SuttaCentral

Sakka addressed the fairy Pañcasikha


#1

In DN21, Sakka mentions in passing:

…it’s hard for one like me to get near the Realized Ones while they are on retreat practicing absorption…

At first reading I thought Sakka might simply have been polite. Yet it occurred to me recently that Sakka might literally not been able to approach the Buddha himself. I was led to that hypothesis by noticing the abodes of sentient beings listed in DN33:

Nine abodes of sentient beings. There are sentient beings that are diverse in body and diverse in perception, such as human beings, some gods, and some beings in the underworld. This is the first abode of sentient beings.
There are sentient beings that are diverse in body and unified in perception, such as the gods reborn in Brahmā’s Host through the first absorption. This is the second abode of sentient beings.
There are sentient beings that are unified in body and diverse in perception, such as the gods of streaming radiance. This is the third abode of sentient beings.
There are sentient beings that are unified in body and unified in perception, such as the gods replete with glory. This is the fourth abode of sentient beings.
There are sentient beings that are non-percipient and do not experience anything, such as the gods who are non-percipient beings. This is the fifth abode of sentient beings.

Gods, as beings of pure form (e.g., Earth), presumably are restricted to the form realms that comprise the first five abodes of sentient beings. Therefore Sakka would literally not have been able to contact anybody in the formless realms such as monks deep in meditation. To do so, Sakka would have to relinquish form and thereby cease being…Sakka.

Thoughts?


#2

It’s not mentioned whether he could. But some brahmas are said to be able to make their body coarse. In one curious incident the Brahma was started sinking into the ground, and the Buddha informs him that he should make his body coarser. In this case however there is hierarchy and the senior devas, usually the ones with more wholesome kamma, gets to be closer in the crowd.

Beings born in the immaterial realms cannot be instructed by anyone in a form realm.


#3

Confirmed:
“The immaterial brahmas of the four highest planes have no material bodies whatsoever. They consist entirely of mind. They attained this kind of birth by achieving and maintaining the immaterial jhanas, four kinds of absorption taking non-material objects, and it is this kamma that became operative at their death. These brahmas can have no contact with the human or deva planes, for they have no physical bodies”—“Teacher of the Devas”, Jootla


#4

Thank you for this wonderful reference. I found her essay quite extensive, informative and readable.

:pray: :pray: :pray: