At Sāvatthi. There, the Blessed One said this: “Monks, once in the past Sakka, lord of the gods, addressed his charioteer, Mātali, thus: ‘Mātali, prepare the chariot with its team of a thousand of the best horses. Let us go to see the beautiful park.’ Then, monks, the charioteer Mātali replied to Sakka, lord of the gods, saying, ‘Yes sire, as you wish.’ Then he prepared the chariot with its team of a thousand of the best horses and told Sakka, lord of the gods, ‘The chariot has been prepared, my lord. You may come at your own convenience.’ Then, monks, Sakka, lord of the gods, while coming down from Vejayanta Palace, put his hands together and worshipped all directions. Then, monks, Mātali the charioteer asked Sakka, lord of the gods, in verse:
“‘They all humbly worship you—those well learnt in the Triple Veda, all the kings ruling on earth, the Four Great Kings, and the glorious Tāvatiṁsa gods—so who, O Sakka, is that god you worship?’
“‘These beings all humbly worship me—those well learnt in the Triple Veda, all the kings ruling on earth, the Four Great Kings, and the glorious Tāvatiṁsa gods—but I worship monks who are virtuous, long trained in the stillness of mind, and who live with the celibate life as their intention.
“‘There are householders who went for refuge to the triple gem, and have become lay followers of the Supreme Buddha. They are virtuous, make merit and righteously take care of their families. I worship them as well, Oh Mātali.’
“‘Those you worship, my lord Sakka, are indeed the best in the world. I too will worship them—those you worship, lord Sakka.’”
(The verse recited by the liberated ones in the first council:)
“Having answered the question, having worshiped all directions, the king of gods—Magha, Sujā’s husband, God Sakka—climbed into his chariot.”