Samyukta Āgama (2) 43

Sakka Saṃyutta


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 said to the monks: “Once the asuras were gathering the four kinds of armies: elephants, cavalry, chariots and infantry, all well equipped with arms. They desired to march on the palaces of the Tusita heaven, and do battle with the gods. At that time Sakka heard that the asuras had equipped the four armies and he told the Suvīra Devaputta: ‘I hear the asuras have equipped the four armies. You too now equip the four armies, march and meet them in battle!’ Suvīra answered: ‘Very well!’ Having said that, he dawdled around, had some fun, and forgot about it. When Sakka heard that the asuras had left their city, he ordered Suvīra again: ‘The asuras have left their city already. You should array the four armies and march to meet them in battle.’ Suvīra said: ‘Very well, Kosiya.’ But still Suvīra was having fun and did not prepare for battle. When the four armies of the asuras, in splendid formation, had arrived at Mount Sumeru and were preparing to approach the city of gods, Sakka said again: ‘I hear the asuras are approaching. You command the four armies, go and attack them!’ Suvīra said in verse:

“If there is a nice and easy place without duties /
I wish to be granted this place.”

And Sakka replied in a verse:

“If there were such an easy and happy place /
I would wish you to take me there with you.”

Suvīra then spoke this verse:

“I am lazy, and do not want to rise; /
though I have heard and understood you, I did not equip the armies.
Let the splendor of the heavenly maidens and the five pleasures be all around me /
Sakka, grant me this wish.”

Sakka answered with a verse:

“If there were such a place of idleness /
where, surrounded by a hundred thousand heavenly maidens,
One could enjoy oneself with the five pleasures: /
if you are going there, take me with you.”

Suvīra then spoke this verse:

“If the king of gods has such a place without duties, /
please permit me to enjoy its happiness without suffering.”

Sakka answered with a verse:

“Suvīra, if you had such a place /
I would like to share its happiness with you.
Have you ever seen or heard of someone who, without effort, /
attains happiness in life?
If you attain such a state /
go there quickly and I will follow you.
If you really fear work and prefer a state of ease /
you should go and quickly attain Nirvāṇa!”

On hearing these words, Suvīra gathered the four armies and set out to meet the asuras in battle. At that time the devas were victorious and the asuras retreated. Having repelled the asuras, the devas returned to their palaces in splendid formation.”

The Buddha said to the monks: “Sakka is the king of devas and has attained great power. If even he makes efforts, and praises making efforts, how could you, who out of faith have left home and donned the robes, how could you not make diligent efforts and praise making efforts. To make efforts and to praise making efforts, this should be the way of those who have left home.”

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