SuttaCentral

Deities never sat near the Buddha?


#1

When a devatā approached the Buddha always stand aside, they do not sit down aside like other people.

Devatā:
bhagavantaṃ abhivādetvā ekamantaṃ aṭṭhāsi. Ekamantaṃ ṭhitā kho sā devatā bhagavantaṃ etadavoca
Went up to the Buddha, bowed, stood to one side, and said to him (Ven. Sujato).
Having approached, he paid homage to the Blessed One, stood to one side, and said to him (Ven. Bodhi) (SN 1.1)

Each sutta in Devatāsaṃyutta share the same.
Devatāsaṃyutta

Others:
Atha kho suppavāsā koliyadhītā bhagavantaṃ bhuttāviṃ onītapattapāṇiṃ ekamantaṃ nisīdi. Ekamantaṃ nisinnaṃ kho suppavāsaṃ koliyadhītaraṃ bhagavā etadavoca
When the Buddha had eaten and washed his hand and bowl, she sat down to one side.
The Buddha said to her AN 4.57

Then a certain cowherd went to the Gracious One, and after going and worshipping the Gracious One, he sat down on one side. While sitting on one side the Gracious One instructed, roused, enthused, and cheered that cowherd with a Dhamma talk (Ud 4.3)

What may be the reason that deities never sat near the Buddha?


#2

Maybe, because their bodies are more subtle, they don’t feel the need to sit down to rest the body like we do, with our coarser, more uncomfortable bodies.


#3

Some devas may have a hard enough time just standing before the Buddha:

On one occasion the Blessed One was dwelling at Sāvatthī in Jeta’s Grove, Anāthapiṇḍika’s Park. Then, when the night had advanced, the young deva Hatthaka, illuminating the entire Jeta’s Grove, approached the Blessed One. Having approached, [while thinking:] “I will stand in front of the Blessed One”, he sank down, descended, and could not remain in place. Just as ghee or oil, when poured on sand, sinks down, descends, and does not remain in place, so the young deva Hatthaka, [while thinking:] “I will stand in front of the Blessed One”, sank down, descended, and could not remain in place.

Then the Blessed One said to Hatthaka: “Create a gross body, Hatthaka.”

“Yes, Bhante”, Hatthaka replied. Then he created a gross body, paid homage to the Blessed One, and stood to one side. (AN 3.127)

:grinning:


#4

That was my first thought as well…

This passage always makes me laugh, one can really picture the scene and the embarrassment of the light being :smile:

I love the suttas for these small details like this, they make them so authentic.


#5

According to the Khp. and Sn. commentaries to the Maṅgalasutta it’s (inter alia) because devas can’t stand the smell of humans and standing allows them to get away more quickly.

Stood to one side: When he stood to one side, how did he stand?

Not behind, not in front, not too close or too far;
not in a ditch or against the wind, neither below nor above.
Having avoided these faults, he stood to one side.

But why did he just stand and not sit down? Because of a wish to return quickly. For when deities come to the human world for a particular reason, they do so like a clean person coming to a latrine. They are naturally repelled by the human world, which is foul-smelling to them even from a hundred yojanas; they do not enjoy it. Hence he did not sit down because he wished to return as soon as he finished the task for which he came. Also, people sit down to dispel their fatigue from walking, but the devas do not have such fatigue; for this reason, too, he did not sit down. Also, he esteemed the great disciples who were standing around the Blessed One; for this reason, too, he did not sit down. Further, he did not sit down simply out of respect for the Blessed One. For when deities wish to sit down, a seat is produced; since he did not wish for one, he did not even think of sitting but stood to one side.
(tr. Bhikkhu Bodhi)


#6

The sutta indicates the problem was not their subtle body that made them not to sit. Because this deva also tried to stand not to sit. No matter they are going to sit or sand they sink the problem remains the same.
There may be some other reason not to sit!


#7

Thank you so much Bhante for the information. This sonds reasonable.


#8

Actually the devas can’t stand the smell like rotting flesh of this world .
I abstained from meats for about seven years , each time if stand near some stalls I would throw up .