do worships GOTAMA,
In wisdom's lore and conduct throughly versed;
The Buddha do we worships GOTAMA!'

Where they whom men call Peta-folk reside,
Folk rough of speech, backbiters, murderers,
Brigands and crafty-minded, looking hence,
They say, 'This is the quarter of the south.'
Custodian of this quarter is a king,
With brilliant retinue, the sovereign lord
Of the Kumbhaṇḍa sprites, Virūḷha named.
Attended by Kumbhaṇḍas he enjoys
Their songs and dances. Many are his sons,
Of one name and the same, so have I heard,
Eighty and ten and one the tale of them;
Inda their name and mighty is their strength.
They too beholding Buddha, kin o' th' sun,
Mighty, serene, acclaim him from afar,
'Hail thou, humanity's aristocrat!
Glory to thee, thou highest among men!
'Tis by thy goodness thou hast looked on us.
We, though we be not human, worship thee!'
Full often have we heard the question asked,
'The conqueror do ye worship, GOTAMA?'
Therefore do we on this wise utterance make:
'The conqueror we do worship, GOTAMA,
In wisdom's lore and conduct throughly versed;
The Buddha do we worship., GOTAMA!'

And where the sun goes down, Aditi's child,
Orbèd and vast, e'en as he goeth down
Ceaseth the day, and when he goeth down
The Shrouder cometh, men are wont to say.
There too and thus they know the sounding deep.
The sea, the bourne of travelling waters, so
They call it 'sea.' And looking hence we say
This quarter is the 'West' the 'Last' to come.
Custodian of this quarter is a king,
Of brilliant retinue, the sovereign lord
Of Nāgas, him Virupakkha we name.
Attended by tlie Nāgas he enjoys
Their songs and dances. Many are his sons.
Of one name and the same, so have I heard.
Eighty and ten and one the tale of them;
Inda their name and mighty is their strength.
They too beholding Buddha, kin o' th' sun.
Mighty, serene, acclaim him from afar.
'Hail thou, humanity's aristocrat!
Glory to thee, thou highest among men!
'Tis by thy goodness thou hast looked on us.
We, though we be not human, worship thee.'
Full often have we heard the question asked,
'The conqueror do ye worship, GOTAMA?'
Therefore do we on this wise utterance make:
'The conqueror we do worship, GOTAMA,
In wisdom's lore and conduct throughly versed;
The Buddha do we worship, GOTAMA!'

Where Northern Kuru lies delectable,
Where towers great Neru's mountain beauteously,.
There do men live calling no goods their own,.
Nor as their chattels any womenkind.
No seed they scatter, nor in furrows led
Are ploughshares. Of itself the ripened corn
Stands without toil of tilth for men to enjoy.
The rice purged of red powder and of husk,
Sweet-scented, boiling on hot oven-stones:
Thus they [untoiling find and] eat their food.
They make of kine a single-seated mount,
And so they ride about the land; and eke
Their flocks they use on this wise, women too
And men, and maids and youths — these vehicles
Mounting they ride about on every hand,
Engaged upon the service of their king.
And elephants they have to ride and horses too
And cars celestial, and for the king
And all his retinue state palanquins.
Cities are theirs well built on airy base;
Their names Āṭānāṭā, Kusināṭā,
Parakusināṭā and Nāṭapuriya,

And Parakusitanāṭa, to the North
Kapīvanta and other cities too: —
Janogha and Navanavatiya
And Ambara-Ambaravatiya
Āḷakamandā too, the royal residence.
But where Kuvera dwells, their gracious king,
Visānā is the citadel, and hence
The name he goes by of Vessavaṇa.
And these are they who take his embassies
And make them known: — Tatolā, Tattalā,
Tatotalā; Ojasi, Tejasi,
Tatojasi and Sūro and Rāja
Ariṭṭha too and Nemi. There too spreads
The mighty sheet of water, Dharani,
Whence rain-clouds [drawing waters] pour them forth
Whence showers rain down. And there too stands the hall
Named Bhagalavati, where congregate
The Yakkha sprites. And round about are trees
Bearing perpetual fruit; their foliage
Swarming with divers birds and jubilant
With cry of peacock and of heron and the song
Melodious of the kokilā. There too
You hear the jīva-bird who calls 'Live ye!
Live ye!' and he who sings 'O lift your hearts!'
And many another bird of wood and lake
With noisy parrots and the gentler song
Of myna-birds and harpies called by men
Rod-mannikins. Aye in her beauty lies
The livelong day Kuvera's lotus-lake.
And looking hence our people designate
That quarter of the firmament as North.
Custodian of this quarter is a king
Of brilliant retinue, the soverign lord
Of Yakkhas, by the name Kuvera known.
Attended by the Yakkhas he enjoys
Their songs and dances. Many are his sons,
Of one name and the same, so have I heard.
Eighty and ten and one the tale of them;
Inda their name and mighty is their strength.
They too beholding Buddha kin o' the sun,
Mighty, serene, acclaim him from afar:
Hail thou., humanity s aristocrat!
Glory to thee, thou highest among men!
'Tis by thy goodness thou hast looked on us.
We though we be not human worship thee.
Full often have we heard the question asked:
'The conqueror do ye worships GOTAMA?'
Therefore do we on this wise utterance make:
'The conqueror we do worship, GOTAMA,
In wisdom's lore and conduct throughly versed.
The Buddha do we worships GOTAMA.'

This, dear Sir, is the ward rune, whereby both brethren and sisters of the Order, and laymen and laywomen may dwell at ease, guarded, protected and unscathed. When any brother or sister, layman or laywoman shall have well learnt this Āṭānāṭa spell, and shall know it word-perfectly, if any non-human creature, whether it be a Yakkha of either sex, young or otherwise, chief or attendant, or servant, or a Gandhabba, or a Kumbhaṇḍa, or a Nāga, of either sex, young or otherwise, chief or attendant or servant, should approach him or her while walking, standing, sitting or lying down, with malevolent intent, such a creature, dear sir, would not win, either in village or township, hospitality or respect. Such a creature, dear sir, would obtain at my royal city of Āḷakamandā neither site nor dwelling. He would not be received in any assembly of Yakkhas. And he would not be taken or given in marriage. And when his trial was over, the public of creatures non-human would heap contumely upon him, and they would bend down his head like an empty bowl, and split it in seven pieces.

There are creatures not human, dear sir, who are rough, irascible, violent. They heed neither the [four] kings, nor the officers of the kings, nor their men. They are called rebels against the four kings. Even as brigand chiefs suppressed by the king of Magadha, so do they act. Now if any Yakkha whatever, or Gandhabba, Kumbhaṇḍa or Nāga should approach a brother or sister of the Order, or a lay-disciple, walking, standing, sitting or lying, with malevolent intent, then should [the molested one] incite and cry aloud and shout to those Yakkhas, the Great Yakkhas, their generals and commanders, saying: 'This Yakkha is seizing me, is assailing me, is hurting, injuring, harming me, and will not let me go!'

Which are the Yakkhas [to whom appeal should be made]?

Inda, Soma and Varuna,
Bhāradvāja, Pajāpati,
Candana, Kāmasettha too,
Kinnughaṇḍu and Nighaṇḍu
Panāda, Opamañña too,
Devasūta and Mātali,
Cittasena the Gandhabba,
Naḷa, Rāja, Janesabha
Sātāgira Hemavata,
Puṇṇaka, Karatiya, Gula.
Sīvaka Mucalinda too
Vessāmitta, Yugandhara,
Gopāla, Suppagedha too,
Hirī, Nettī and Mandiya,
Pañcālacaṇḍa Āḷavaka,
Pajunna, Sumana, Sumukha,
Dadhimukha, Mani,
Mānicara, Dīgha,
With these Serissaka.

These are the Yakkhas, the Greater Yakkhas, the commanders, the chief commanders, who should be invoked.

This, dear sir, is the ward rune whereby both brethren and sisters of the Order, and laymen and laywomen may dwell at ease, guarded, protected and unscathed.

'Well, dear sir, now we take our leave; we have many duties, much to do.'

'That, sires, is whenever you think fit.'

Then the Four King's arose from their seat, and saluting passed round me by my right and there and then vanished. And the Yakkhas arose from their seat some following the procedure of the four kings, some exchanging with me friendly and courteous salutations, some stretching forth clasped hands, some announcing their name and family, some keeping silence. And so all there and then vanished.

13. 'Learn by heart, brethren, the Āṭānāṭa ward [197] rune, master it and recollect it. This rune, brethren, pertains to your good and by it brethren and sisters of the Order, laymen and laywomen may dwell at ease, guarded, protected and unscathed.'

Thus spake the Exalted One. The brethren were pleased and delighted at his words.

Here ends the Āṭānāṭiya Suttanta.

 


[1] Bud. Psych. Ethics, p. 265, n. i; 269, n. 3.

[2] J.R.A.S., Nov., 1869.

[3] II, i; S.B.E. X, p. 37 f.

[4] Mora-Jātaka II, No. 159.

[5] Kindred Sayings I, 283.

[6] Vol. II, 104 f.; Pss. of the Brethren (probably only), verses 874-6.

[7] Vinaya Texts III, p, 76. The Anguttara Sutta is termed Ahinda, 'lord of snakes.' [AN 4.67]

[8] Chapter IX, p. 313. According to the Sāsanālankāra quoted in Gray's Buddhaghosuppatti, p. 15, Buddhaghosa was about to write a Commentary on the Parittās, when he was sent to a greater work in Ceylon.

[9] See our article on Truth (Buddhist) Ency. Religion and Ethics.

[10] On these see II, 242, 258, the 'genii' presiding over the four quarters of the firmament. 'Great king' is more literal than correct. Only a 'mahariija' deserves to be rendered by king in our sense of the word.

[11] I.e., of their luminous skin, says B., commenting here as on S. I, I.

[12] Yakkhā.

[13] See the identical formula in II, 350.

[14] King of the northern quarter; 'intimate with the Buddha, expert in conversation, well-trained, and hence the spokesman.' Comy.

[15] Fairy is yakkha. We have no legendary being whom the Pali word quite fits. See our note 1. Kindred Sayings I, p. 262. 'Genie' is fairly approximate. All these non-human creatures had bodies, hence 'spirits' is not very suitable.

[16] Cf. Vol. II, 357; III, 35.

[17] The Buddha acquiesces as if he did not know this rakshamantra (here called rakkhaṃ.) To safeguard the doctrine of his omniscience, the Commentary explains the king's word as intended to create an opportunity for others to learn, Gotama lending the undertaking the prestige of his authority.

[18] The Commentary calls this a town. Cf. below, p. 193.

[19] Each attribute, writes B., is equally applicable to each of the Buddhas ... all were Angīrasas because of the emission of rays.

[20] B. apparently interprets these (who are 'freed': nibbuta by the Nibbāna of the kilesas) as Arahants. But, he says, 'the Commentary' refers this and the next two lines to the Buddhas, and in the fourth line only understands 'the wise' to be meant.

[21] Hitaṃ, by the suffusion of love. Comy.

[22] Aditiyā putto.

[23] Saŋvarī, a name for night, elsewhere found only in a later work : the Jātaka Comy. IV, 4416; VI, 24313.

[24] Namely, from Mt. Sineru, or from where they were seated. Comy.

[25] Purimā = both 'east,' and 'first' or 'former.'

[26] Cf. Pss. of the Brethren, ver. 629, 1084, 1179. The Pali formula is the same in each passage.

[27] These lines are not part of the formula elsewhere. 'By, or with, goodness': kusalena, a curious, unusual phrase. B. gives 'pure wisdom,' 'omniscience' as alternative meanings.

[28] Pacchima is both 'West' and 'last.'

[29] Usually called Sineru.

[30] So B. 'no woman property'; no 'mine-ness' which says 'this is my wife'; and no desire for possession.

[31]Akaṭṭha-pāk imaṃ sāliṃ is apparently the right reading.

[32] So B. explains tuṇḍikīre.

[33] Taṃ pitthi abhiruyha is B.'s only explanation of the curious term ekakhuraṃ katvā.

[34] Aparena, Comy. aparabhāge. Not 'on the west,' as in Grimblot.

[35] The double name of one city; so Comy.

[36] According to tradition, he was in a former birth a very charitable sugar-growing brahmin.

[37] So Comy. reading for yatto, yato.

[38] So the Comy.

[39] Kukutthaka, kulīraka, and pokkharasātaka are specified.

[40] See Appendix, giving references to works in the Piṭakas, where certain of these names are met with.


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