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Samyutta Nikaya
Sakka Saṁyutta

11.3 Dhajagga Sutta
The Discourse about the Top of the Flag

The Tathāgata, the Arahant, the Supremely Enlightened One is free from lust, is free from hatred and is free from delusion; he is not subject to fear, terror and fright. He will never flee.

One time the Blessed One was staying in the province of Sāvatthi, in Jeta’s park, at Anāthapiṇḍika’s Monastery. There the Blessed One addressed the monks saying, “Oh Monks.” “Bhante,” those monks replied to the Blessed One. The Blessed One said this:

“Monks, once in the past the gods and titans were preparing for battle. Then Sakka, lord of the gods, addressed the Tāvatiṁsa gods thus: ‘Dear sirs, when the gods are in battle, if any fear, terror, or hair-standing-on-end arises, on that occasion you should look at the top of my flag. When you look up at the top of my flag, then any fear, terror, or hair-standing-on-end will pass away.

“‘If you fail to look up at the top of my flag, then you should look up at the top of the flag of Pajāpati, king of gods. When you look up at the top of the flag of Pajāpati, king of gods, then any fear, terror, or hair-standing-on-end will pass away.

“‘If you fail to look up at the top of the flag of Pajāpati, king of gods, then you should look up at the top of the flag of Varuṇa, king of gods. When you look up at the top of the flag of Varuṇa, king of gods, then any fear, terror, or hair-standing-on-end will pass away.

“‘If you fail to look up at the top of the flag of Varuṇa, king of gods, then you should look up at the flag of Īsāna, king of gods. When you look up at the top of the flag of Īsāna, king of gods, any fear, terror, or hair-standing-on-end will pass away.’

“Monks, for those who look up at the top of the flag of Sakka, lord of the gods, or of Pajāpati, king of gods, or Varuṇa, king of gods, or Īsāna, king of gods, any fear, terror, or hair standing on end may pass away or may not pass away. What is the reason for this? Because Monks, Sakka, lord of the gods, is not free from lust, is not free from hatred, and is not free from delusion. He is subject to fear, terror, and fright, and is quick to flee.

“But, monks, I also say this to you: If you have gone to a forest, to the foot of a tree, or to an empty hut, if any fear, terror or hair-standing-on-end that should arise in you, on that occasion, you should recollect me thus: The Blessed One is an Arahant, supremely enlightened, accomplished in the true knowledge and conduct, well gone, knower of worlds, unsurpassed leader of persons to be tamed, teacher of gods and humans, the enlightened teacher, the Blessed One. Monks, when you recollect me, any fear, terror or hair-standing-on-end will pass away.

“If you fail to recollect me, then you should recollect the Dhamma thus: The Dhamma is well taught by the Blessed One, visible here and now, timeless, inviting one to come and see, applicable to oneself, understood by the wise each for himself. Monks, when you recollect the Dhamma, any fear, terror, or hair-standing-on-end will pass away.

“If you fail to recollect the Dhamma, then you should recollect the Saṅgha thus: Of pure conduct is the community of disciples of the Blessed One. Of upright conduct is the community of disciples of the Blessed One. Of wise conduct is the community of disciples of the Blessed One. Of generous conduct is the community of disciples of the Blessed One. Those four pairs of persons, the eight kinds of individuals—that is the community of disciples of the Blessed One. They are worthy of offerings, they are worthy of hospitality, they are worthy of gifts, they are worthy of reverential salutations, the unsurpassed field of merit for the world. Monks, when you recollect the Saṅgha, any fear, terror, or hair-standing-on-end will pass away.

“What is the reason for this? Because, monks, the Tathāgata, the Arahant, the Supremely Enlightened One is free from lust, is free from hatred and is free from delusion; he is not subject to fear, terror and fright. He will never flee.”

This is what the Blessed One said. Having said this, the Well Gone One, the Great Teacher, further said this:

“Oh monks, in a forest or at the foot of a tree, or in an empty hut, you should recollect the Supreme Buddha. Then no fear will arise in you.

“But if you fail to recollect the Supreme Buddha, leader of the world, the best of humans, then you should recollect the Dhamma, which is well expounded and leads to Nibbāna.

“But if you fail to recollect the Dhamma, which is well expounded and leads to Nibbāna, then you should recollect the Saṅgha, the unsurpassed field of merit.

“Monks, for those who recollect the Buddha, the Dhamma, and the Saṅgha, any fear, terror or hair-standing-on-end that should arise in them will surely pass away.”

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Saṁyutta Nikāya 11.3 Dhajagga Sutta: The Discourse about the Top of the Flag

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