Forever Young

Post sayings and stories you find interesting or useful.
Post Reply
User avatar
Posts: 1532
Joined: Fri Mar 09, 2012 3:23 pm

Forever Young

Post by yawares » Fri May 18, 2012 10:30 am

Dear members,

Have you ever read the story about Maha-Brahma superdeva named "Sanankumara"?


Sanankumara: Forever Young [" onclick=";return false;]

A Maha Brahma-deva. In the Nikayas he is mentioned as the author of a famous verse, there quoted:
Khattiyo settho jane tasmim ye gottapatisarino Vijjacaranasampanno so settho devamanuse.

In one place the verse is attributed to the Buddha, thus endowing it with the authoritativeness of a pronouncement by the Buddha himself. Sanankumara is represented as a very devout follower of the Buddha.

In a sutta of the Samyutta, he is spoken of as visiting the Buddha on the banks of the Sappini, and it was during this visit that the above verse was spoken. Sanankumara was present at the preaching of the Mahasamaya Sutta.

In the Janavasabha Sutta, Janavasabha describes to the Buddha an occasion on which Sanankumara attended an assembly of the Devas, presided over by Sakka and the Four Regent Gods. There was suddenly a vast radiance, and the devas knew of the approach of Sanankumara. As the usual appearance of the Brahma is not sufficiently materialized for him to be perceived by the Devas of Tavatimsa, he is forced to appear as a relatively gross personality which he specially creates. As he arrives, the Devas sit in their places with clasped hands waiting for him to choose his seat. Then Sanankumara takes on the form of Pancasikha (because all devas like Pancasikha, says the Commentary, DA.ii.640) and sits, above the assembly, cross legged, in the air. So seated, he expresses his satisfaction that Sakka and all the Tavatimsa Devas should honour and follow the Buddha. His voice has all the eight characteristics of a Brahmas voice. (These are given at D.ii.211). He then proceeds to create thirty three shaper, of himself, each sitting on the divan of a Tavatimsa Deva, and addresses the Devas, speaking of the advantages of taking refuge in the Buddha, the Dhamma and the Sangha.

Each deva fancies that only the shape sitting on his own divan has spoken and that the others are silent. Then Sanankumara goes to the end of the Hall, and, seated on Sakkas throne, addresses the whole assembly on the four ways of iddhi; on the three avenues leading to Bliss, as manifested by the Buddha; on the four satipatthanas, and the seven samadhiparikkhara. He declares that more than twenty four lakhs of Magadha disciples, having followed the teachings of the Buddha, have been born in the deva worlds. When Sanankumara has finished his address, Vessavana wonders if there have been Buddhas in the past and will be in the future. The Brahma reads his thoughts and says there certainly were and will be.

Sanankumara means forever young. Buddhaghosa says that, in his former birth, he practised jhanas while yet a boy with his hair tied in five knots (pancaculakakumarakale), and was reborn in the Brahma world with the thana intact.

Love Buddha's dhamma,
yawares/sirikanya :heart:

User avatar
Posts: 15326
Joined: Sat Jan 10, 2009 7:37 am
Location: New Zealand

Re: Forever Young

Post by mikenz66 » Fri May 18, 2012 9:20 pm

Thanks Yawares,

Some of the suttas involving Sanaṅkumāra may be found on line.
Here is Digha Nikaya 18:" onclick=";return false; where the events in Tavatimsa are described.

And here is SN 6.11 ... ggo-e.html" onclick=";return false;

Here is Bhikkhu Bodhi's translation:
SN 6.11 Sanaṅkumāra

Thus have I heard. On one occasion the Blessed One was dwelling at Rājagaha on the bank of the river Sappinī. Then, when the night had advanced, Brahmā Sanaṅkumāra, of stunning beauty, illuminating the entire bank of the river Sappinī, approached the Blessed One, paid homage to him, and stood to one side. (*) Standing to one side, he recited this verse in the presence of the Blessed One:

“The khattiya is the best among people
For those whose standard is the clan,
But one accomplished in knowledge and conduct
Is best among devas and humans.”

This is what Brahmā Sanaṅkumāra said. The Teacher approved. Then Brahmā Sanaṅkumāra, thinking, “The Teacher has approved of me,” paid homage to the Blessed One and, keeping him on his right, he disappeared right there.

Spk: When he was the youth Pañcasikha he developed jhāna and was reborn in the brahmā world. Because he retained the appearance of a youth they knew him as Kumāra, but because of his great age he was called Sanaṅkumāra, “Forever Youthful.” He makes a dramatic appearance at DN II 210-19 [DN 18]. At MN I 358,28-29 [MN 53] Ānanda utters the verse after he has given a detailed analysis of the two terms knowledge (vijjā) and conduct (caraṇa).
See the translation of MN 53: ... .than.html" onclick=";return false;

User avatar
Posts: 1532
Joined: Fri Mar 09, 2012 3:23 pm

Re: Forever Young

Post by yawares » Sat May 19, 2012 11:50 am

Dear Mike,

Thank you very much for your comment and more interesting stories about Sanankumara. :candle:


Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 5 guests