Samaññaphala Sutta - The King's Unrest

The King's Unrest

Upon a bright uposatha night, King Ajatasattu, monarch of Magadha Kingdom, who was in the mood to hear a Dhamma discourse, asked his ministers if there was any worthy teacher "who might enlighten and bring peace to our mind." The ministers in turn suggested that the monarch visited a variety of teachers, all of whom the King rejected by being silent. But when the King's physician, Jivaka, who was silent all the time, was asked if he could suggest a teacher to visit, the physician quickly replied that the Buddha was currently staying in the physician's mango groves.

The King immediately agreed to go there. After preparing the elephants and his followers, the King rode to the mango groves. Yet, upon arriving on the Groves, the King was suddenly overcome with worry and doubt. The hairs on his body even stood up as he felt an agonizing fear. He asked his physician nervously and suspiciously, "Are you not deceiving me, Jivaka? Do you not betray me and hand my life to the enemies? How come it happens that there is not a single sound heard at all, not even coughs or sneezes in the huge group of 1,250 Sangha monks?"

To answer his majesty's paranoia, the physician calmly reassured the monarch, "Do not worry, your Majesty. I am not lying, or deceiving, or betraying you to your enemies. Proceed on, your Majesty! There, in the Hall, where the lights are lit."

The King proceeded and when he entered the Hall, he had difficulty in spotting where the Buddha was. To his king's aid, Jivaka answered that the Buddha was sitting on the back of a pillar, surrounded by his disciples.

The King then approached the Buddha and gave his salutation. Then, while standing, he saw how the Monks sat in silence, calm like a still, waveless lake. He exclaimed: "Can my beloved son, Udayi Bhadda, possess such calmness and composure as the Monks show me now?"

The Buddha asked him, "If so, Your Majesty, how do you direct your mind towards compassion and love?"

"Bhante, I love my son very dearly, and I wish for him to possess the calmness as like the monks have now." The Monarch then prostrated himself towards the Buddha, clasped his palms in salutation to the monks, and then proceeded to sit on the Buddha's side. The monarch then asked, "If my teacher doesn't mind, may I ask you a question?"

"Ask what you want to ask, King."

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