Mystic Lotus

ĀLAVAKA SUTTA



Discourse To Ālavaka








ĀLAVAKA SUTTA

Discourse To Ālavaka




In this Sutta, Ālavaka, the being subdued by the Buddha, is referred as a Yakkha. Here Yakkha may mean that he was a powerful chieftain as he knew the Dhamma himself. The Buddha visited the house of Yakkha Ālavaka in the city of Ālavi. Ālavaka asked the Buddha to get out thrice, and asked Him to return thrice. The Buddha obeyed, but when He was asked to get out for the fourth time, He refused to obey. Ālavaka threatened to drive Him out of wits or destroy Him if the Buddha could not answer his questions. The Buddha said that there was nobody who could harm Him and requested Ālavaka to ask the questions. He questioned, and the Buddha answered. He was so pleased and he became a devotee of the Triple Gems.


Evam me sutam
Thus have I heard:
ekam samayam Bhagavā
On one occasion the Blessed One
Ālaviyam viharati Ālavakassa yakkhassa bhavane
was dwelling at Alavi, the abode of Yakkha Ālavaka.
Atha kho Ālavako yakkho, yena Bhagavā ten’upasankami
Then the Yakkha Ālavaka approached the Blessed One,
upasankamitvā Bhagavantam etadavoca
and said to Him:


Nikkhama, samanā’ti
“Get out, ascetic.”
Sādh’āvuso’ti Bhagavā nikkhami
“Very well, friend.” so saying the Blessed One went out.
Pavisa, samanā’ti
“Come in, ascetic.”
Sādh’āvuso’ti Bhagavā pāvisi
“Very well, friend.” so saying the Blessed One went in.


Dutiyam’pi kho Ālavako yakkho Bhagavantam etadavoca Nikkhama, Samanā’ti
“Get out, ascetic.” said the Yakkha Ālavaka to the Blessed One a second time.
Sādh’āvuso’ti Bhagavā nikkhami
“Very well, friend.” so saying the Blessed One went out.
Pavisa, samanā’ti
“Come in, ascetic.”
Sādh’āvuso’ti Bhagavā pāvisi
“Very well, friend.” so saying the Blessed One went in.


Tatiyam’pi kho Ālavako yakkho Bhagavantam etadavoca Nikkhama, Samanā’ti
“Get out, ascetic.” said the Yakkha Ālavaka to the Blessed One a third time.
Sādh’āvuso’ti Bhagavā nikkhami
“Very well, friend.” so saying the Blessed One went out.
Pavisa, samanā’ti
“Come in, ascetic.”
Sādh’āvuso’ti Bhagavā pāvisi
“Very well, friend.” so saying the Blessed One went in.


Catuttham’pi kho, Ālavako yakkho Bhagavantam etadavoca Nikkhama, Samanā’ti
“Get out ascetic.” said the Yakkha Ālavaka to the Blessed One a fourth time.
Nakhvāham, āvuso, nikkhamissāmi
“No, O friend, I will not get out.
Yan te karanīyam tam karohī’ti
Do what you have to do.”


Pañham tam, Samana, pucchissāmi
“I will ask you a question, ascetic.
Sace me na vyākarissasi cittam vā te khipissāmi
If you do not answer me, I will confound your mind,
hadayam vā te phālessāmi
or split your heart,
pādesu vā gahetvā pāra-gangāyam khipissāmi’ti
or grab you by the feet and fling you across the Ganges.”


Nakhvā-hantam āvuso passāmi, sadevake loke samārake sabrahmake
“Well, friend, I do not see anyone in this world of Devas, Maras, Brahmas,
sassamana-brāhmaniyā pajāya sadeva-manussāya
or in this generation of ascetic, brahmanas, devas, and humans,
yo me cittam vā khipeyya
who could either confound my mind
hadayam vā phāleyya
or split my heart,
pādesu vā gahetvā pāra-gangāya khipeyya
or grab me by the feet and fling me across the Ganges.
Apica tvam āvuso puccha yadā-kankhasi’ti
Nevertheless, friend, ask what you want.”


Atha kho Ālavako yakkho Bhagavantam gāthāya ajjhabhāsi
Then Ālavaka addressed the Blessed One in verse:


  1. Kim sūdha vittam purisassa-settham
    “What here is a man’s best wealth?
    Kimsū sucinno sukhamāvahāti
    What practised well will bring happiness?
    Kimsū have sādhutaram rasānam
    What taste excels all other tastes?
    Katham jīvim jīvitamāhu settham
    How lives the one who they say lives best?”


  2. Saddhīdha vittam purisassa-settham
    “Faith is here a man’s best wealth.
    Dhammo sucinno sukhamāvahāti
    Dhamma practised well will bring happiness.
    Saccam have sādhutaram rasānam
    Truth indeed excels all other tastes.
    Paññājīvim jīvitamāhu settham
    One living by wisdom they say lives best.”


  3. Kathamsu taratī ogham
    “How does one cross over the flood?
    Kathamsu taratī annavam
    How does one cross the rugged sea?
    Kathamsu dukkham acceti
    How does one overcome suffering?
    Kathamsu parisujjhati
    How is one purified?”


  4. Saddhāya taratī ogham
    “By faith one crosses over the flood.
    Appamādena annavam
    By diligence one crosses over the rugged sea.
    Viriyena dukkham acceti
    By effort one overcomes suffering.
    Paññāya parisujjati
    By wisdom one is purified.”


  5. Kathamsu labhate paññam
    “How does one gain Wisdom?
    Kathamsu vindate dhanam
    How does one obtain Wealth?
    Kathamsu kittim pappoti
    How does one come to Fame?
    Katham mittāni ganthati
    How does one win Friendship?
    Asmā lokā param lokam,
    When passing from this world to another world after death,
    katham pecca na socati
    how does one not sorrow?”


  6. Saddahāno arahatam - Dhammam Nibbāna-pattiyā
    “Placing faith in the worthy Dhamma, for the attainment of Nibbana,
    Sussūsā labhate paññam - Appamatto vicakkhano
    he who has the wish to hear the Dhamma, being vigilant and discerning gains Wisdom.
    Patirūpakārī dhuravā - Utthātā vindate dhanam
    One who is energetic and takes initiative in doing what is proper and dutiful obtains Wealth.
    Saccena kittim pappoti - Dadam mittāni ganthati
    By truthfulness, one wins Fame. By giving, one wins Friendship;
    Yass’ete caturo dhammā - Saddhassa gharamesino
    The faithful seeker of the household life in whom dwells these four qualities, that is:
    Saccam damo dhitī cāgo - Sa ve pecca na socati
    Truth, Dhamma, Steadfastness and Generosity, does not sorrow when he passes on.
    Asmā lokā param lokam - Sa ve pecca na socati
    That is how one does not sorrow when passing from this world to another world after death.”


  7. Ingha aññe’pi pucchassū - Puthu samana-brāhmane
    “Come now, ask other samanas and brahmanas as well,
    Yadi saccā damā cāgā - Khantyā bhiyyo na vijjati
    whether there is found here anything better than Truth and Restraint, Generosity and Patience.”


  8. Kathannu’dāni puccheyyam - Puthu samana-brāhmane
    “Why should I now ask other samanas and brahmanas?
    So’ham ajja pajānāmi - Yo cattho samparāyiko
    Today I have understood the good pertaining to the next life.


  9. Atthāya vata me, Buddho - Vāsāyālavi-māgamī
    Indeed, for my sake, the Buddha came to Alavi.
    So’ham ajja pajānāmi - Yatha dinnam mahapphalam
    Today I have understood where a gift bears great fruit.


  10. So aham vicarissāmi gāmā gāmam, purā puram
    From village to village and town to town, I shall now wander alone.
    Namassamāno Sambuddham
    Paying homage to the Fully Enlightened One
    Dhammassa ca suddhammatan’ti
    and the excellent Dhamma well preached by Him.”


Evam vutte Ālavako yakkho Bhagavantam etadavoca
Having thus spoken, the Yakkha Ālavaka said to the Blessed One:
Abhikkantam bho Gotama, abhikkantam bho Gotama
“Excellent, O Venerable Gotama, excellent!
seyyathāpi, bho Gotama, nikkujjitam vā ukkujjeyya paticchannam vā vivareyya
It is as if, O Venerable Gotama, a man were to set upright what had been overturned,
mūlhassa vā maggam ācikkheyya
reveal what had been hidden, point out the way to one who had gone astray,
andhakāre vā telapajjotam dhāreyya
hold an oil lamp amidst the darkness
cakkhumanto rūpāni dakkhintī’ti
so that those who have eyes may see;
Evamevam bhotā Gotamena aneka-pariyāyena Dhammo pakāsito
even so has the doctrine been expounded in various ways by the Venerable Gotama.


Esāham bhagavantam Gotamam saranam gacchāmi
I take refuge in the Venerable Gotama (the Buddha),
Dhammañca Bhikkhu-sanghañca
in the Dhamma (the Doctrine) and in the Sangha (the Order).
Upāsakam mam bhavam Gotamo dhāretu
May the Venerable Gotama accept me as a lay disciple who has taken refuge,
ajjatagge pānupetam saranam gatan’ti
from this very day to life’s end.”