Samyukta Āgama (2) 34

Sakka Saṃyutta

Mahāli doubts

Thus have I heard, once, the Buddha was staying in the great hall on the shore of the Monkey-lake near Vesāli. There was a Licchavi, by the name of Mahāli, who came to the Buddha, paid homage to his feet and addressed him: “World-honored One, have you seen Sakka?”

The Buddha said: “I have seen him.”

The Licchavi addressed him: “There are yakkhas who look like Sakka. Might it be that the World-honored One saw such a yakkha instead?”

The Buddha told the Licchavi: “I am well acquainted with Sakka’s appearance. I also know that there are yakkhas who look like Sakka. I also fully know his deeds in previous lives. When Sakka was a human being, he was obedient to his parents, he respected his elders, his speech was gentle, without slander, he had done away with avarice, he always loved to give, he always spoke truthfully, he had done away with anger, and he did not give rise to hatred.”

At that time the Buddha spoke a verse:

Whoever towards their parents /
displays filial obedience,
towards their elders /
heartfelt deep respect,
Always speaks in a manner gentle and friendly, /
kindly and good,
abandoning slander, /
greed, and hatred,
of such a one the thirty three gods /
have this to say:

Such a practitioner /
is our better.
He should dwell apart /
as king of the gods.”

When the Buddha had finished, the monks, having listened to what he had said, were happy and remembered it well.