Samyukta Āgama (2) 37

Sakka Saṃyutta

Two monks argue. The Buddha reminds them of how Sakka deals with anger

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

At that time, early one morning, the World-honored One took his robes and his begging bowl and entered the town to beg for food. Having eaten he washed his feet, gathered his seat for meditation and went to the Andhavana forest to meditate. Having looked around for a good spot, he sat down cross-legged beneath a tree in a secluded place, for the day’s abiding.

At that time in the Jeta Vihāra there were two monks who got into an argument during a meeting. One endured in silence, the other became angry and irate. When the one who had become irate saw that he had transgressed, he went to the monk who had stayed silent, wishing to confess. However, the monk who had endured in silence did not accept the confession. When this transpired, there ensued a noisy discussion among all the monks. The Tathāgata was at that time abiding in meditation, and heard the clamor clearly with his deva-like hearing, which surpasses human hearing and can discern sounds from far away. He rose from his seat, went to the monks, and sat on the seat prepared in front of them.

The Buddha said to the monks: “This morning I took my robes and begging bowl and entered the town to beg for food. ( … and so on … ) went into the forest, and sitting silently, I heard monks shouting and clamoring. What is the matter?”

Then the monks told the Buddha: “World-honored One, in the Jeta Vihāra there are two monks who got into an argument during a meeting. One monk endured in silence, the other monk became irate and said a lot. The irate monk knew that he had transgressed and went to offer an honest confession. The monk that had endured silently did not accept the other’s confession, so it became a public issue and everybody started shouting.”

The Buddha told the monks: “Why be so stupid and not accept someone’s confession? Monks, know that in ancient days Sakka Devānaṃ Inda, while in the Sudhamma Hall among the gods spoke this verse:

“It is like taking a vessel made from a gourd /
and filling it with butter to use as a lamp;
the flame burning, consuming /
will burn up the gourd as well.

The angry mind is like this; /
it turns on itself and burns one’s wholesome roots.
We should never harbor annoyance. /
Having sought out anger, disperse it.

Don’t be drawn in as if in a maelstrom, /
endlessly circling around.
And even if there is anger, abstain from harsh speech, /
not touching on topics that others wish to avoid.

Deeply respecting others’ wish to avoid such topics, /
we will never harm them.
Taking control of oneself /
is of great advantage to oneself.

Those without anger, without violence, /
those are noble ones.
They are disciples of noble ones; /
those one should always befriend.

Those with anger and hatred /
face an obstacle heavy as a mountain
But if, when there is anger and hatred, /
one can control oneself even a little,
then this is called good karma /
like the taming of an unruly horse.’”

The Buddha said to the monks: “Sakka Devānaṃ Inda reigns over the gods. At ease among them, though powerful he can practice patience and praise those with patience. How could you, monks, who have gone forth, disfigured by shaving off your hair, not be patient and praise patience?”

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