DN 20 Maha-samaya Sutta: The Great Meeting

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DN 20 Maha-samaya Sutta: The Great Meeting

Postby mikenz66 » Tue Jul 26, 2011 8:54 am

DN 20 PTS: D ii 253 Maha-samaya Sutta: The Great Meeting

A large group of devas pays a visit to the Buddha. This sutta is the closest thing in the Pali canon to a "Who's Who" of the deva worlds, providing useful material for anyone interested in the cosmology of early Buddhism.

Again, there is little point in copying the text. Better to read it formatted properly on Access to Insight:

Translation by Piyadassi Thera
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .piya.html

Translation by Thanissaro Bhikkhu
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

    Thanissaro Bhikkhu's Introduction

    This discourse is an interesting example of the folklore of the Pali canon. It shows that the tendency of Asian popular Buddhism to regard the Buddha as a protective figure, and not just as a teacher, has its roots in the earliest part of the tradition. Metrical analysis indicates that the long "tribute" section of this discourse is very old, while the verses in the introductory section — which is also found in the Samyutta Nikaya — are later in form. This fits with a more subjective judgment: that the tribute was an earlier composition — in the honorific style of the ancient court bards — to which the introduction was added later. This judgment is based on the fact that the two sections do not quite fit each other. The introduction to the tribute indicates that the reciter of the tribute is the Buddha himself, whereas the narration in the tribute indicates otherwise.

    At any rate, this discourse is the closest thing in the Pali canon to a "who's who" of the deva worlds, and should provide useful material for anyone interested in the cosmology of early Buddhism.

    The Commentary reports the belief that the devas enjoy hearing this discourse chanted in Pali. Until recently it was part of many monks' standard memorized repertoire, to be chanted at weddings and the dedication of new buildings. Even today, as many of the traditions of memorization in Asia seem to be falling by the wayside, there are a few monks and laypeople who chant this discourse regularly.
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Re: DN 20 Maha-samaya Sutta: The Great Meeting

Postby plwk » Tue Jul 26, 2011 9:29 am

I noticed the Arupa fellas are missing or they were not bothered? :tongue:
Bhikkhus, if you develop and make much this one thing,
it invariably leads to weariness, cessation, appeasement, realization and extinction.
What is it? It is recollecting the Enlightened One.
If this single thing is recollected and made much,
it invariably leads to weariness, cessation, appeasement, realization and extinction.

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Re: DN 20 Maha-samaya Sutta: The Great Meeting

Postby mikenz66 » Tue Jul 26, 2011 10:53 am

Hmm, not sure where they got to...

Exercise for the reader is to find the opening of this sutta in the Samyutta Nikaya without using Bhikkhu Bodhi's concordance. :tongue:

:anjali:
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Re: DN 20 Maha-samaya Sutta: The Great Meeting

Postby rowyourboat » Sun Jul 31, 2011 6:54 pm

Arupa fellas are too blissed out to notice! :tongue: ..seriously- it is NOT conducive for the practice to end up in an Arupa world. :anjali:

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Re: DN 20 Maha-samaya Sutta: The Great Meeting

Postby mikenz66 » Sun Jul 31, 2011 7:16 pm

This is why the Buddha couldn't teach his former teachers.

MN 26 Ariyapariyesana Sutta: The Noble Search
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
"In this way did Alara Kalama, my teacher, place me, his pupil, on the same level with himself and pay me great honor. But the thought occurred to me, 'This Dhamma leads not to disenchantment, to dispassion, to cessation, to stilling, to direct knowledge, to Awakening, nor to Unbinding, but only to reappearance in the dimension of nothingness.' So, dissatisfied with that Dhamma, I left.


"Then the thought occurred to me, 'To whom should I teach the Dhamma first? Who will quickly understand this Dhamma?' Then the thought occurred to me, 'This Alara Kalama is wise, competent, intelligent. He has long had little dust in his eyes. What if I were to teach him the Dhamma first? He will quickly understand this Dhamma.' Then devas came to me and said, 'Lord, Alara Kalama died seven days ago.' And knowledge & vision arose within me: 'Alara Kalama died seven days ago.' The thought occurred to me, 'A great loss has Alara Kalama suffered. If he had heard this Dhamma, he would have quickly understood it.'


Simiarly for Uddaka Ramaputta.

Perhaps it is worth examining:
The Thirty-one Planes of Existence
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/ptf/dham ... /loka.html
for others who are missing.
Presumably: Unconscious beings (asaññasatta).
The arupa beings are mentioned as not being able to hear the teachings.

:anjali:
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Re: DN 20 Maha-samaya Sutta: The Great Meeting

Postby mikenz66 » Mon Aug 01, 2011 8:35 am

As indicated above, the (apparently newer) introductory verses of DN 20 are in the Samyutta Nikaya, 1.37.
Here is a translation:
http://www.metta.lk/tipitaka/2Sutta-Pit ... ggo-e.html
1. 4. 7.
(37) Samayo : Assembly.

I heard thus. At one time the Blessed One was living in the great forest in kapilavatthu, in the country of the Sakkyas, with about five hundred bhikkhus all worthy ones. All heavenly beings of the tenfold world systems had gathered there, to see the Blessed One and the Community of bhikkhus.

Then it occurred to the four gods of the pure abodes: The Blessed One is in the great forest in kapilavatthu, in the country of the Sakkyas, with about five hundred bhikkhus all worthy ones. All heavenly beings of the tenfold world systems have gathered there, to see the Blessed One and the Community of bhikkhus. We too should approach and each one should say a stanza in the presence of the Blessed One.

Then those deities disappeared from the pure abodes and appeared before the Blessed One, as quickly as a strong man would bend his stretched arm or stretch his bent arm.

One of those deities standing on a side said this stanza:

"Heavenly beings have gathered in the woodlands
We approached this righteous assembly,
Will see the victorious, Community of bhikkhus."

Another deity said this stanza in the presence of the Blessed One:

"Here, the bhikkhus are concentrated
Their minds are in a single point,
Like charioteers who have taken hold of the reins.
The wise protect the mental faculties."

Another deity said this stanza in the presence of the Blessed One:

"Pulling out the arrow, destroying the obstacle,
Not wavering, to leave behind the strong pillar,
They abide pure, with faith,
Like, wise, tamed, young elephants."

Another deity said this stanza in the presence of the Blessed One:

"He takes refuge in the Enlightened One and does not go to decrease.
Giving up the human body, he procures a heavenly one."
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Re: DN 20 Maha-samaya Sutta: The Great Meeting

Postby mikenz66 » Mon Aug 01, 2011 8:47 am

From Bhikkhu Bodhi's translation of the Samyutta Nikaya, SN 1.37, Concourse.

BB: This sutta reproduces the opening of the Mahasamaya Sutta (DN 20). The background story begins when the Buddha intervened to prevent a war between the Sakayans and Koliyans, his paternal and maternal kinsmen, over the waters of the river Rohini. After he meditated a peaceful resolution of their conflicts, 250 youths from each community went forth under him as monks. After a period of exertion, they all attained arahantship on the same day, the full-moon day of the month of Jetthamula (May-June). When the sutta opens, on the same night, they have all assembled in the Master's presence in order to announce his attainments. The word samaya in the title means, not "occasion," but meeting or "concourse".


Then the thought occurred to four devatas of the host from the pure abodes.

BB: The Pure Abodes (suddhavasa) are five planes in the form realm into which only nonreturners can be reborn: Aviha, Atappa, Sudassa, Sudassi, and Akanittha. Here they attain final deliverance without ever returning from that realm. All the inhabitants are thus either nonreturners or arahants.
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Re: DN 20 Maha-samaya Sutta: The Great Meeting

Postby mikenz66 » Tue Aug 02, 2011 11:15 am

From Bhikkhu Bodhi's translation of the Samyutta Nikaya, SN 1.37, Concourse.

"Having cut through barrenness, cut the crossbar,
Having uprooted Indra's Pillar, unstirred,
They wanter about pure and stainless,
Young nagas well tamed by the One with Vision."

BB:
khila: barrenness;
paligha: crossbar;
khiila: stake or pillar, the particular indrakhiila, is a stake or pillar planted in front of a city gate or at the entrance to a house as an auspicious symbol.
Spk defines all three terms in the same way, as luset, hatred and delusion.
At SN 45.166 lust, hatred, and delusion are all called barrenness.
But at MN 22 paligha is identified with ignorance (avijja).
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .nypo.html
31. "And how, monks, is that monk one who has removed the cross-bar? Herein the monk has abandoned ignorance, has cut it off at the root, removed it from its soil like a palmyra tree, brought it to utter extinction, incapable of arising again. Thus has he removed the cross-bar.

A set of five cetokhila is mentioned at MN 16.
http://www.metta.lk/tipitaka/2Sutta-Pit ... ta-e1.html
Bhikkhus, if the five arrows in the mind of the bhikkhu are not dispelled, and if the five bonds are not cut, that the bhikkhu should come to growth and development in the dispensation is not a posssibility. How are his five arrows of the mind not dispelled?

The Nanamoli-Bodhi translation is:
"Bhikkhus, that any bhikkhu who has not abandoned five wildernesses in the heart and not severed five shackles in the heart should come to growth, increase and fulfilment in this Dahmma and Discipline - that is impossible."
[MA expalains cetokhial, tranlated "wilderness in the heart" as rigidity, rubbish, or a stump in the mind. It expalinse cetaso vinibandha as something that binds the mind, clenching is like a fist; hence "shacke in the heart". The former, as will be seen, consists of four cases of doubt, one of hate; the latter as five varieties of greed.]


These bhikkhus are unstirred (aneja) by the stirring (or commotion, eja) of craving
[see SN 35.90 - http://www.metta.lk/tipitaka/2Sutta-Pit ... ggo-e.html - 34. 9. 7. (90) Ejà 1 Motion 1].
Naga is a word used to designate various types of powerful beings, particularly a class of semi-divine dragons, but it also can denote cobras and bull elephants and is used as a metaphor for the arahant; see MN 23
The Naga serpent is a symbol for a bhikkhu who has destroyed the taints. 'Leave the Naga serpent; do not harm the Naga serpent; honour the Naga serpent.' This is the meaning."
[Nanamoli-Bodhi tranlation at end of MN 23, The Ant Hill.]

In relation to the arahant the dominant sense is that of the bull elephant (see Dhammapada Chapter 23 http://home.nethere.net/dsparks/narada/23-Naga%20Vagga.htm)., but because the latter expression would in English seem demeaning, rather than complimentary I have left naga untranslated. Spk explains the word by way of "edifying entymology": Nagas, beacause they do not go along by way of desire and so forth; nagas, because they do not return to the defilements abandoned by the successive paths; nagas because they do not commit the various types of crime. Spk calls this a brief account and refers the reader to Ndd I 201-2 for a full explanation. See too Sn 522, which offers a similar entymology.
http://www.metta.lk/tipitaka/2Sutta-Pit ... gga-e.html
522. Does nothing wrong in the world, breaks up all bonds with which are bound, Released is not soiled any where, by that he becomes a Great Man.

The "One with Vision" (cakkhuma) is the Buddha, so called because he possesses the "five eyes".
    Eye of a Buddha: knowldge of the degrees of maturities in faculties of beings and knowledge of the dispositions and underlying tendencies of beings.
    Universal eye: knowledge of omniscience.
    Dhamma eye: knowledge of the three lower paths.
    Divine eye.
    Fleshy eye.
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Re: DN 20 Maha-samaya Sutta: The Great Meeting

Postby morning mist » Tue Aug 02, 2011 1:31 pm

plwk wrote:I noticed the Arupa fellas are missing or they were not bothered? :tongue:


How can they show up when there is no rupa . Maybe that is why you don't see them.
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Re: DN 20 Maha-samaya Sutta: The Great Meeting

Postby mikenz66 » Tue Aug 02, 2011 7:30 pm

morning mist wrote:
plwk wrote:I noticed the Arupa fellas are missing or they were not bothered? :tongue:


How can they show up when there is no rupa . Maybe that is why you don't see them.


More importantly, as pointed out in this post: viewtopic.php?f=25&t=9161&p=142554#p142342
and on this page:
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/ptf/dham ... /loka.html
The inhabitants of these realms are possessed entirely of mind. Having no physical body, they are unable to hear Dhamma teachings.

So the Buddha's teachers could not hear the Dhamma...

:anjali:
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Re: DN 20 Maha-samaya Sutta: The Great Meeting

Postby mikenz66 » Wed Aug 03, 2011 7:24 am

From Bhikkhu Bodhi's translation of the Samyutta Nikaya, SN 1.37, Concourse.

"Those who have gone to the Buddha for refuge
Will not go to the plain of misery.
On discarding the human body,
They will fill the host of devas."

Spk: This verse refers to those who have gone for refuge by the definitive going for refuge (nibbematika-saranagamana). Spk-pt: By this the supramundane going for refuge is meant (i.e., by the minimal attainment of stream-entry). But those who go for refuge to the Buddha by the mundane going for refuge (i.e., without a noble attainment) will not go to the plane of misery; and if there are other suitable conditions, on leaving the human body they will fill up the hosts of devas.
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Re: DN 20 Maha-samaya Sutta: The Great Meeting

Postby mikenz66 » Thu Aug 04, 2011 10:11 am

Maurice Walshe, in the Notes to his Translation, wrote:
This is another curious document, doubtless an example of what Rhys Davids calls 'a mnemonic doggrel as was found useful in other cases also by the early Buddhists, who had no books and were compelled to carry their dictionaries and works of reference in their heads.' A Sanskrit version from Central Asia has been published, with English translation, by E Waldschmidt in "The Language of Early Buddhist Texts", and there are also Chinese and Tibetan versions, all of which are qutie close to the Pali in general. Rhys Davids considers the poem (if such we can call it) 'almost unreadable now', because 'the long list of strange names awakes no interest.' That was in 1910. Possibly modern readers who know their Tolkien may think otherwise. At any rate, I have not felt it necessary to try to follow up all the allusions, some of which remain obscure or dubious.
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Re: DN 20 Maha-samaya Sutta: The Great Meeting

Postby daverupa » Thu Aug 04, 2011 12:44 pm

A Buddhist Silmarillion...
    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.
- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]
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Re: DN 20 Maha-samaya Sutta: The Great Meeting

Postby mikenz66 » Thu Aug 04, 2011 7:41 pm

Hi Dave,
daverupa wrote:A Buddhist Silmarillion...

:reading:
64. "When all the Devas headed by Inda (Sakka), and all Brahmas headed by Haritta had come, there came the host of Mara. Lo! The folly of Mara, the Murky One, (Kanha).

65. "'Come on, seize them, bind them, let them all be bound by lust, surrounded on every side, suffer not anybody to escape' (Thus Vasavatti Mara gave order).

66-67. "Mara thus striking the earth with his palm and thereby producing a dreadful sound as when a storm cloud thunders and causes lightning during rainy season, sent his black army to the midst of the Devas. Nevertheless, unable to bring the Devas under his sway, he filled with anger. He recoiled.

... hmm, "let them all be bound by lust"... lusting after The Ring was a central theme in Tolkein's stories...

:anjali:
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Re: DN 20 Maha-samaya Sutta: The Great Meeting

Postby mikenz66 » Sat Aug 06, 2011 9:18 am

Not only are the introductory verses (discussed above with reference to Bikkhu Bodhi''s SN translation) of a different style, but the beginning of the part not in the SN is messed up.

Walshe's translation of this runs:

The the lord said to his monks: 'Monks, it has often happened that the devas from ten world-systems have come to see the Tahagata and his order of monks. So it has been with the supreme Buddhas of the past, and so it will be with those of the future, as it is with me now. I will detail for you the names of the groups of devas, announce them and teach them to you. Pay close attention and I will speak'.

'Yes, Lord', said the monks, and the lord said:

"I'll tell you them in verse, to which realm each belongs.
But thos who dwell composed and resolute
Like lions in the mountain-caves, their minds, white and pure, unstained and calm.

    MW (Maurice Walshe) notes:
    As Rhys Davids remarks,' the connection of the various clauses ofthis stanza is obscure'.It is not clear where the Buddha's actual words are supposed to begin. The verse seems to have been badly joined to the introductory section.


In Kapilavatthu's wood the Lord perceived
Five hundred of his Arahants and more,
Lovers of his word. To them he said:
'Monks observe the deva-host approach!'
And the monks strove eagerly to see.

With superhuman vision thus arising,
Some saw a hundred gods, a thousand some.
While some saw seventy thousand, others saw
Gods innumerable, all around.
And He-Who-Knows-with-insight was aware
Of all that they could see and understand.

And to the lovers of his word the Lord,
Turning said: 'The deva-hosts approach.
Look and seek to know them monks, in turn,
As I declare their names to you in verse.

    Walshe notes that here begins the mnemonic 'doggrel' mentioned by Rhys Davids.
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Re: DN 20 Maha-samaya Sutta: The Great Meeting

Postby mikenz66 » Sat Aug 06, 2011 9:38 am

Thanissaro Bhikkhu wrote:The Commentary reports the belief that the devas enjoy hearing this discourse chanted in Pali. Until recently it was part of many monks' standard memorized repertoire, to be chanted at weddings and the dedication of new buildings. Even today, as many of the traditions of memorization in Asia seem to be falling by the wayside, there are a few monks and laypeople who chant this discourse regularly.

And some modern monks and lay people chanting may be viewed here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3OEIcS9DGNk
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yH2JjEK6WOg
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GuZMWDgkPog

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ss3x5ya53yk

And an MP3 and a Pali-English version to follow along with are on this page:
http://www.dhammatalks.org/Archive/Chants/Chants.html
http://www.dhammatalks.org/Archive/Chan ... 0Sutta.mp3
http://www.dhammatalks.org/Archive/Chan ... samaya.pdf
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Re: DN 20 Maha-samaya Sutta: The Great Meeting

Postby mikenz66 » Sat Aug 06, 2011 9:47 am

Here's a mural depicting the Sutta from Wat Palelai, Singapore.
http://sites.google.com/site/watpalelai ... /main-hall

Image

A mural hangs in the main hall, above the entrance. Painted on silk is a depiction of the Maha-samaya Sutta: or the Great Meeting of approximately 500 arahants, and most of the devatas (heavenly beings) from ten world-systems have gathered in order to see the Buddha and the Bhikkhu Sangha (commuity of monks). The mural is symbolic of how devotees would gather in the palelai and the main hall to practice, meditate or listen to teachings.


More detailed pictures:
http://www.fccheonghome.com/side/mural.html
http://www.fccheonghome.com/side/murdoc.html
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Re: DN 20 Maha-samaya Sutta: The Great Meeting

Postby mikenz66 » Sun Aug 07, 2011 11:14 am

From Maurice Walshe's (MW) translation and notes.
Pictures from: http://www.fccheonghome.com/side/murdoc.html

Image
King Khatarattha, ruler of the East,
The gandhabbas' Lord, a mightly king,
Has come with retinue. Many sons
Are his, who all bear Indra's name,
All well endowed with mighty skills...


MW: The name is the same as that of the ironically-named King Dhrtarastra 'whose empire is firm' in the Mahabharata (a major Sanskrit Epic http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mahabharata).

The Dhararattha in the following is a different being.


From Habhasa, Vesali, Tacchaka
Came Nagas, Kambalas, Assatras,
Payagas with their kin. From yamuna
Dhararattha came with splendid host,
Eravana too, the mighty naga chief
To the forest meeting place has come.

Image
MW: Erawana is Indra's three-headed elephant. The nagas were both snakes and elephants.


And the twice-born, winged and clear of sight,
Fierce garuda birds (the nagas foes) have come.
Image
MW: Birds, like Brahmins, are 'twice-born' - first laid as eggs, then hatched!


Asuras too, whom Indra's hand once struck,
Ocean-dwellers now, in magic skilled, ...


MW: Indra, the champion of the gods, had defeated them.
The asuras suffered a decline in India, compared, with the Pesian ahura. They are at war with the devas and hence are sometimes termed by western scholars 'titans'.


Venhu too with his Sahalis came...

MW: This is the Pali form of Visnu, and the Sanscrit text has indeed visnu here, though that great god came into his own only after the Buddha's time.


Sakka the Vasus' lord, ancient giver...

MW: Purindada: 'the generous giver in former births' (Rhys Davids), deliberately altered froem Purandara (which the Sanskrit version has!) 'destroyer of cities'. RD thinks the change was made to distinguish Sakka from the Vedic god, but perhaps it is rather a change to make him more Buddhistically 'respectable'.


The 'Pleasure-corrupted' and 'Mind-corrupted' gods ...

MW: See DN 1.2.7 http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .bodh.html (BB uses the term "corrupted by play")
[Wrong view 6] 'And what is the second way? There are, monks, certain devas called Corrupted by Pleasure. They spend an excessive time addicted to merriment, ...
... Corrupted in Mind. They spend an excessive amount of time regarding each other with envy....



The Kehmiyas, the Tusitas and Yamas,
The Katthakas with train, Lambitakas,
The Lama chiefs, and the gods of flame
(The Asavas), thos who delight in shapes
They've made, and those who seize on other's work, ...


MW: The Nimmanarati and Paranimmita devas.
See levels 10 and 11 of the Thirty-one Planes:
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/ptf/dham ... /loka.html
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Re: DN 20 Maha-samaya Sutta: The Great Meeting

Postby mikenz66 » Mon Aug 08, 2011 8:29 am

Image
http://www.fccheonghome.com/side/murdoc.html

And when all these had come in vast array,
With Indra and the hosts of Brahma too,
Then too came Maras's hosts, and now observe
That Black One's Folly [1]. Fro he said:
'Cone on, seize and bind them all! With lust
We'll catch them all! Surround them all about,
Let none escape, whoever he may be!'
Thus the war-lord urged his murky troops.
With his palm he struck the ground, and made
A horrid din, as when a storm-cloud bursts
With thunder, lightning and with heavy rain ---
And then --- shrank back, enraged but powerless!

And He-Who-Knows-by-Insight saw all this
And grasped its meaning. To his monks he said:
'The hosts of Mara come, monks --- pay good heed!'
They heard the Buddha's words, and stayed alert.

And Mara's hosts drew back from those on whom
Neither lust nor fear could gain a hold.

'Vicorious, transcending fear, they've won:
His followers rejoice with all the world!' [2]

Notes from Marice Welsh:

[1] Kanha: 'black' but not connected with the Kanha mentioned in DN 3.1.23.
[That Kanha was a mighty sage.]

[2] Rhys Davids says: 'We have followed the traditional interpretation in ascribing these last four lines to Mara. They may quite as well, or better, be a statement by the author himself.'
I have had the courage of his convictions, and made it so.
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