Saṃyutta Nikāya 1

Connected Discourses with Devatas

35. Faultfinders

On one occasion the Blessed One was dwelling at Savatthi in Jeta’s Grove, Anathapiṇḍika’s Park. Then, when the night had advanced, a number of “faultfinding” devatās, of stunning beauty, illuminating the entire Jeta’s Grove, approached the Blessed One and stood in the air.

Then one devatā, standing in the air, recited this verse in the presence of the Blessed One:

“If one shows oneself in one way
While actually being otherwise,
What one enjoys is obtained by theft
Like the gains of a cheating gambler.”

Another devatā:

“One should speak as one would act;
Don’t speak as one wouldn’t act.
The wise clearly discern the person
Who does not practise what he preaches.”

The Blessed One:

“Not by mere speech nor solely by listening
Can one advance on this firm path of practice
By which the wise ones, the meditators,
Are released from the bondage of Mara.

“Truly, the wise do not pretend,
For they have understood the way of the world.
By final knowledge the wise are quenched:
They have crossed over attachment to the world.”

Then those devatās, having alighted on the earth, prostrated themselves with their heads at the Blessed One’s feet and said to the Blessed One:“A transgression overcame us, venerable sir, being so foolish, so stupid, so unskilful that we imagined we could assail the Blessed One. Let the Blessed One pardon us for our transgression seen as such for the sake of restraint in the future.”

Then the Blessed One displayed a smile. Those devatās, finding fault to an even greater extent, then rose up into the air. One devatā recited this verse in the presence of the Blessed One:

“If one does not grant pardon
To those who confess transgression,
Angry at heart, intent on hate,
One strongly harbours enmity.”

The Blessed One:

“If there was no transgression,
If here there was no going astray,
And if enmities were appeased,
Then one would be faultless here.”

A devatā:

“For whom are there no transgressions?
For whom is there no going astray?
Who has not fallen into confusion?
And who is the wise one, ever mindful?”

The Blessed One:

“The Tathagata, the Enlightened One,
Full of compassion for all beings:
For him there are no transgressions,
For him there is no going astray;
He has not fallen into confusion,
And he is the wise one, ever mindful.

“If one does not grant pardon
To those who confess transgression,
Angry at heart, intent on hate,
One strongly harbours enmity.
In that enmity I do not delight,
Thus I pardon your transgression.”