Saturday, February 09, 2008
7 Vows of Sakkadevaraja (SN 11:1)
By: Balacitta Bikkhu
Venue: Kwangtung Cemetery Pavilion
Today is the third day of the Lunar New Year and I will use this occasion to give a talk which has something to do with the 9th day of the Lunar New Year.
All of us know that the Hokkiens pay respects to "Thi Kong" on the 8th Night, but does he really come down to Earth to observe what we human beings are doing? In India during the Buddha's time, Buddhists observe Uposatha day on the 8th, 15th, 23rd and 30th of the month.
According to the scriptures, on the 30th day, the underlings of the 4 Heavenly Kings will come down to Earth to see whether the people are actually respecting their parents or elders and if they are observing the precepts. On the 8th and 23rd day, they will send their ministers to do the same thing. On the 15th day, the 4 Heavenly Kings will come down themselves to see and will then report to "Thi Kong" (who is known as Sakkadevaraja) and if he finds that the people are not respecting their parents or elders, or not observing the precepts, then he knows that the world will have more asuras.
Sakkadevarajava was known by many names during his many lives. Among them were:
1. Magha - the Brahmin
2. Purinthanda - the Urban Giver (where he was known for his generosity)
3. Vasava - the Builder of Rest Houses/Inns.
4. Sahasakka - The Deva with a Thousand Eyes.
5. Sakka - who gave without expecting anything in return.
6. Sura's Husband - married the daughter of an Asura
7. Sakkadevaraja (Jade Emperor) - where he ruled Tavatimsa Heaven.
When he was the Brahmin called Magha he made 7 vows. During that time there were no Buddha or the Sasana. His vows were that as long as he is reborn in this world he will :-
1. practise filial piety to parents
2. respect and honour his Elders
3. always have gentle speech
4. not cause schism
5. have compassion and be forgiving
6. be honest and tell no lies
7. have no anger.
Sadhu! Sadhu! Sadhu! SBS