For @brahmali, I’m translating DN 21 and would like to add this:
###DN 21 Sakkapañha
The sutta is an unusual combination of elaborate fantasy and basic doctrine. It was evidently popular, as shown by the significant number of parallels. Nevertheless, the background narrative is probably late, and the doctrinal material is largely adopted from elsewhere.
- Intertextual borrowing: Much of the doctrinal passage is shared with MN 114. Normally Sakka addresses the Buddha with mārisa. During this passage, however, he shifts with no apparent cause to bhante and then back to mārisa. This is a copy-paste error: text was lifted directly from MN 114, where bhante is used throughout.
- Narrative plausibility: While the conceit of using a love song to get the Buddha’s attention is a charming one, the fact that Sakka felt he had to resort to this because Buddha’s are hard to approach does not agree with the rest of the suttas, where gods including Sakka approach the Buddha easily.
- Belabored form: Evidently striving for prestige, the text uses unusual and heavy-handed formulas for straightforward exposition, such as the repeated interludes stating Sakka’s response to the Buddha’s questions.
- Unnecessary magic: When the gods appear, not only does their light shed over the whole region, they magically cause the cave to become smooth and spacious. (This is, of course, an etiological myth to explain the appearance of the sacred cave.)
- Immediate rebirth: The text claims that when two gods gained mindfulness they were immediately reborn in a higher realm. No other text supports this possibility.
- Gendered rebirth: While the story of Gopaka stops short of explicitly saying that male rebirth is better than female, this is clearly implied. Such a notion, however, is found nowhere else in the EBTs.