The Discourse about the Great Emancipation

[The Third Chapter for Recitation]

download

[20: The Eight Assemblies]

There are, Ānanda, eight assemblies.

Which eight?

The assembly of Nobles, the assembly of brahmins, the assembly of householders, the assembly of ascetics, the assembly of the Four Great Kings, the assembly of the Tāvatiṁsa (Divinities), the assembly of Māra, the assembly of the Brahmā Divinities. There appears to be a correlation between these two sets of four assemblies: Nobles on Earth, Kings in Heaven; brahmins on Earth, Divinities in Heaven; householders on Earth, the sensual gods in Heaven; ascetics on Earth, Brahmā Divinities in Heaven.01

  1. I know, Ānanda, after approaching countless hundreds of assemblies of Nobles, that there, before settling down, before conversing, and before entering upon discussion, whatever their appearance was, my appearance would become, Comm: na pana Bhagavā milakkhusadiso hoti nāpi āmuttamaṇikuṇḍalo, Buddhaveseneva nisīdati, te pana attano samānasaṇṭhānam-eva passanti; it is not that the Gracious One (looks) like a barbarian, or is adorned with jewelled earrings, he is surely sitting in the Buddha's clothes, but they see him having the same features as themselves.02 whatever their voice was, my voice would become, Comm: idaṁ ... bhāsantaraṁ sandhāya kathitaṁ; this is said in regard to the different languages (he is able to speak).03 and I instructed, roused, enthused, and cheered them with a talk about the Teaching, and while I was speaking they did not know me (and would ask): ‘Who is this speaking, a Divinity or a man?’ and having instructed, roused, enthused, and cheered them with a talk about the Teaching, I disappeared. And when I had disappeared they did not know me (and would ask): ‘Who is this who disappeared, a Divinity or a man?’

  2. I know, Ānanda, that after approaching countless hundreds of assemblies of brahmins, that there, before settling down, before conversing, and before entering upon discussion, whatever their appearance was, my appearance would become, whatever their voice was, my voice would become, and I instructed, roused, enthused, and cheered them with a talk about the Teaching, and while I was speaking they did not know me (and would ask): ‘Who is this speaking, a Divinity or a man?’ and having instructed, roused, enthused, and cheered them with a talk about the Teaching, I disappeared. And when I had disappeared they did not know me (and would ask): ‘Who is this who disappeared, a Divinity or a man?’

  3. I know, Ānanda, that after approaching countless hundreds of assemblies of householders, that there, before settling down, before conversing, and before entering upon discussion, whatever their appearance was, my appearance would become, whatever their voice was, my voice would become, and I instructed, roused, enthused, and cheered them with a talk about the Teaching, and while I was speaking they did not know me (and would ask): ‘Who is this speaking, a Divinity or a man?’ and having instructed, roused, enthused, and cheered them with a talk about the Teaching, I disappeared. And when I had disappeared they did not know me (and would ask): ‘Who is this who disappeared, a Divinity or a man?’

  4. I know, Ānanda, that after approaching countless hundreds of assemblies of ascetics, that there, before settling down, before conversing, and before entering upon discussion, whatever their appearance was, my appearance would become, whatever their voice was, my voice would become, and I instructed, roused, enthused, and cheered them with a talk about the Teaching, and while I was speaking they did not know me (and would ask): ‘Who is this speaking, a Divinity or a man?’ and having instructed, roused, enthused, and cheered them with a talk about the Teaching, I disappeared. And when I had disappeared they did not know me (and would ask): ‘Who is this who disappeared, a Divinity or a man?’

  5. I know, Ānanda, that after approaching countless hundreds of assemblies of the Four Great Kings, that there, before settling down, before conversing, and before entering upon discussion, whatever their appearance was, my appearance would become, whatever their voice was, my voice would become, and I instructed, roused, enthused, and cheered them with a talk about the Teaching, and while I was speaking they did not know me (and would ask): ‘Who is this speaking, a Divinity or a man?’ and having instructed, roused, enthused, and cheered them with a talk about the Teaching, I disappeared. And when I had disappeared they did not know me (and would ask): ‘Who is this who disappeared, a Divinity or a man?’

  6. I know, Ānanda, that after approaching countless hundreds of assemblies of the Tāvatiṁsa (Divinities), that there, before settling down, before conversing, and before entering upon discussion, whatever their appearance was, my appearance would become, whatever their voice was, my voice would become, and I instructed, roused, enthused, and cheered them with a talk about the Teaching, and while I was speaking they did not know me (and would ask): ‘Who is this speaking, a Divinity or a man?’ and having instructed, roused, enthused, and cheered them with a talk about the Teaching, I disappeared. And when I had disappeared they did not know me (and would ask): ‘Who is this who disappeared, a Divinity or a man?’

  7. I know, Ānanda, that after approaching countless hundreds of assemblies of Māra, that there, before settling down, before conversing, and before entering upon discussion, whatever their appearance was, my appearance would become, whatever their voice was, my voice would become, and I instructed, roused, enthused, and cheered them with a talk about the Teaching, and while I was speaking they did not know me (and would ask): ‘Who is this speaking, a Divinity or a man?’ and having instructed, roused, enthused, and cheered them with a talk about the Teaching, I disappeared. And when I had disappeared they did not know me (and would ask): ‘Who is this who disappeared, a Divinity or a man?’

  8. I know, Ānanda, that after approaching countless hundreds of assemblies of the Brahmā Divinities, that there, before settling down, before conversing, and before entering upon discussion, whatever their appearance was, my appearance would become, whatever their voice was, my voice would become, and I instructed, roused, enthused, and cheered them with a talk about the Teaching, and while I was speaking they did not know me (and would ask): ‘Who is this speaking, a Divinity or a man?’ and having instructed, roused, enthused, and cheered them with a talk about the Teaching, I disappeared. And when I had disappeared they did not know me (and would ask): ‘Who is this who disappeared, a Divinity or a man?’

These, Ānanda, are the eight assemblies.