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Saɱyutta Nikāya
I. Sagātha Vagga
10. Yakkha-Saɱyutta

The Book of the Kindred Sayings
I. Kindred Sayings with Verses
10. The Yakkha Suttas

Sutta 3

Suciloma Suttaɱ


Translated by Mrs. Rhys Davids
Assisted by Sūriyagoḍa Sumangala Thera
Copyright The Pali Text Society. Public Domain.




The Exalted One was once waiting near Gayā,
on the Stone Couch,
at the haunt of the yakkha Suciloma.[1]

Now at that time
Khara the yakkha and Suciloma the yakkha
were passing by,
not far from the Exalted One.

And Khara said to Suciloma:

"That's a friar."

"No [replied the other], that's not a friar,
that's a mere shaveling,[2]
at least until I know
that he's the one and not the other."

Then Suciloma came up to the Exalted One
and bent his body up against him.

And the Exalted One bent his body away.

Then Suciloma said:

"Dost fear me, friar?"

"Nay, friend, I fear thee not,
albeit contact with thee is an evil thing."[3]

[265] "Friar, I will ask thee a question.

If thou answerest me not,
I will either derange thy mind,[4]
or split thy heart,
or I will take thee by the feet
and throw thee over the Granges."

"I see no one, friend,
in the whole world,
be he Māra or Brahmā,
nor among gods or men
with all the recluses and the brahmins,
who is able to do to me
any one of these things;
nevertheless, friend,
ask according to thy desire."

[The Yakkha: —]

"Say,[5] whence are caused passions of greed and hatred?
Repulsion, love, terror: — whence have they being?
And whence spring thoughts into our minds down sinking,
Like [tethered] crow pulled by boy-captors earthward?"[6]

[The Exalted One:—]

"'T is hence are caused passions of greed and hatred.
Repulsion, love, terror: — hence[7] have they being.
And hence spring thoughts into the mind down sinking,
Like tethered crow pulled by boy-captors earthward.

Born of our likes and longings,[7] of the self
The outcome,[8] like the banyan's trunk-born runners,
They cleave in divers ways to things of sense,
Like creeper intertwined in the forest.
[266] And they who know self and wherefrom it riseth,
They crush it down — listen to me, 0 yakkha —
They cross this flood, difficult, by them ne'er cross'd,
So they may ne'er come back again to rebirth!"


[1] An expressive statue of the yakkha Suciloma is among the bas-reliefs of the Bharhut Stupa (Cunningham, p. 136). It and those of other yakkhas compare favourably with presentations of devas. The Stone Couch is, in the Sutta Nipāta Comy. (i, 301), described as a long slab of rock resting on four upright rocks. Gaya comprised both a town and a landing-stage, and the Couch was at the latter, but not far from the town-gate. Here the Master sat, awaiting his two converts-to-be.

[2] Samaṇa, samaṇaka, the affix 'of appurtenance' here has, as is often the case, a diminutive and contemptuous value.

[3] Fausböll's 'sinful' is misleading. B. says: 'shameful or unpleasant, to be avoided like dirt, fire, or a black snake, not to be acquiesced in by that golden-hued body,' so he 'bent away slightly as when one bends back the golden envelope of a piece of jewelry. Now the yakkha had hairs (loma) over the body like tapestry needles (sūci); these he erected, assuming a horrid shape with wide-opened mouth.' Khara is described as having scales like a crocodile's back. Both cases were results of thefts from 'the Order' in a former birth.' Comy.

[4] Either by making an appalling sight of himself before the Buddha, or by uttering fearful sounds, etc. Comy.

[5] The verses are in triṣṭhubh metre, interrupted by two ślokas.

[6] The simile is explained by B. as I give it: Boys pass a string round a crow's leg and their finger, and pull it down in its flight; so our evil thoughts springing from ourselves are pulled back again into consciousness.

[7] Taṇhā-snehato jātā. Comy.

[8] Ito attabhāvato jātā. Comy.

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