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Makhadeva Sutta

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Tipitaka >> Sutta Pitaka >> Majjhima Nikaya >> Makhadeva Sutta

Translation by Sister Upalavanna


I heard thus.

At one time the Blessed One lived in Mithila in the Makhadeva mango orchard. Then the Blessed One when gone to a certain region smiled. Then it occurred to venerable Ananda—The Blessed One does not smile for nothing, why did the Blessed One smile. Then venerable Ananda, arranging his robe on one shoulder, clasped his hands towards the Blessed One and said. ‘Venerable sir, for what reason did the Blessed One smile?’

‘Ananda, in the past, in this same Mithila, there was a king named Makhadeva. He was a righteous king and ruled the country righteously. On the fourteenth, fifteenth and the eighth days of the waxing moon he observed the eight precepts. The brahmin householders of the hamlets, villages, and the state too observed the eight precepts on the fourteenth, fifteenth and the eighth days of the waxing moon. Then king Makhadeva after the lapse of hundreds of years, thousands of years, hundred thousand years addressed his barber and said: Good friend, barber, if you see a grey hair on my head tell me. The barber agreed. After a very long time, after many hundred thousand years, the barber noticed a grey hair on king Makhadeva’s head and said. ‘Me’ lord, there is a grey hair evident’. ‘Then, good friend, barber, carefully pick that grey hair with a forceps and place it on my palm.’ The barber agreed and carefully picking the grey hair with a forceps placed it in king Makhadeva’s palm. Then king Makhadeva offering a village as a gift to the barber, addressed his eldest son. ‘Dear son, the messengers have appeared to me, there are grey hairs on my head. I have finished enjoying human sensual pleasures, now it’s time to search heavenly sensual pleasures. Come! Dear prince, rule the country. I will shave head and beard, don yellow clothes and go forth, ascetic. Dear prince, when you too, notice a grey hair on your head, gift a village to the barber, hand over the rulership of the country to your eldest son, advising him to rule the country righteously. Shave head and beard, don yellow clothes and go forth as a ascetic. See that my good cycle does not get disturbed and disrupted. If in some way, this good cycle is disrupted, by anyone, he will be the last man in this age of Great men. Dear prince, because of this I say, follow up this cycle of good and do not be the last man breaking the cycle.’

Then Ananda, king Makhadeva, giving a village as a gift to the barber, thoroughly establishing the eldest prince as the ruler, advising him to rule righteously, shaved head and beard, donned yellow clothes and went forth as a ascetic in this same mango orchard. He with the thought of loving kindness pervaded one direction, the second, third, fourth, above, below and across, always, for all purposes and in all circumstances developed the thought of loving kindness, grown great and boundless without anger and ill will, abode. With the thought of compassion,---with the thought of intrinsic joy, --- The thought of equnimity . he pervaded one direction, the second, third, fourth, above, below and across, always, for all purposes and in all circumstances developed the thought of equanimity, grown great and boundless without anger and ill will, abode. Ananda, king Makhadeva played the games of a child for forty eight thousand years. Was viceroy for forty eight thousand years, was ruler for forty eight thousand years.Gone forth, ascetic, led the holy life, in this same mango orchard for forty eight thousand years. Developing the four divine abidings after death was born in the world of brahma...

Then king Makhadeva’s son after the lapse of hundreds of years, thousands of years, hundred thousand years addressed his barber and said: Good friend, barber, if you see a grey hair on my head tell me. The barber agreed. After a very long time, after many hundred thousand years, the barber noticed a grey hair on king Makhadeva’s son’s head and said. ‘Me’ lord, there is a grey hair evident. Then, good friend, barber, carefully pick that grey hair with a forceps and place it on my palm. The barber agreed and carefully picking the grey hair with a forceps placed it in king Makhadeva’s son’s palm. Then king Makhadeva’s son offering a village as a gift to the barber, addressed his eldest son: Dear son, the messengers have appeared to me, there are grey hairs on my head. I have finished enjoying human sensual pleasures, now it’s time to search heavenly sensual pleasures. Come! Dear prince, rule the country. I will shave head and beard, don yellow clothes and go forth ascetic. Dear prince, when you too, notice a grey hair on your head, gift a village to the barber, hand over the rulership of the country to your eldest son, advising him to rule the country righteously. Shave head and beard, don yellow clothes and go forth as a ascetic. See that my good cycle does not get disturbed and disrupted. If in some way, this good cycle is disrupted, by anyone, he will be the last man in this age of Great men. Dear prince, because of this I say, follow up this good cycle and do not be the last man to break the cycle.

Then Ananda, king Makhadeva’s son, giving a village as a gift to the barber, thoroughly establishing the eldest prince as the ruler, advising him to rule righteously, shaved head and beard, donned yellow clothes and went forth ascetic in this same mango orchard. He with the thought of loving kindness pervaded one direction, the second, third, fourth, above, below and across, always, for all purposes and in all circumstances developed the thought of loving kindness, grown great and boundless without anger and ill will, abode. With the thought of compassion,---with the thought of intrinsic joy, --- The thought of equnimity he pervaded one direction, the second, third, fourth, above, below and across, always, for all purposes and in all circumstances developed the thought of equanimity, grown great and boundless without anger and ill will abode. Ananda, king Makhadeva’s son played the games of a child for forty eight thousand years. Was viceroy for forty eight thousand years, was ruler for forty eight thousand years.Gone forth ascetic, led the holy life, in this same mango orchard for forty eight thousand years. Developing the four divine abidings after death was born in the world of brahma.

Ananda, king Makhadeva’s grandson, and his successors of forty eight thousand warriors, shaved head and beard in this same mango orchard. They with the thought of loving kindness pervaded one direction, the second, third, fourth, above, below and across, always, for all purposes and in all circumstances developed the thought of loving kindness, grown great and boundless without anger and ill will abode. With the thought of compassion,---with the thought of intrinsic joy, --- The thought of equnimity he . pervaded, one direction, the second, third, fourth, above, below and across, always, for all purposes and in all circumstances developed the thought of equanimity, grown great and boundless without anger and ill will he abode. Ananda, they played the games ofchildren for forty eight thousand years. Were viceroies for forty eight thousand years, were rulers for forty eight thousand years. Gone forth ascetic led the holy lives, in this same mango orchard for forty eight thousand years. Developing the four divine abidings after death, were born in the world of brahma.

Nimi was the last king in that good cycle, who lived righteously and ruled righteously. During his time too the eight precepts were observed on the fourteenth, fifteenth and eighth days of the waxing moon by the brahmin householders of the hamlets, villages and states.

Ananda, in the past in the Suddhamma assembly of the thirty three gods this conversation arose: It is great gain to the people of Vidheha that king Nimi lives a righteous life and rules righteously observes the eight precepts on the fourteenth, fifteenth and the eighth days of the moon and the brahmin householders too in the hamlets, villages and state observe the eight precepts on the fourteenth, fifteenth and the eighth days of thewaxingmoon.

Then Sakka the king of thirty three gods addressed them: Sirs, would you like to see king Nimi.That day was the fifteenth day of the waxing moon and king Nimi having washed his hair, had observed the eight precepts was seated in the top most storey of his palace. Then Sakka the king of gods, as a strong man would stretch his bent arm or bend his stretched arm, disappeared from the gods of thirty three and appeared in front of king Nimi and said. ‘Great king it is gain for you that the gods of the thirty three should praise you like this: It is great gain to the people of Vidheha that king Nimi lives a righteous life and rules righteously observes the eight precepts on the fourteenth, fifteenth and the eighth days of the waxing moon and the brahmin householders too in the hamlets, villages and state observe the eight precepts on the fourteenth, fifteenth and the eighth days of the waxing moon. Great king, the gods of the thirty three desire to see you, I will send you the heavenly chariot yoked to a thousand thoroughbreds, ascend it, great king, the heavenly chariot does not shake.’

King Nimi accepted in silence, and Sakka the king of gods, as a strong man would stretch his bent arm or bend his stretched arm, disappeared from the presence of king Nimi and appeared among the gods of the three and thirty.

Then Sakka the king of gods addressed the charioteer Matali: Friend, Matali, yoke the chariot with the thousand thoroughbreds and approach king Nimi and say thus:--Great king this is the heavenly chariot yoked to a thousand thoroughbreds this is sent by Sakka the king of gods, ascend it great king, the heavenly chariot does not shake. The charioteer Matali agreed and yoked the chariot with the thousand thoroughbreds and approachedking Nimi and said. ‘Great king this is the heavenly chariot yoked to a thousand thoroughbreds this is sent by Sakka the king of gods, ascend it great king, the heavenly chariot does not shake. Yet by which path do you want to go, is it through where the doers of evil reap their results, or the doers of merit reap their results?’ ‘Matali lead me along both these courses.’ Ananda, Matali the charioteer led king Nimi to the assembly of the three and thirty gods. Sakka the king of gods seeing king Nimi said, ‘Come! Greatking.The gods of the thirty three are seatedin the Suddhamma assembly praising you. It is great gain to the people of Vidheha that king Nimi lives a righteous life and rules righteously observes the eight precepts on the fourteenth, fifteenth and the eighth days of the waxing moon and the brahmin householders too in the hamlets, villages and states observe the eight precepts on the fourteenth, fifteenth and the eighth days of the waxingmoon. Great king, the gods of the three andf thirty like to see you, take pleasure in the splendour of the gods.’

‘Useless, sir, send me back to Mithila, there I will lead the righteous life together with the brahmin householders in the hamlets, villages and states observing the eight precepts on the fourteenth, fifteenth and the eighth days of the waxing moon.’..

Ananda, then Sakka the king of gods, addressed the charioter Matali ‘Come! Good friend, Matali, yoke the chariot with a thousand thoroughbreds and take king Nimi back to Mithila’. Matali the charioteer agreed and yoking the chariot with the thousand thoroughbreds took king Nimi back to Mithila.

Ananda, king Nimi lived righteously, observing the eight precepts on the fourteenth, fifteenth and the eighth days of themoon and the brahmin householders too in the hamlets, villages and states observed the eight precepts on the fourteenth, fifteenth and the eighth days of the waxingmoon. Then king Nimi after the lapse of hundreds of years, thousands of years, hundred thousand years addressed his barber and said: Good friend, barber, if you see a grey hair on my head tell me. The barber agreed. After a very long time, after many hundred thousand years, the barber noticed a grey hair on king Nimi’s head and said. ‘Me’ lord, there is a grey hair evident.’ ‘Then, good friend, barber, carefully pick that grey hair with a forceps and place it on my palm.’ The barber agreed and carefully picking the grey hair with a forceps placed it in king Nimi’s palm. Then king Nimi offering a village as a gift to the barber, addressed his eldest son. ‘Dear son, the messengers have appeared to me, there are grey hairs on my head. I have finished enjoying human sensual pleasures, now it’s time to search heavenly sensual pleasures. Come! Dear prince, rule the country. I will shave head and beard, don yellow clothes and go forth hermit. Dear prince, when you too, notice a grey hair on your head, gift a village to the barber, hand over the rulership of the country to your eldest son, advising him to rule the country righteously. Shave head and beard, don yellow clothes and go forth hermit. See that my cycle of good does not get disturbed and disrupted. If in some way, this cycle of good, is disrupted, by anyone, he will be the last man in this age of Great men. Dear prince, because of this, I say, follow up this cycle of good and do not be the last man, to breakthe cycle.

Then Ananda, king Nimi giving a village as a gift to the barber, thoroughly establishing the eldest prince as the ruler, advising him to rule righteously, shaved head and beard, donned yellow clothes and went forth as a hermit in this same mango orchard. He with the thought of loving kindness pervaded one direction, the second, third, fourth, above, below and across, always, for all purposes and in all circumstances developed the thought of loving kindness, grown great and boundless without anger and ill will, abode. With the thought of compassion,---with the thought of intrinsic joy, The thought of equnimity he pervaded one direction, the second, third, fourth, above, below and across, always, for all purposes and in all circumstances developed the thought of equanimity, grown great and boundless without anger and ill will abode. Ananda, king Nimi played the games of a child for forty eight thousand years. Was viceroy for forty eight thousand years, was ruler for forty eight thousand years.Gone forth as a hermit, led the holy life, in this same mango orchard for forty eight thousand years. Developing the four divine abidings after death was born in the world of brahma.

Ananda, to king Nimi’s son Kalarajanaka, did not go forth hermit, he broke that good cycle, by that he became the last man of that good cycle. Ananda did it occur to you, king Makhadeva would have become perfect if that good cycle was broken, it should not be known in that manner. At that time I was king Makhadeva, I broke that good cycle, so that the later generation would not go on in that cycle. Ananda, that good cycle does not lead to turning away, detachment, cssation, appeasement, realisation, enlightenment and extinction. It leads up to birth in the world of brahma. Ananda, that good cycle is broken by me now. It conduces to, for certain, turning away, detachment, cessation, appeasement, realisation, enlightenment and extinction. Ananda, how does that good cycle broken by me conduce to, for certain turning away, detachment, cessation, appeasement, realisation, enlightenment and extinction? It is this same noble eightfold path such as: Right understanding, right thoughts, right speech, right actions, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness and right concentration. Ananda, now, that good cycle is broken by me, to conduce to, for certain turning away, detachment, cessation, appeasement, realisation, enlightenment and extinction.. Ananda, I tell this, as long as you turn this cycle undisrupted, you will not be the last persons in the cycle. Ananda, when this cycle of good is disrupted during any period of Great Men, they would become the last men in the cycle. Ananda, because of that I tell you, do not disrupt this cycle of good and become the last men in this cycle.

The Blessed One said thus and venerable Ananda delighted in the words of the Blessed One..

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