Saṃyutta Nikāya 11

Connected Discourses with Sakka

5. Victory by Well-Spoken Counsel

At Savatthī. “Bhikkhus, once in the past the devas and the asuras were arrayed for battle. Then Vepacitti, lord of the asuras, said to Sakka, lord of the devas: ‘Lord of the devas, let there be victory by well-spoken counsel.’ And Sakka replied: ‘Vepacitti, let there be victory by well-spoken counsel.’

“Then, bhikkhus, the devas and the asuras appointed a panel of judges, saying: ‘These will ascertain what has been well spoken and badly spoken by us.’

“Then Vepacitti, lord of the asuras, said to Sakka, lord of the devas: ‘Speak a verse, lord of the devas.’ When this was said, Sakka said to Vepacitti: ‘You, Vepacitti, being the senior deva here, speak a verse.’ When this was said, Vepacitti, lord of the asuras, recited this verse:

“‘Fools would vent their anger even more
If no one would keep them in check.
Hence with drastic punishment
The wise man should restrain the fool.’

“When, bhikkhus, Vepacitti, lord of the asuras, spoke this verse, the asuras applauded but the devas were silent. Then Vepacitti said to Sakka: ‘Speak a verse, lord of the devas.’ When this was said, Sakka, lord of the devas, recited this verse:

“‘I myself think this alone
Is the way to check the fool:
When one knows one’s foe is angry
One mindfully maintains one’s peace.’

“When, bhikkhus, Sakka, lord of the devas, spoke this verse, the devas applauded but the asuras were silent. Then Sakka said to Vepacitti: ‘Speak a verse, Vepacitti.’ When this was said, Vepacitti, lord of the asuras, recited this verse:

“‘I see this fault, O Vasava,
In practising patient endurance:
When the fool thinks of you thus,
“He endures me out of fear,”
The dolt will chase you even more
As a bull does one who flees.’

“When, bhikkhus, Vepacitti, lord of the asuras, spoke this verse, the asuras applauded but the devas were silent. Then Vepacitti said to Sakka: ‘Speak a verse, lord of the devas.’ When this was said, Sakka, lord of the devas, recited these verses:

-891 “‘Let it be whether or not he thinks,
verses = 877-82
Are unskilled in the Dhamma.’

“When, bhikkhus, these verses were spoken by Sakka, lord of the devas, the devas applauded but the asuras were silent. Then the panel of judges appointed by the devas and the asuras said this: ‘The verses spoken by Vepacitti, lord of the asuras, are in the sphere of punishment and violence; hence they entail conflict, contention, and strife. But the verses spoken by Sakka, lord of the devas, are in the sphere of nonpunishment and nonviolence; hence they entail freedom from conflict, freedom from contention, and freedom from strife. Sakka, lord of the devas, has won the victory by well-spoken counsel.’

“In this way, bhikkhus, Sakka, lord of the devas, won the victory by well-spoken counsel.”