Long Discourses

Mahāsamayasuttaṃ

20. The Discourse on the Great Convention

Thus I have heard: at one time the Gracious One was dwelling amongst the Sakyans in the Great Wood near Kapilavatthu with a great Saṅgha of monks consisting of five hundred monks, all of them Worthy Ones, and almost all of the gods from the ten world-elements had assembled to see the Gracious One and the Saṅgha of monks.

Then this occurred to four gods from among the hosts in the Pure Abodes: “The Gracious One is dwelling amongst the Sakyans in the Great Wood near Kapilavatthu with a great Saṅgha of moṅks consisting of five hundred monks, all of them Worthy Ones, and almost all of the gods from the ten world elements have assembled to see the Gracious One and the Saṅgha of monks. Well now, we too could approach the Gracious One, and after approaching the Gracious One we could recite a verse each in his presence.”

Then those gods, just as a strong man might stretch out a bent arm, or bend in an outstretched arm, in the same way disappeared from among the gods of the Pure Abodes and appeared in front of the Gracious One. Then those gods after worshipping the Gracious One, stood on one side. While standing on one side one of the gods recited this verse in the presence of the Gracious One:

1“There is a great convention in the wood,
and a host of gods have come,
we have come to this Dhamma convention
to see the Saṅgha, who are undefeated.”

Then another god recited this verse in the presence of the Gracious One:

2“In this place the monks are concentrated,
they have straightened out their minds by themselves,
like a charioteer who has taken the reins,
the wise protect their sense faculties.”

Then another god recited this verse in the presence of the Gracious One:

3“Having cut off the hindrance and obstacle,
and dug up the locking post, they are unmoved,
they live pure and unstained,
young nāgas, well-tamed by the Visionary.”

Then another god recited this verse in the presence of the Gracious One: 

4“Whoever has gone to the Buddha for refuge
will not go to the lower worlds.
After giving up the human body
they will fill up the ranks of the gods.”

Then the Gracious One addressed the monks, saying: “Monks, almost all of the gods from the ten world-elements have assembled to see the Realised One and the Saṅgha of monks. Monks, those who in the past were Worthy Ones, Perfect Sambuddhas, for those Gracious Ones also at least as many gods have assembled as for me at the present time. Monks, those who in the future will be Worthy Ones, Perfect Sambuddhas, for those Gracious Ones also at least as many gods will assemble as for me at the present time.

Monks, I will declare the names of the hosts of gods, monks, I will proclaim the names of the hosts of gods, monks, I will reveal the names of the hosts of gods.

Listen to it, apply your minds well, and I will speak.” “Yes, reverend Sir,” those monks replied to the Gracious One, and the Gracious One said this:

5“I will repeat a famous verse (a Siloka)
wherever the gods of the Earth live:
There are monks who live in a hill cave,
who are resolute, composed,

6who are like lions crouching,
who have overcome all horror,
with minds that are cleansed, and purified,
which are clear, and undisturbed”.

7He knew there were more than five hundred
in the wood near Kapilavatthu like this,
therefore the Teacher addressed
those disciples who delight in the teaching:

8“A host of gods have drawn near to us,
you should know who they are, monks!”
Then those monks became ardent,
after hearing the Buddha’s teaching,

9and knowledge was manifest to them,
seeing those non-human beings—
and some of them saw a hundred,
a thousand, or seventy thousand.

10Some of them saw a hundred thousand
of those non-human beings,
and some saw an endless number
spread out in every direction.

11Having deep knowledge of all that
the Visionary desired to speak,
therefore the Teacher addressed
those disciples who delight in the teaching:

12“A host of gods have drawn near to us,
you should know who they are, monks!
I will proclaim their names to you
with lyrics in regular order.

Yakkhas

13There are seven thousand yakkhas,
Earth gods from Kapilavatthu,
who have psychic power, who are bright,
beautiful, and resplendent,
rejoicing they have drawn near
the gathering of monks in the wood.

14From Hemavant there are six thousand
yakkhas, diverse in colour,
who have psychic power, who are bright,
beautiful, and resplendent,
rejoicing they have drawn near
the gathering of monks in the wood.

15From Sātāgira there are three thousand
yakkhas, diverse in colour,
who have psychic power, who are bright,
beautiful, and resplendent,
rejoicing they have drawn near
the gathering of monks in the wood.

16Like this there are sixteen thousand
yakkhas, diverse in colour,
who have psychic power, who are bright,
beautiful, and resplendent,
rejoicing they have drawn near
the gathering of monks in the wood.

17From Vessāmitta there are five hundred
yakkhas, diverse in colour,
who have psychic power, who are bright,
beautiful, and resplendent,
rejoicing they have drawn near
the gathering of monks in the wood.

18From Rājagaha there is Kumbhira,
who is settled on Vepulla,
and more than a hundred thousand
yakkhas who gather round him,
From Rājagaha there is Kumbhira
he also came to the gathering in the wood.

The Four Great Kings

19The Easterly direction, the king
Dhataraṭṭha rules over that,
he is master of the Gandhabbas,
he is a resplendent Great King,

20also there are his many sons,
Inda by name, ones of great strength,
who have psychic power, who are bright,
beautiful, and resplendent,
rejoicing they have drawn near
the gathering of monks in the wood.

21The Southerly direction, the king
Virūḷha rules over that,
he is master of the Kumbhaṇḍas,
he is a resplendent Great King,

22also there are his many sons,
Inda by name, ones of great strength,
who have psychic power, who are bright,
beautiful, and resplendent,
rejoicing they have drawn near
the gathering of monks in the wood.

23The Westerly direction, the king
Virūpakkha rules over that,
he is master of the nāgas,
he is a resplendent Great King,

24also there are his many sons,
Inda by name, ones of great strength,
who have psychic power, who are bright,
beautiful, and resplendent,
rejoicing they have drawn near
the gathering of monks in the wood.

25The Northerly direction, the king
Kuvera rules over that,
he is master of the yakkhas,
he is a resplendent Great King,

26also there are his many sons,
Inda by name, ones of great strength,
who have psychic power, who are bright,
beautiful, and resplendent,
rejoicing they have drawn near
the gathering of monks in the wood.

27To the East there is Dhataraṭṭha,
in the South there is Virūḷhaka,
in the West there is Virūpakkha,
to the North there is Kuvera.

28These are the Four Great Kings,
from all sides, the four directions,
they stood blazing brilliantly
in the wood near Kapilavatthu.

29Their deceitful servants came,
who are fraudulent and treacherous:
the deceitful Kuteṇḍu, Veteṇḍu,
Viṭucca, and Viṭuḍa,

30Candana and Kāmaseṭṭha,
Kinnughaṇḍu and Nighaṇḍu,
Panāda and Opamañña,
and Mātali, the gods’ charioteer,

31The gandhabbas Citta and Sena,
the kings Nala and Janesabha
came, and also Pañcasikha,
Timbaru, and Suriyavaccasā.

32These and also other kings,
and gandhabbas along with their kings,
rejoicing they have drawn near
the gathering of monks in the wood.

Nāgas and Supaṇṇas

33Then came Nāgas from Nābhasa,
and from Vesāli, and the Tacchakas,
the Kambalas, and Assataras came,
and nāgas from Pāyāga with their kin.

34The Yāmuna, and the Dhataraṭṭha nāgas came,
resplendent ones,
and Erāvaṇa, the great nāga,
he also came to the gathering in the wood.

35Those who carry away the nāga kings by force
—the divine, twice-born, winged ones, with clear vision
—through the air they came and arrived in the wood,
the Citras and Supaṇṇas, such are their names.

36But at that time the nāga kings were without fear,
for the Buddha made them safe from the supaṇṇas.
Calling on one another with gentle words,
the nāgas and supaṇṇas took refuge in the Buddha.

Asuras

37Defeated by Vajirahattha,
the asuras live in the ocean,
they are brothers of Vāsava,
having psychic power, resplendent,

38the very fearful Kālakañjas,
the Dānaveghasa asuras,
Vepacitti and Sucitti,
Pahārāda, together with Namuci,

39and a hundred of Bali’s sons,
all of them named after Veroca.
Having armed themselves, Bali’s army
came to lucky Rāhu and said:
“Now is the time, reverend Sir,
for the gathering of the monks in the wood.”

Devas

40The Water gods, and the Earth gods,
the Fire, and the Wind gods all came there,
the Varuṇa, and Vāruṇa gods,
Soma followed by Yasa,

41and a host of Friendly and Compassionate gods came, resplendent ones.
All of these ten hosts, ten kinds of gods,
who are diverse in colour,

42who have psychic power, who are bright,
beautiful, and resplendent.
Rejoicing they have drawn near
the gathering of monks in the wood.

43The Veṇhu and Sahali and Asama gods, and the two Yama gods came.
The gods who depend on the Moon came,
with the Moon in front of them.

44The gods who depend on the Sun came,
with the Sun in front of them,
with the stars in front of them,
also the foolish Rain Cloud gods came.

45Sakka also came, who is called Vāsava, the best of the Vasū, and Purindada.
All of these ten hosts, ten kinds of gods,
who are diverse in colour,

46who have psychic power, who are bright,
beautiful, and resplendent,
rejoicing they have drawn near
the gathering of monks in the wood.

47Then came the Sahabhu gods,
blazing forth, like the crest of a fire,
and the Ariṭṭhakas and Rojas
and the splendid Ummapuppha gods.

48The Varuṇas and Sahadhammas,
the Accutas and Anejakas,
the Sūleyyas and Ruciras all came;
the Vāsavanesi gods came.

49All of these ten hosts, ten kinds of gods,
who are diverse in colour,
who have psychic power, who are bright,
beautiful, and resplendent,
rejoicing they have drawn near
the gathering of monks in the wood.

50The Samānas, Mahāsamānas,
Mānusas, Mānusuttamas,
and the Khiḍḍāpadūsikas came;
the Manopadūsikas came.

51Then the Hari gods came,
and those known as the Lohitavāsī.
The Pāragas, and Mahāpāragas came,
gods who are resplendent.

52All of these ten hosts, ten kinds of gods,
who are diverse in colour,
who have psychic power, who are bright,
beautiful, and resplendent,
rejoicing they have drawn near
the gathering of monks in the wood.

53The Sukkas, Karumhas, and Aruṇas came, with the Veghanasas.
The Vicakkhaṇa gods came with the Odātagayhas in front.

54The Sadāmattas, Hāragajas,
and the resplendent Missakas.
Pajjunna came thundering,
he who pours down rain in all directions.

55All of these ten hosts, ten kinds of gods,
who are diverse in colour,
who have psychic power, who are bright,
beautiful, and resplendent,
rejoicing they have drawn near
the gathering of monks in the wood.

56The Khemiyas, Tusitas, Yāmas,
and resplendent Kaṭṭhakas came.
The Lambītakas, Lāmaseṭṭhas,
those called the Jotis, and Āsavas,

57and the Nimmāṇaratis came;
then came the Paranimittas.
All of these ten hosts, ten kinds of gods,
who are diverse in colour,

58who have psychic power, who are bright,
beautiful, and resplendent,
rejoicing they have drawn near
the gathering of monks in the wood.

59All of these sixty hosts of gods,
who are diverse in colour,
in conformity with their names came;
these along with others similar thinking:

60“We shall see the casteless Saṅgha, unhindered,
flood-crossers, pollution-free,
and the nāga, who is beyond the flood,
who, like the Moon, has overcome the darkness.

brahmās

61Subrahmā and Paramatta,
along with the sons of the powerful one came.
Sanaṅkumāra and Tissa
also came to the gathering in the wood.

62In the thousand brahma worlds
a Great Brahma has arisen,
a bright one, who stands out,
whose awesome body is resplendent.

63The ten Issarā brahmās came,
who individually wield power,
and in the midst of them came
Hārita with his entourage.

Māra and his Army

64Now when they had all drawn near,
Inda with the gods and the brahmās,
Māra’s army also drew near:
behold the foolishness of the Dark One!

65“Come now, seize them, and bind them he said,
let them be bound by passion,
surround them on all sides,
do not let anyone of them go free!”

66Thus in that place the great army leader
sent forth his dark army,
after striking the ground with his hand,
and making a fearful noise,

67like a storm cloud shedding rain,
thundering, with flashes of lightning—
but then he retreated,
angry, and unable to control himself.

68Knowing all that was happening
the Visionary desired to speak,
therefore the Teacher addressed
those disciples who delight in the teaching:

69“Māra’s army has drawn near to us,
you should know who they are, monks!”
Then those monks became ardent, after hearing the Buddha’s teaching.
They withdrew from the passionless monks, not one of their hairs was shaken!

Spoken by Māra

70“They are all victorious in battle,
beyond fear, and resplendent,
those disciples, famous among men, along with all beings, are glad.”