1.10. With the Yakkha Āḷavaka
Thus have I heard:
At one time the Lord dwelt at Āḷavī in the haunt of the yakkha Āḷavaka. Then the latter went to the Lord’s dwelling and spoke to him as follows: “Monk, come out!”
“Very well, friend” said the Buddha (and came out).
“Monk, go in!”
“Very well, friend” said the Buddha and entered his dwelling. He repeated these demands twice, but on the fourth demand the Buddha said:
“I shall not come out to you, friend, do what you will.”
“Monk, I shall ask you a question and if you cannot answer it I shall either overthrow your mind, split your heart, or seizing you by the feet, throw you to the other side of the Ganges river.”
“I do not see, friend, anyone in the world with its devas, Māras and Brahmās, in this generation with its monks and brahmins, princes and men who can either overthrow my mind, or split my heart, or seize me by the feet and throw me to the other side of the Ganges river. However, friend, ask what you will.”
For humans here what wealth is best?
What often done brings happiness?
What surely has the sweetest taste?
How living do they say “life’s best”?
Faith the wealth for humans best,
Dharma done brings happiness,
Truth surely has the sweetest taste,
“Lived with wisdom” this life’s best.
How can the flood be overcrossed?
How overcrossed the sea?
How dukkha can be overcome?
How win to purity?
By faith the flood is overcrossed.
By vigilance the sea.
By effort dukkha’s overcome.
By wisdom, purity.
How wisdom will be won
with riches also found?
How attain to fame
and bring together friends?
When passing from this world, to next,
how does one not grieve?
One with faith in arahats’ Dharma
for attainment of Nirvāṇa
diligent, wishing to listen,
and discerning, wisdom wins.
One who acts appropriately,
who’s steady and industrious,
finds wealth and fame, attained by truth;
by giving, friends are gained.
A faithful household seeker has
attained these four: truthfulness,
virtue, courage, generosity too,
and so grieves not when passing hence.
Now if you wish, ask others too,
numerous monks and brahmins—if
truth, generosity, taming self,
patience too—what’s better than these?
Why should I consult with these
monks and brahmins numerous,
when now for myself I know
who brings my future’s benefit?
For my benefit truly He came here,
the Buddha visiting Āḷavī.
Now do I know where a gift
bestowed will bear great fruit.
Village to village I shall roam,
town to town revering him—
the Full Awakened One, and
the Dharmaness of perfect Dharma.