It’s been said that a lesson can be learned from every sutta. I’ve been reading the Udāna after mostly overlooking it. I believed that this collection, like much of Khuddaka Nikāya, was inessential; I was sorely mistaken.
I came across the Muccalinda Sutta (translations: Anandajoti / Ṭhānissaro / Ireland), and I was wondering how the community would interpret it, particularly the events leading up to the closing verse.
While the Buddha was in deep meditation, a strong out-of-season storm comes. Muccalinda, the naga king, appears and protects him. When the storm finally subsides, the naga king assumes the appearance of a young man. He pays homage to the Buddha, who replies with the following realization:
“There is happiness and detachment for the one who is satisfied,
who has heard the Dhamma, and who sees,
There is happiness for him who is free from ill-will in the world,
who is restrained towards breathing beings.
“The state of dispassion in the world is happiness,
the complete transcending of sense desires,
But for he who has removed the conceit ‘I am’—
this is indeed the highest happiness.”