SN 10:12 Ālavaka Suttaṁ: Discourse to Ālavaka the Demon

Evaṁ me sutaṁ. Ekaṁ Samayaṁ Bhagavā Ālaviyaṁ viharati Ālavakassa yakkhassa bhavane. Atha kho Ālavako yakkho yena Bhagavā tenupasaṅkami. Upasaṅkamitvā Bhagavāntaṁ etada’voca.
Thus have I heard: On one occasion the Blessed One was living at Ālavi, in the abode of the demon Ālavaka. At that time, the demon Ālavaka approached the Blessed One, and on arrival, said to the Blessed One:

Nikkhama samaṇā’ti. Sādhā’vuso’ti Bhagavā nikkhami.
“Get out, you recluse.” Saying, “Very well, friend,” the Blessed One went out.

Pavisa samaṇā’ti. Sādhā’vuso’ti Bhagavā pāvisi.
“Come in, you recluse.” Saying, “Very well, friend,” the Blessed One went in.

Dutiyam’pi kho Ālavako yakkho Bhagavantaṁ etada’voca. Nikkhama samaṇā’ti. Sādhā’vuso’ti Bhagavā nikkhami.
“Get out, you recluse,” said the demon Ālavaka to the Blessed One a second time. Saying, “Very well, friend,” the Blessed One went out.

Pavisa samaṇā’ti. Sādhā’vuso’ti Bhagavā pāvisi.
“Come in, you recluse.” Saying, “Very well, friend,” the Blessed One went in.

Tatiyam’pi kho Ālavako yakkho Bhagavantaṁ etada’voca. Nikkhama samaṇā’ti. Sādhā’vuso’ti Bhagavā nikkhami.
“Get out, you recluse,” said the demon Ālavaka to the Blessed One a third time. Saying, “Very well, friend,” the Blessed One went out.

Pavisa samaṇā’ti. Sādhā’vuso’ti Bhagavā pāvisi.
“Come in, you recluse.” Saying, “Very well, friend,” the Blessed One went in.

Catuttham’pi kho Ālavako yakkho Bhagavantaṁ etada’voca. Nikkhama samaṇā’ti. Nakhvā’haṁ āvuso nikkhamissāmi. Yan te karaṇīyaṁ taṁ karohī’ti.
“Get out, you recluse,” said the demon Ālavaka to the Blessed One a fourth time. “No, oh friend, I will not go out. Do what you will.”

Pañham taṁ samaṇa pucchissāmi. Sace me na vyākarissasi, cittaṁ vā te khipissāmi, hadayaṁ vā te phālessāmi, pādesu vā gahetvā pāragaṅgāyaṁ khipissāmi’ti.
“Oh recluse, I am going to ask you questions. If you do not answer me, I will drive you insane, or split your heart, or grab your feet and throw you across the river.”

Nakhvāhaṇtaṁ āvuso passāmi sadevake loke samārake sabrahmake sassamaṇabrāhmaṇiyā pajāya sadevamanussāya yo me cittaṁ vā khipeyya, hadayaṁ vā phāleyya, pādessu vā gahetvā pāragaṅgāya khipeyya, Apica tvaṁ āvuso puccha yadākaṅkhasī’ti.
“Well, oh friend, I do not see anyone in this world with its devās, with its Māras and Brahmas, in this generation with its recluses and brāhmins, with its devās and humans, who could either drive me insane, or split my heart, or grab my feet and throw me across the river. Nevertheless, friend, ask what you will.”

Atha kho Āḷavako yakkho Bhagavantaṁ gāthāya ajjhabhāsi.
Then the demon Ālavaka addressed the Blessed One in verse:

1. Kiṁsū’dha vittaṁ purisassaseṭṭhaṁ? – Kiṁsū suciṇṇo sukhamā’vahāti?
Kiṁsū have sādhutaraṁ rasānaṁ? – Kathaṁ jīviṁ jīvitamāhu seṭṭhaṁ’ti?

What wealth here is best for man? What well practiced will bring happiness? What is the sweetest of all tastes? How lived is the life they say is best?

(The Buddha:)

2. Saddhī’dha vittaṁ purisassaseṭṭhaṁ— Dhammo suciṇṇo sukhamā’vahāti
Saccaṁ have sādhutaraṁ rasānaṁ— Paññājīviṁ jīvitamāhu seṭṭhaṁ’ti.

Faith is the wealth here best for man; Dhamma well practised shall bring happiness; truth indeed is the sweetest of all tastes; one living life with wisdom, they say is best.

(Ālavaka:)

3. Kathaṁsu taratī oghaṁ? – Kathaṁsu taratī aṇṇavaṁ?
Kathaṁsu dukkhaṁ acceti? – Kathaṁsu parisujjhati?

How does one cross over the flood? How does one cross over the ocean? How does one overcome suffering? How is one’s life purified?

(The Buddha:)

4. Saddhāya taratī oghaṁ – Appamādena aṇṇavaṁ
Viriyena dukkhaṁ acceti – Paññāya parisujjhati

By faith one crosses over the flood; by diligence is the ocean crossed; by effort one overcomes suffering; by wisdom one’s life is purified.

(Ālavaka:)

5. Kathaṁsu labhate paññaṁ? – Kathaṁsu vindate dhanaṁ?
Kathaṁsu kittiṁ pappoti? – Kathaṁ mittāni ganthati?
Asmā lokā paraṁ lokaṁ – Kathaṁ pecca na socati?

How does one gain wisdom? How does one obtain wealth? How does one achieve fame? How does one win many friends? When passing from this world to the next, how does one not sorrow?

(The Buddha:)

6. Saddahāno arahataṁ – Dhammaṁ Nibbānapattiyā
Sussūsā labhate paññaṁ – Appamatto vicakkhaṇo

When Arahants teach the Dhamma leading to Nibbāna, if one listens to that Dhamma with close attention and confident mind, and investigates that Dhamma diligently, then, in this way, one wins wisdom.

7. Patirūpakārī dhuravā – Uṭṭhātā vindate dhanaṁ
Saccena kittiṁ pappoti – Dadaṁ mittāni ganthati

Doing what is proper, being dutiful, and exerting effort, one obtains wealth. By truthfulness one achieves fame; by giving gifts one wins many friends.

8. Yasse’te caturo dhammā – Saddhassa gharamesino
Saccaṁ damo dhitī cāgo – Sa ve pecca na socati

If a faithful householder is truthful, wise, energetic, and fond of giving, by virtue of these four qualities, he will not sorrow when he passes on.

9. Iṅgha aññe’pi pucchassū – Puthu samaṇabrāhmaṇe
Yadi saccā damā cāgā – Khantyā bhiyyo na vijjati

If you wish, ask of other recluses and brāhmins, if there is anything better in this world than truth, self-control generosity, and patience.

(Ālavaka:)

10. Kathannu’dāni puccheyyaṁ – Puthu samaṇabrāhmaṇe
So’haṁ ajja pajānāmi – Yo attho saṁparāyiko

Why should I now ask other recluses and brāhmins, when today I learned of all factors that lead to happiness in this life and the next?

11. Atthāya vata me Buddho – Vāsāyā’lavimāgamī
So’haṁ ajja pajānāmi – Yattha dinnaṁ mahapphalaṁ

Indeed, out of compassion for me, the Buddha came to my dwelling at Ālavi. On this day, I learned to whom a gift should be given to gain the highest fruit.

12. So’haṁ vicarissāmi – gāmā gāmaṁ purā puraṁ
Namassamāno Sambuddhaṁ – Dhammassa ca sudhammatan’ti.

From village to village and town to town, I shall now travel about worshipping the Supreme Buddha and praising the excellence of the Dhamma.

Evaṁ vutte Ālavako yakkho Bhagavantaṁ etada’voca. Abhikkantaṁ bho Gotama, abhikkantaṁ bho Gotama, Seyyathāpi bho Gotama nikkujjitaṁ vā ukkujjeyya, paṭicchannaṁ vā vivareyya, mūḷhassa vā maggaṁ ācikkheyya, andhakāre vā telapajjotaṁ dhāreyya cakkhumanto rūpāni dakkhintī’ti. Evaṁevaṁ bhotā Gotamena anekapariyāyena Dhammo pakāsito. Esā’haṁ bhavantaṁ Gotamaṁ saraṇaṁ gacchāmi. Dhammañca Bhikkhusaṅghañca. Upāsakaṁ maṁ bhavaṁ Gotamo dhāretu ajjatagge pāṇupetaṁ saraṇaṁ gatan’ti.
Having thus spoken, the demon Ālavaka said to the Blessed One: “Magnificent, Master Gotama! Magnificent, Master Gotama! Just as a man were to set upright what was overturned, to reveal what was hidden, to show the way to one who was lost, or to carry a lamp into the dark so that those with eyes could see forms, in the same way the Dhamma has been made clear in many ways by the Master Gotama. I go for refuge to the Master Gotama, to the Dhamma, and to the community of monks. May the Venerable Gotama accept me as a lay follower who has gone for refuge to the Triple Gem, from today onwards, for as long as life lasts.”

Etena saccena suvatthi hotu!
By this truth, may there be well-being!

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Translation from The Mahamevnawa Pali English Paritta Chanting Book.

Index

9 Buddha Qualities, abandon suffering, alcohol, alms round, anger, animal world, anuttaropurisadammasarati quality, araham quality, Aṅgulimāla Arahant, bad association, bhagava quality, body meditation, buddhanussati meditation, Buddhist etiquette, chanting, compassion, confidence~saddhā, contentment, courage, craving, Culla Kammavibhanga Sutta, cutupapatanana, death, Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta, Enlightenment, evil deeds, first noble truth, five precepts, Four Noble Truths, friendship, ghost world, giving~dāna, good actions, gratitude, greed, guided meditation, hatred, heaven, hell, iddhi, ignorance, impermanence~anicca, intoxicants, jataka, jealousy, karma, kavi, life of Buddha, lokavidu quality, losing loved ones, loss, loving-kindness~mettā, lying, Maha Satipatthana Sutta, Mangala Sutta, marks of a great man, meditation, merit~puññā, Mihintale, mindfulness~sati, Mora Paritta, Mundane Right View, nibbāna, Noble Eightfold Path, noble truth of suffering, non-attachment, ordination, origin of suffering, parents, paritta, patience, pilgrimage, practice, precepts, psychic powers, pujas, punishment, Pāli, rains retreat, rare human birth, Ratana Sutta, Ratthapala Sutta, relics, retreat, right speech, right view, sacred places, Sakka God, sammasambuddho quality, samsara, Sangha, Second Noble Truth, sickness, similes, Sri Lanka, stress, Sāriputta Arahant, Taking advice, Therigatha, Third Noble Truth, uposatha, Venerable Maha Moggalana, Vesak, vijja, vijjacaranasampanno quality, virtue~sīla, wisdom, Work, worldly conditions, wrong view