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Samyutta Nikaya
Sakka Saṁyutta

11.5 Subhāsita Jaya Sutta
Victory by Well-Spoken Words

God Sakka and Vepacitti engage in a debate to see who uses well-spoken words.

At Sāvatthi. “Monks, once in the past the gods and the titans were prepared for battle. Then Vepacitti, lord of the titans, said to Sakka, lord of the gods:

“‘Lord of the gods, let there be victory by well-spoken words.’

“‘Yes, Vepacitti, let there be victory by well-spoken words.’

“Then, monks, the gods and the titans appointed a panel of judges saying, ‘They will decide what has been well spoken and badly spoken by us.’

“Then, monks, Vepacitti, lord of the titans, said to Sakka, lord of the gods: ‘Speak a verse, lord of the gods.’

“Monks, when this was said, Sakka, lord of the gods, said to Vepacitti, lord of the titans: ‘Vepacitti, since you came into this world before me, you Vepacitti, speak a verse.’

“When this was said, Vepacitti, lord of the titans, spoke this verse:

“‘Fools will be angrier and try to fight if no one will keep them in check. That is why with severe punishment the wise man restrains the fool.’

“Monks, when Vepacitti, lord of the titans, spoke this verse, the titans applauded, but the gods were silent.

“Then, monks, Vepacitti, lord of the titans said to Sakka, lord of the gods: ‘Speak a verse now, lord of the gods.’

“When this was said, Sakka, lord of the gods, spoke this verse:

“‘I think, when one knows others are angry, if one mindfully maintains one’s peace, that is the best way to control the fool.’

“Monks, when Sakka, lord of the gods, spoke this verse, the gods applauded but the titans were silent.

“Then, monks, Sakka, lord of the gods, said to Vepacitti, lord of the titans: ‘Speak a verse, Vepacitti.’

“When this was said, Vepacitti, lord of the titans, spoke this verse:

“‘God Sakka, I see the fault of that patience. When one is patient, the fool thinks of that person thus, “He puts up with me out of fear.” The fool will cause more trouble to the patient one, as a herd of bulls charges towards one who flees.’

“Monks, when Vepacitti, lord of the titans, spoke this verse, the titans applauded but the gods were silent.

“Then, monks, Vepacitti, lord of the titans, said to Sakka, lord of the gods: ‘Speak a verse, lord of the gods.’

“When this was said, Sakka, lord of the gods, spoke these verses:

“‘It doesn’t matter whether one thinks or not, “He puts up with me out of fear.” There is great benefit in cultivating good qualities within oneself. There is nothing better than patience.

“‘Even though the strength of a fool is called power, in reality there is no power there. No one can challenge the patience of the one who is guarded by Dhamma.

“‘If one gets angry at another angry person he makes things worse for himself. The one who doesn’t repay an angry person with anger, he wins the battle hard to win.

“‘Knowing that his foe is angry, when one mindfully maintains his peace, he practices for his own welfare and the other’s.

“‘When he acts for the welfare of himself and the other, the people who are unskilled in the Dhamma consider the patient person a fool.’

“Monks, when these verses were spoken by Sakka, lord of the gods, the gods applauded but the titans were silent.

“Then, monks, the panel of judges appointed by the gods and the titans said this:

“‘The verses spoken by Vepacitti, lord of the titans, are dealing with punishment and violence. Those verses talk about things such as, “This is how punishments should be given, conflicts arise and the battle begins.”

“‘But the verses spoken by Sakka, lord of the gods, are dealing with non-punishment and non-violence. Those verses talk about things such as, “This is how to stop punishments, living in harmony and ending the battle.” In conclusion, Sakka, lord of the gods, has won the victory by well-spoken words!’

“In this way, monks, Sakka, lord of the gods, won the victory by well-spoken words.”

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Saṁyutta Nikāya 11.5 Subhāsita Jaya Sutta: Victory by Well-Spoken Words

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