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Samyutta Nikaya XI.3

Dhajagga Sutta

The Top of the Standard


I have heard that on one occasion the Blessed One was staying near Savatthi in Jeta's Grove, Anathapindika's monastery. There he addressed the monks: "Monks!"

"Yes, lord!" the monks responded.

The Blessed One said: "Once, monks, the devas & asuras were arrayed for battle. Then Sakka, lord of the devas, addressed the devas of the Thirty-three: 'If, dear sirs, when the devas are engaged in battle, there should arise fear, terror, or horripilation, then on that occasion you should look up at the top of my standard. For when you look up at the top of my standard, any fear, terror, or horripilation you may have will be abandoned.

"'If you don't look up at the top of my standard, then you should look up at the top of the standard of Pajapati the deva-king. For when you look up at the top of the standard of Pajapati the deva-king, any fear, terror, or horripilation you may have will be abandoned.

"'If you don't look up at the top of the standard of Pajapati the deva-king, then you should look up at the top of the standard of Varuna the deva-king. For when you look up at the top of the standard of Varuna the deva-king, any fear, terror, or horripilation you may have will be abandoned.

"'If you don't look up at the top of the standard of Varuna the deva-king, then you should look up at the top of the standard of Isana the deva-king. For when you look up at the top of the standard of Isana the deva-king, any fear, terror, or horripilation you may have will be abandoned.

"Monks, in those who look up at the top of the standard of Sakka, lord of the devas; in those who look up at the top of the standard of Pajapati the deva-king; in those who look up at the top of the standard of Varuna, the deva-king; or in those who look up at the top of the standard of Isana, the deva-king, any fear, terror, or horripilation they may have might be abandoned, or it might not. Why is that? Because Sakka, lord of the devas, is not free of passion, free of aversion, or free of delusion. He can be frightened, terrorized, cowardly, quick to flee.

"But, monks, I tell you this: If, when you have gone to the wilderness, to the foot of a tree, or to an empty dwelling, there should arise fear, terror, or horripilation, then on that occasion you should recollect me thus: 'Indeed, the Blessed One is worthy & rightly self-awakened, consummate in knowledge & conduct, well-gone, knower of the cosmos, unexcelled trainer of those who can be tamed, teacher of devas and human beings, awakened, blessed.' For when you recollect me, monks, any fear, terror, or horripilation you may have will be abandoned.

"If you don't recollect me, then you should recollect the Dhamma thus: 'The Dhamma is well expounded by the Blessed One, to be seen here & now, timeless, inviting one to come & see, pertinent, to be seen by the wise for themselves.' For when you recollect the Dhamma, monks, any fear, terror, or horripilation you may have will be abandoned.

"If you cannot recollect the Dhamma, then you should recollect the Sangha thus: 'The Sangha of the Blessed One's disciples who have practiced well, practiced straightforwardly, practice methodically, practiced masterfully, i. e., the four pairs, the eight-types [of Noble Ones]: that is the Sangha of the Blessed One's disciples -- worthy of gifts, worthy of hospitality, worthy of offerings, worthy of respect, the unexcelled field of merit for the world.' For when you recollect the Sangha, monks, any fear, terror, or horripilation you may have will be abandoned.

"Why is that? Because the Tathagata, worthy & rightly self-awakened, is free of passion, free of aversion, free of delusion. He is fearless, cannot be terrorized, bold, not quick to flee."

This is what the Blessed One said. Having said this, the One Well-gone, the Teacher, further said this:

In wilderness, monks,
    at the foot of a tree,
    or in an empty dwelling,
recollect the Buddha:
    You will have no fear.

If you don't recall the Buddha --
    best in the world,
    the bull of men --
then recollect the Dhamma,
    leading outward,
    well expounded.

If you don't recall the Dhamma --
    leading outward,
    well expounded --
then recollect the Sangha,
    the field of merit
    unexcelled.

For those who have thus recalled
    the Buddha,
    Dhamma,
    & Sangha, monks,
there will be
    no terror,
    horripilation,    
    or fear.

Source: ATI - For Free Distribution Only, as a Gift of Dhamma.

Dhamma Essay:
Vision and Routine by Bhikkhu Bodhi


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