[XII. Faith in Various Districts]

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[Majjhantika in Kasmīra-Gandhāra]
10-32 ≠ Mhv 9-28

Then in Kasmīra-Gandhāra, the Nāga King Āravāla, the one of great power, destroyed the ripe crops by making hail fall into the lake, Samudda normally means ocean or sea, but Kasmīra-Gandhāra was a long way away from the ocean, and the word can cover any large body of water, which is what is meant here.01 and all was violently upset.

The Elder Majjhantika went quickly through the air and walked up and down on the top of Āravāla’s lake, then he stopped and having sat down, he instantly lay down.

Seeing that, the angry young Nāgas informed the Nāga King, saying: “God-King! This solitary shaveling wearing his patchwork cloth Cf. 14.11 below.02 has lain down on this lake of water, and is walking up and down on it.”

Hearing their statement the Nāga King, of great power, came out from his dwelling and did various fearful things: great winds did blow, a cloud thundered and rained, thunderbolts crashed, lightning struck here and there, trees and the tops of the mountains all fell down, and deformed Nāgas caused fright on all sides.

He himself angrily fumed and burned in many ways, and he sent all the Nāgas, saying: “Go, seize and kill them.”

The Elder having repelled all those fearful things with his psychic power said this to the Nāga King, showing his supreme strength:

“If the world together with its gods were to try to frighten me they would not be able to give rise to fear and fright in me here. Even if you took up the whole earth with its oceans and mountains, Great Nāga, and were to throw them at me from on high, there is no possibility of giving rise to fear and fright in me. Assuredly, doing so is only for your own distress, Ruler of Snakes.”

Hearing that he was crushed, and the Elder taught the Dhamma, and the Nāga King was established in the Refuges and Precepts, and right there and then eighty-four thousand Serpents Another term for Nāgas.03 were also established in the Refuges and Precepts.

In the Himālaya many Gandhabbas, Yakkhas and Kumbhaṇḍakas were very quickly established in the Refuges and Precepts, but the Yakkha named Bhaṇḍaka, together with the Yakkhinī Hāritā, and their five-hundred children attained Path and Fruit.

Then the Elder Majjhantika said this to all the Nāgas: “Now do not get angry in the future as in the past, and do not destroy the crops, for breathing beings desire happiness. Develop loving-kindness towards people, and let humans live happily.”

Like this they were admonished and they followed the path. The Ruler of Snakes made the Elder sit down on a jewelled couch and stood near by fanning him. Then the humans residing in Kasmīra-Gandhāra who had come in order to worship the Nāga King, after discussing and worshipping the Elder of great power, sat down on one side.

The Elder taught them the Dhamma about the Simile of the Poisonous Snake. Probably SN 35. Sut. 238, although there are others that include a relevant simile. An appropriate simile for Nāgas to learn, there four poisonous snakes represent the four elements, which are subject to disintegration.04 For eighty thousand of them there was a penetration I.e. they attained Path and Fruit. Abhisamaya is the noun regularly used in this connection. Cf. passim.05 of the Dhamma, and one-hundred thousand men went forth I.e. ordained as monks. Technically pabbajjā is the lower ordination, which is normally followed by upasampadā. But here and elsewhere in this text it appears to be used as a shorthand to indicate both. It appears from this again, that Majjhantika must have been the leader, and was probably accompanied by at least four other monks, to make up the number required to give the higher ordination.06 in the presence of the Elder.

Since that time until now those in Kasmīra-Gandhāra are light up with the monastic robe, finding support in the three objects. The three objects of reverence, i.e. the Buddha, the Dhamma and the Sangha.07