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:
“‘Both devas and human beings humbly worship you, Vāsava. So who, Oh Sakka, is that god you worship?’
“‘Oh Mātali, the perfectly enlightened Buddha lives in this world with its gods, the Great Teacher of perfect name: he is the one I worship.
“‘Oh Mātali, there are enlightened ones, free from taints, who have removed completely lust, hatred, and ignorance. These are the ones I worship.
“‘Oh Mātali, there are noble disciples doing proper duties who have gone beyond lust, hatred and ignorance. They live practicing the Dhamma, giving it top priority. These are the ones I worship.’
“‘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 the Blessed One, the king of gods—Magha, Sujā’s husband, God Sakka—climbed into his chariot.”