Saṃyutta Nikāya 1

Connected Discourses with Devatas

20. Samiddhi

Thus have I heard. On one occasion the Blessed One was dwelling at Rājagaha in the Hot Springs Park. Then the Venerable Samiddhi, having risen at the first flush of dawn, went to the hot springs to bathe. Having bathed in the hot springs and come back out, he stood in one robe drying his limbs.

Then, when the night had advanced, a certain devatā of stunning beauty, illuminating the entire hot springs, approached the Venerable Samiddhi. Having approached, she stood in the air and addressed the Venerable Samiddhi in verse:

“Without having enjoyed you seek alms, bhikkhu,
You don’t seek alms after you’ve enjoyed.
First enjoy, bhikkhu, then seek alms:
Don’t let the time pass you by!”

“I do not know what the time might be;
The time is hidden and cannot be seen.
Hence, without enjoying, I seek alms:
Don’t let the time pass me by!”

Then that devatā alighted on the earth and said to the Venerable Samiddhi:“You have gone forth while young, bhikkhu, a lad with black hair, endowed with the blessing of youth, in the prime of life, without having dallied with sensual pleasures. Enjoy human sensual pleasures, bhikkhu; do not abandon what is directly visible in order to pursue what takes time.”

“I have not abandoned what is directly visible, friend, in order to pursue what takes time. I have abandoned what takes time in order to pursue what is directly visible. For the Blessed One, friend, has stated that sensual pleasures are time-consuming, full of suffering, full of despair, and the danger in them is still greater, while this Dhamma is directly visible, immediate, inviting one to come and see, applicable, to be personally experienced by the wise.”

“But how is it, bhikkhu, that the Blessed One has stated that sensual pleasures are time-consuming, full of suffering, full of despair, and the danger in them is still greater? How is it that this Dhamma is directly visible, immediate, inviting one to come and see, applicable, to be personally experienced by the wise?”

“I am newly ordained, friend, not long gone forth, just recently come to this Dhamma and Discipline. I cannot explain it in detail. But that Blessed One, the Arahant, the Perfectly Enlightened One, is dwelling at Rajagaha in the Hot Springs Park. Approach that Blessed One and ask him about this matter. As he explains it to you, so you should remember it.”

“It isn’t easy for us to approach that Blessed One, bhikkhu, as he is surrounded by other devatās of great influence. If you would approach him and ask him about this matter, we will come along too in order to hear the Dhamma.”

“Very well, friend,” the Venerable Samiddhi replied. Then he approached the Blessed One, paid homage to him, sat down to one side, and reported his entire discussion with that devatā, <22–23> verses 44–45, included in the report, repeat verses 42–43 adding: “If that devatā’s statement is true, venerable sir, then that devatā should be close by.”

When this was said, that devatā said to the Venerable Samiddhi: “Ask, bhikkhu! Ask, bhikkhu! For I have arrived.”

Then the Blessed One addressed that devatā in verse:

“Beings who perceive what can be expressed
Become established in what can be expressed.
Not fully understanding what can be expressed,
They come under the yoke of Death.

“But having fully understood what can be expressed,
One does not conceive ‘one who expresses.’
For that does not exist for him
By which one could describe him.

“If you understand, spirit, speak up.”

“I do not understand in detail, venerable sir, the meaning of what was stated in brief by the Blessed One. Please, venerable sir, let the Blessed One explain it to me in such a way that I might understand in detail the meaning of what he stated in brief.”

The Blessed One:

“One who conceives ‘I am equal, better, or worse,’
Might on that account engage in disputes.
But one not shaken in the three discriminations
Does not think, ‘I am equal or better.’

“If you understand, spirit, speak up.”

“In this case too, venerable sir, I do not understand in detail … let the Blessed One explain it to me in such a way that I might understand in detail the meaning of what he stated in brief.”

The Blessed One:

“He abandoned reckoning, did not assume conceit;
He cut off craving here for name-and-form.
Though devas and humans search for him
Here and beyond, in the heavens and all abodes,
They do not find the one whose knots are cut,
The one untroubled, free of longing.

“If you understand, spirit, speak up.”

“I understand in detail, venerable sir, the meaning of what was stated in brief by the Blessed One thus:

“One should do no evil in all the world,
Not by speech, mind, or body.
Having abandoned sense pleasures,
Mindful and clearly comprehending,
One should not pursue a course
That is painful and harmful.”