SuttaCentral

Characterization in the Suttas

From AN 8.54:

Sir, we are laypeople who enjoy sensual pleasures and living at home with our children. We use sandalwood imported from Kāsi, we wear garlands, perfumes, and makeup, and we accept gold and money.
May the Buddha please teach us the Dhamma in a way that leads to our welfare and happiness in this life and in future lives.”

It’s funny. When I first started reading the suttas all I could see was the repetition. But once you get used to that, there are these wonderful passages that evoke the scene and the characters so well, and with such brevity.

What are your favorite passages for these great characterizations?

4 Likes

This one always makes me laugh:
AN 3.127

Then, late at night, the glorious god Hatthaka, lighting up the entire Jeta’s Grove, went up to the Buddha. Thinking, “I will stand before the Buddha,” he sank and melted down, and wasn’t able to stay still. It’s like when ghee or oil is poured on sand, it sinks and melts down, and can’t remain stable.

Then the Buddha said to Hatthaka, “Hatthaka, manifest in a solid life-form.

Yes, sir,” replied Hatthaka. He manifested in a solid life-form, bowed to the Buddha, and stood to one side.”

3 Likes

Thank you, @Yasoj! That’s brilliant! :rofl:

Not much has changed !!:joy:

1 Like