|The Buddha high atop pyramid, pagoda, and pedestal (Linc060/flickr.com)|
|Dispelling fear (Mikecogh/flickr)|
|Sakka can adopt any form (ChristyB30/flickr)|
"What is the reason for this?
- [That is to say, Sakka may be a "god," an archangel, a stream enterer, and a being with a great deal of merit and glory, but he is nevertheless not enlightened, not accomplished, not an arhat.]
|Banner, Wat Doi Suthep (ChristyB30/flickr)|
"'Such indeed is the Blessed One, arhat (a consummate one), supremely enlightened, endowed with wisdom and virtue, a welcome being, knower of worlds, peerless trainer of persons, teacher of devas and humans, the Buddha (Enlightened One), the Blessed One.'
"Meditators, if you think of me, any fear, terror, or hair standing on end that may arise in you will pass away.
"If you fail to think of me then think of the Dharma (Teaching) in this way: 'Well expounded is the Dharma by the Blessed One, a Dharma to be realized for oneself which gives immediate (timeless) results, a Dharma which invites investigation and leads up to nirvana (freedom from all suffering), a Dharma to be understood by the wise each for oneself.'
"Meditators, if you think of the Dharma, any fear, terror, or hair standing on end that may arise in you will pass away.
|Devas over the Buddha (a1eatoire/flickr)|
"'Of good conduct (practicing correctly) is the Order of Disciples of the Blessed One, of upright conduct is the Order of Disciples of the Blessed One, of wise conduct is the Order of Disciples of the Blessed One, of dutiful conduct is the Order of Disciples of the Blessed One.
"'This Order of Disciples of the Blessed One -- namely those four pairs of persons [Note 1], the eight kinds of individuals [Note 2], is worthy of offerings, is worthy of hospitality, is worthy of gifts, is worthy of reverential greetings, is an incomparable field of merit for the world.'
"Meditators, if you think of the Sangha, any fear, terror, or hair standing on end that may arise in you will pass away.
"What is the reason for this?
"The Tathagata [Buddha], O meditators, who is an arhat, supremely enlightened, IS free from lust, is free from hate, is free from delusion, and is (therefore) not liable to fear, terror, fright, or flight."
So said the Blessed One. Having spoken, the teacher, the Welcome One (Sugata), further said:
NOTE 1. The "four pairs of persons" = the four kinds of "noble" (arya) disciples who have attained the four paths-and-fruits (magga and phala) of enlightenment, namely: the "stream-enterer," "once-returner," "non-returner," and the arhat, the final stage when ALL fetters are severed and taints finally uprooted.
NOTE 2. The four pairs become eight when the paths and fruits are regarded separately. This is an interesting distinction because it strongly suggests that one may enter upon the "path" but not consummate it immediately, yet the fruition is guaranteed in that life. This is how the eight persons were regarded in the past. The American scholar-monk Bhikkhu Bodhi devotes a portion of his anthology, In the Buddha's Words, to explaining this distinction and providing textual support.