When You Fear, You Should Recollect the Buddha or Dhamma or Saṅgha

Photo by Picography from Pexels

At Savatthī. There the Blessed One addressed the bhikkhus thus: “Bhikkhus!”

“Venerable sir!” those bhikkhus replied. The Blessed One said this:

“Bhikkhus, once in the past the devas and the asuras were arrayed for battle. Then Sakka, lord of the devas, addressed the Tavatiṃsa devas thus: ‘Dear sirs, when the devas are engaged in battle, if fear or trepidation or terror should arise, on that occasion you should look up at the crest of my standard. For when you look up at the crest of my standard, whatever fear or trepidation or terror you may have will be abandoned.

“‘If you cannot look up at the crest of my standard, then you should look up at the crest of the deva-king Pajapati’s standard. For when you look up at the crest of his standard, whatever fear or trepidation or terror you may have will be abandoned.

“‘If you cannot look up at the crest of the deva-king Pajapati’s standard, then you should look up at the crest of the deva-king Varuṇa’s standard…. If you cannot look up at the crest of the deva-king Varuṇa’s standard, then you should look up at the crest of the deva-king Isana’s standard…. For when you look up at the crest of his standard, whatever fear or trepidation or terror you may have will be abandoned.’

“Bhikkhus, for those who look up at the crest of the standard of Sakka, lord of the devas; or of Pajapati, the deva-king; or of Varuṇa, the deva-king; or of Isana, the deva-king, whatever fear or trepidation or terror they may have may or may not be abandoned. For what reason? Because Sakka, lord of the devas, is not devoid of lust, not devoid of hatred, not devoid of delusion; he can be timid, petrified, frightened, quick to flee.

“But, bhikkhus, I say this: If you have gone to a forest or to the foot of a tree or to an empty hut, and fear or trepidation or terror should arise in you, on that occasion you should recollect me thus: ‘The Blessed One is an arahant, perfectly enlightened, accomplished in true knowledge and conduct, fortunate, knower of the world, unsurpassed leader of persons to be tamed, teacher of devas and humans, the Enlightened One, the Blessed One.’ For when you recollect me, bhikkhus, whatever fear or trepidation or terror you may have will be abandoned.

“If you cannot recollect me, then you should recollect the Dhamma thus: ‘The Dhamma is well expounded by the Blessed One, directly visible, immediate, inviting one to come and see, applicable, to be personally experienced by the wise.’ For when you recollect the Dhamma, bhikkhus, whatever fear or trepidation or terror you may have will be abandoned.

“If you cannot recollect the Dhamma, then you should recollect the Saṅgha thus: ‘The Saṅgha of the Blessed One’s disciples is practising the good way, practising the straight way, practising the true way, practising the proper way; that is, the four pairs of persons, the eight types of individuals—this Saṅgha of the Blessed One’s disciples is worthy of gifts, worthy of hospitality, worthy of offerings, worthy of reverential salutation, the unsurpassed field of merit for the world.’ For when you recollect the Saṅgha, bhikkhus, whatever fear or trepidation or terror you may have will be abandoned.

“For what reason? Because, bhikkhus, the Tathagata, the Arahant, the Perfectly Enlightened One is devoid of lust, devoid of hatred, devoid of delusion; he is brave, courageous, bold, ready to stand his place.”

This is what the Blessed One said. Having said this, the Fortunate One, the Teacher, further said this:

In a forest, at the foot of a tree,
Or in an empty hut, O bhikkhus,
You should recollect the Buddha:
No fear will then arise in you.

“But if you cannot recall the Buddha,
Best in the world, the bull of men,
Then you should recall the Dhamma,
Emancipating, well expounded.

“But if you cannot recall the Dhamma,
Emancipating, well expounded,
Then you should recall the Saṅgha,
The unsurpassed field of merit.

“For those who thus recall the Buddha,
The Dhamma, and the Saṅgha, bhikkhus,
No fear or trepidation will arise,
Nor any grisly terror.

Source: https://suttacentral.net/sn11.3 Dhajagga Sutta SN 11.3  SN i 472

Leave a Reply