The Nāga Lord is near, he’s very near…

2: Muccalinda

2.1 Muccalinda (11) (Muccalinda Sutta)

Thus has it been made known. At one time the Blessed One was contemplating near Uruvelā, on the bank of the river Nerañjarā which nearby stood the Muccalinda Tree, when he arose from his Deep Samadhis at the end of seven days having thus newly realizing Enlightenment.

Thereupon there arose an-out-of-season storm with driving winds and rain accompanied by an uncanny darkness surrounding it all like a shroud. Alerted to the gravity of the conditions and the harm it could inflict upon the Blessed One, the Noble Nāga Lord Muccalinda emerged from his dark-lair and encircled the blessed-One’s body seven-times-round with his coils, thus sheltering him from the elements and encroaching vermin. Spreading-wide his majestic-frame high-above the head of the Blessed One, the Nāga Lord spoke to himself thusly: “Let-not the raging storm nor the touch of creepy things like gadflies, mosquitos, worms and other indecencies disturb the Dharma-Lords reverie.”  

With the passage of seven-days the storm subsided as the Blessed One arose from his quietude. Soon afterwards, Muccalinda the Nāga Lord withdrew his folds from the Blessed One’s frame and then miraculously took-upon himself the image of a young man, bowing and venerating the Dharma Lord as he did so. 

Realizing the salient-nature of this incidence, the Blessed One uttered the following solemn verse:

Blissfully content is the one who arises from deep solitude,
Who has heard the Dhamma and who sees;
Blissfulness is the prize of one who moves-away from the world,
Who has proper restraint for all creatures;
Blissful is one’s dispassion for all worldly dispositions,
With overcoming the passion of the lustful mind;
But best of all is the subjugation of the conceit, “I AM”
That indeed is the ultimate bliss.

Muccalinda (Mucalinda): The self-same name of the tree and Nāga Lord who took up residence there and whose other residence was in Mucilinda lake, which is located just south of the present-day site of the Mahābodhi temple at Bodhgayā. (Buswell)

The number seven: the number seven occurs three times in this sutta. The time spent in contemplation by the Blessed One; Muccalinda wrapping his frame seven-times round the Buddha; and the length of time it took for the storm to subside. The number seven is a highly spiritually-charged number that is often associated with intuition, mysticism, and a deep inward gnosis. In this instance with the Nāga Lord coiling himself seven-times indicates that a most auspicious event was taking place—divine protection accompanied with an inner mystic-vapor that permeated the Blessed-One’s being, later giving birth to his sublime utterance of the Supreme Bliss that is the outcome of such a propitious encounter.

A previous blog also best illustrates the sublime nature of this highly spiritually-charged affair:

In that one auspicious event when Muccalinda the Nāga King sheltered the Blessed One from the elements, thus sparing him any discomfort from his deep samādhis, the Nāgas became the official protectors of the Buddhadharma. The Blessed One paid him great homage for his meritorious act in verse when he highlighted the importance of solitude and dispassion from all the wriggling and annoying things of samsara. Thus, when one is engaged in solitude with one-pointedness of Mind, one ought to bear in mind in spiritual fashion that Muccalinda the Nāga King is very near at hand to offer protection from the diverse elements that prevents one from growing spiritually in the [Unborn]—wherein even the conceited “I am” is subdued by Muccalinda’s coils—ah, the sheer bliss!

2.2 Kings (12) (Rājā Sutta)

Thus has it been made known. At one time the Blessed One was residing near Sāvatthī, at the Jeta Grove in Anāthapiṇḍika’s Park. Stationed there was a large assembly of monks who, after eating their meal, began a lively discussion.

“Fellow venerable ones, which of these two kings has amassed the greater wealth, the greater possessions, the superior realm, the greater livestock, the greater army and power, and thus the greater majesty: The Magadhan King Seniya Bimbisāra, or the Kosalan King Pasenadi?” This topic of conversation went on incessantly with no resolution in sight.

Meanwhile, the Blessed One, upon arising from his solitude in the early evening went into the assembly hall and sat down amongst his disciples. He inquired, “What was your topic of conversation which lead to such consternation?”

One of the disciples replied, “After our meal, Lord, we engaged in conversation concerning two kings: The Magadhan King Seniya Bimbisāra, and the Kosalan King Pasenadi. We were trying to arrive at a consensus upon which of them acquired the most wealth, the greater possessions, the superior realm, the greater livestock, the greater army and power, and thus the greater majesty. This, then, O’ Lord, was our topic of conversation before you arrived.”

“Monks, it isn’t proper for such an assembly of those who have gone forth from the household to the homeless state, having left all behind, to engage in such topics of conversation. Rather, the Right Decorum is to discuss matters pertaining only to the Dhamma, or else maintain the Noble Ariyan Silence.

Thereupon, the Blessed One, upon realizing the great significance of his avowal, gave utterance to the following verse:

Whatever bliss that may be found on earth or in the heavens,
None of it is worth a sixteenth part of
The Ultimate Bliss that may be found in yearning’s demise.

Bimbisāra, Seniya: King of Magadha at the time of the Buddha. He had ruled for fifteen years when Gautāma, at the age of 30, passed through his capital on his quest for enlightenment. Thereafter the two had a long and cordial relationship, and after hearing the Buddha preach, Bimbisāra gained the stage of srotāpanna (stream-enterer). He became a patron of the Buddhist saṅgha and donated a park for the use of monks. (Encyclopedia.com)

Bimbisāra met a tragic death at the hands of his son AJĀTAŚATRU (P. Ajātasattu). Even as his son was conceived, according to some accounts, astrologers had predicted that the unborn child would kill his father and recommended to the king that the fetus be aborted. The king would not hear of it and instead showered affection on his son throughout his childhood. Ajātaśatru was persuaded to murder his father by DEVADATTA, the Buddha’s evil cousin, who saw Bimbisāra’s continued patronage of the Buddha as the chief obstacle to his ambition to become leader of the saṃgha himself. According to some reports, it was only upon the birth of his own son that he realized the paternal love that his father had had for him. According to the Pāli account, Bimbisāra was reborn as a yakkha (YAKṢA) named Janavasabha and is said to have visited the Buddha in that form.

Buswell  Jr., Robert E.; Donald S., Jr. Lopez. The Princeton Dictionary of Buddhism (Kindle Locations 9794-9801). Princeton University Press. Kindle Edition.

Prasenajit. (P. Pasenadi; T. Gsal rgyal; C. Bosini wang; J. Hashinoku ō; K. Pasanik wang ). In Sanskrit, the proper name of the king of the region of KOŚALA during the time of GAUTAMA or ŚĀKYAMUNI Buddha. Prasenajit’s capital was the city of ŚRĀVASTĪ, where the Buddha delivered many of his sermons. During his reign, Kośala was one of the two most powerful kingdoms in the Indian subcontinent, along with MAGADHA, and seems to have exerted political control over the neighboring ŚĀKYA kingdom, where the Buddha was born. According to the tradition, Prasenajit was born in the same year as the Buddha. Because of his dedication to the propagation, protection, and preservation of the Buddhist order (SAṂGHA), Prasenajit is often used as an example of Buddhist notions of proper kingship.

Buswell  Jr., Robert E.; Donald S., Jr. Lopez. The Princeton Dictionary of Buddhism (Kindle Locations 50190-50200). Princeton University Press. Kindle Edition.

The Buddha wasted no words in clearly defining his disapproval that the sangha be engaged in topics of political (or all other earthly matters). I chose Woodward’s translation of Ariyan Silence since it best delineates the *Noble Order that is distinct from all common fare (puthujjana). My Dhammapada in Light of the Unborn declares, Solitary Fortitude is the best companion if like-minded Resilient Ones are absent. This also includes members of the sangha whose discipline is in ill-decline. As scripture says, “For we hear that some among you are leading an undisciplined life, doing no work at all, but acting like busybodies.” (2 Thessalonians 3:11)

*From Buddhism’s Highest Revelation: And what O’ monks is the disembodiment of Unity fulfillment?  To separate from worldly darkness (waning), to separate from the worldly partaking of attachments in this life, to separate from the worldly plurality in the endless desirous faring on O’ this world. This O’ monks, is called Disembodiment of Unity Fulfillment.

And what O’ monks is the way of recollective-conjoining of Unity Fulfillment: O’ Monks, in this world the monk that has extricated himself in proper guiding from both desirous covetousness and dejection of this world, and has possessed himself of vigilant unity in becoming in burning meditativeness of Recollective Conjoining of the Origin, he so extricates himself by Wisdom’s blazing vigorousness of intent beholding what is the body and what is antecedent in origin before the bodies arising. (Ven. Shakya Aryanatta, 2001)

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