Aṅguttara Nikāya

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III. Tika Nipāta
XIII. Kusināra Vagga

The Book of the Gradual Sayings
More-Numbered Suttas

III. The Book of the Threes
XIII. At Kusināra

Sutta 125

Hatthaka Suttaɱ


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

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[1] Thus have I heard:

On a certain occasion the Exalted One was staying near Sāvatthī, at Jeta Grove, in Anāthapiṇḍika's Park.

Then Hatthaka, [257] son of a deva,[1]
when night was waning,
lit up the whole of Jeta Grove
with exceeding great splendour
and approached the Exalted One.

On coming to him he thought:

"I will stand in the presence of the Exalted One."

But he sank down,
could not stand upright.

Just as butter or oil,
when poured upon sand,
sinks down,
sinks in,
cannot abide,
even so was Hatthaka,[2] son of a deva,
thinking to stand in the presence of the Exalted One,
unable to do so,
but sank down,
and could not stand upright.

2. Then the Exalted One said
to Hatthaka, son of a deva:

"Create a gross[3] body-form, Hatthaka."

"I will, lord," replied Hatthaka,
and doing as he was bid
saluted the Exalted One
and stood at one side.




As he thus stood
the Exalted One said this to him:

"Well, Hatthaka, do things[4] go on
just the same now as before,
when you were in human form?"

"Yes, lord, they do.

But there are also things going on
which I did not experience
when I was in human form.

Just as, lord,
the Exalted One now dwells
surrounded by monks and nuns,
by lay-followers male and female,
by rulers and royal ministers,
by sectarians and their followers,
even so do I dwell
surrounded by devas' sons.

Even from a distance, lord,
do devas' sons come,

'We'll hear Dhamma
from the lips of Hatthaka,
the devas' son!'




Of three things, lord,
I never had enough.

I died regretful of three things.

What three?

I never had enough
of beholding the Exalted One.

I died regretting it.

I never had [258] enough
of bearing true Dhamma.

I died regretting it.

I never bad enougb
of serving the Order.

I died regretting it.

These are the three things, lord."



(Then he sang these verses:)

"I never could be sated of delight
Of my desire to see the Exalted One,
To hear true Dhamma, to wait upon the Order.
In higher morals training, fain to hear
True Dhamma, never sated in three things,
Fared Hatthaka to world of Aviha."[5]


[1] Deva-putto, like Sakya-putto, etc., means 'belonging to the company.' One who has died and 'gone to heaven' is meant.

[2] This may be H. of Ālavī. cf. K.S. ii, 159; A. ii 164; supra, text 26, 88, 136.

[3] Oḷārikaɱ. As a Brahmā-deva (Comy.), in order to be visible on the physical plane he had to make a suitable body, as in the case of Sanat Kumāra, on a lower plane than his own. Cf. Dialog. ii, 254. [?]

[4] Dhammā. Comy. reads dhammo and explains as the doctrine he learned in his last life. But the context requires dhammā = proceedings, conditions.

[5] Aviha, the twelfth Brahmā-loka. ? Sanskt. a-vishaya, 'non-intelligential,' 'without process of thinking,' as Childers suggests.

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