Samyukta Āgama (2) 40

Sakka Saṃyutta

Sakka pays obeisance to the Buddha 1 (Buddha)

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

At that time the Buddha told the monks: “A long time ago Sakka Devānaṃ Inda wanted to go for a ride and enjoy his parkland. He ordered his charioteer Mātali: “Harness the thousand-horse chariot!” Mātali promptly harnessed the chariot and reported to Sakka: “The chariot is ready. We may leave whenever you please.” Thereupon Sakka left the Vejayanta Palace and, facing east with his palms together, paid obeisance to the Buddha. When Mātali saw him paying obeisance facing east, his mind was filled with fear, and he dropped the whip and reins.

Sakka said: “What have you seen that scared you so that you drop the whip and reins?” Mātali said: “Maghavā! Husband of Sujā! I dropped the whip and reins because of the fear that arose in my mind when I saw you paying obeisance facing east with palms together. All beings revere you; all the kings are under your rule. The four heavenly kings and the thirty-three gods all respectfully revere you. Who then surpasses you in power, that you stand and pay obeisance with palms together facing east?” Sakka answered: “I am revered by everyone: this may be as you say. However, all gods and human beings respectfully venerate the one called Buddha. It is to him that I respectfully pay obeisance.” At that time Sakka spoke this verse:

“For the teacher of the world, for him of perfect name: /
for him, Mātali, you should know,
I have generated great respect and faith /
and therefore stand, with palms together, paying obeisance.”

Mātali spoke this verse:

“Now since you venerate the best of this world, /
I will follow you in paying respect.”

So saying, they paid obeisance with palms together, mounted the chariot and went.

The Buddha told the monks: “Sakka is powerful, the king of gods. If he venerates and pays obeisance to the Buddha, how much more diligently should you, monks, who have shaved off hair and beard and left home to train in the path, venerate the Buddha, as is fitting for a renunciant.”

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