BUDDHAREPLIES TO THE DEVA
††††††††† ON a certain day when the Blessed One dwelt at Jetavana, the
, a celestial deva came to him in the shape gardenof Anathapindika
of a Brahman whose countenance was bright and whose garments
were white like snow. The deva asked questions which the Blessed
††††††††† The deva said: "What is the sharpest sword? What is the
deadliest poison? What is the fiercest fire? What is the darkest
The Blessed One replied: "A word spoken in wrath is the
sharpest sword; covetousness is the deadliest poison;
passion is the fiercest fire; ignorance is the darkest night."
††††††††† The deva said: "Who gains the greatest benefit? Who loses
most? Which armor is invulnerable? What is the best weapon?"
The Blessed One replied: "The greatest gainer is one who gives to others,
and the one who greedily receives without gratitude loses most.
Patience is an invulnerable armor; wisdom is the best weapon."
††††††††† The deva said: "Who is the most dangerous thief? What is the
most precious treasure? Who is most successful in taking away by
violence not only on earth, but also in heaven? What is the securest
The Blessed One replied: "Evil thought is the most dangerous thief;
virtue is the most precious treasure. The mind takes possession of
everything not only on earth, but also in heaven, and immortality is its
††††††††† The deva said: "What is attractive? What is disgusting? What
is the most horrible pain? What is the greatest enjoyment?"
The Blessed One replied: "Good is attractive; evil is disgusting. A bad
conscience is the most tormenting pain; deliverance is the height of
††††††††† The deva asked: "What causes ruin in the world? What breaks
off friendships? What is the most violent fever? Who is the best
The Blessed One replied: "Ignorance causes the ruin of
the world. Envy and selfishness break off friendships. Hatred is the
most violent fever, and the
Buddhais the best physician."
††††††††† The deva then asked and said: "Now I have only one doubt to
be solved; pray, clear it away: What is it fire can neither burn, nor
moisture corrode, nor wind crush down, but is able to reform the
The Blessed One replied: "Blessing! Neither fire, nor
moisture, nor wind can destroy the blessing of a good deed, and
blessings reform the whole world."
††††††††† The deva, having heard the words of the Blessed One, was full
of exceeding joy. Clasping his hands, he bowed down before him in
reverence, and disappeared suddenly from the presence of the
(Paul Carus 1915, reprinted in The Teachings of Buddha, St. Martinís Press, NY, 1998)