The Buddha Replies To The Deva





On a certain day when the Blessed One dwelt at Jetavana, the

garden of Anathapindika, a celestial deva came to him in the

shape of a Brahman whose countenance was bright and whose

garments were white like snow. The deva asked questions which the

Blessed One answered,



The deva said: "What is the sharpest sword? What is is the

deadliest poison? What is the fiercest fire? What is the darkest

night?"



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: "He is the greatest gainer who gives to

others, and he loses most who greedily receives without

gratitude. 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 treasure-trove?"



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 securest treasure-trove."



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 bliss."



The deva asked: "What causes ruin in the world? What breaks off

friendships? What is the most violent fever? Who is the best

physician?"



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 Buddha is 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 whole world?"



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

Buddha.





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