Samyukta Āgama (2) 36

Sakka Saṃyutta

A Yakkha on Sakka’s Throne

Thus have I heard, once, the Buddha was staying at Sāvatthī in the Jeta Grove, Anāthapiṇḍika’s Park.

At that time the World-honored One told the monks: “There was once a yakkha, who was short in stature, whose face was ugly, and whose complexion was black. People did not like the sight of him. This yakkha once seated himself on Sakka’s seat. When the thirty-three gods saw the yakkha sitting in Sakka’s place, they all became very angry, and insulted him in various ways. Then, the ugly aspects of the yakkha slowly diminished, he became attractive and grew taller. The gods abused and cursed him and became more and more angry. The yakkha in turn grew even taller and more beautiful. The gods went to Sakka and told him: “There is a yakkha, extremely ugly and short, who sits in your place. We, the gods, abused him severely, and the yakkha’s form became beautiful, his body grew taller!” Sakka said: “There is this yakkha, who on receiving abuse turns beautiful, he is called ‘On the Side of Anger.’” Thereupon Sakka went to his seat, knelt with his cloth arranged over one shoulder, folded his hands, offered incense and spoke to the yakkha: “Great seer! I am Sakka. I am Sakka.” After Sakka had uttered his name thrice, the yakkha became small and ugly again and finally vanished. Sakka resumed his seat and said to the gods: “From now on, let none of you generate anger. If there is hostility, be careful not to add anger to it.” And he spoke this verse:

“If someone comes and utters insults, /
let no one return these insults to him.
Towards those who come to attack and to harm, /
let everyone generate loving-kindness.

Those without anger, without violence, /
one should always befriend.
For they are noble ones, /
they are disciples of noble ones.

Those with anger and hatred /
are blocked by that anger as if by a mountain.
But if, when there is anger and hatred, /
one can control oneself even a little,
then this is called a wholesome state /
like the taming of an unruly horse.’”

The Buddha told the monks: “Sakka is the king of gods, enjoying all kinds of pleasure. He can control his anger and praises those who control their anger. How much more should you, monks, who, out of faith have gone forth from home into homelessness, gone forth and pursued the way, you, who have shaved off hair and beard and donned the robes, how much more should you control anger and praise those who control their anger! In this way, monks, you should practice!”

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