Once there lived a "demon" (asura) who had a peculiar diet: He fed on the anger of others.
His feeding ground was the human world. And there was no lack of food for him. For he found it easy to provoke a family quarrel, or national even racial hatred. So to stir up a willingness for combatants to fight was not very difficult.
Reflecting on where best to feed, he chose Tavatimsa, the Space World of the 33 Devas, ruled by Sakka, King of the Devas. He knew that although they were far above petty and selfish quarrels, only a few of the beings there had entirely eliminated the fetters of ill-will and aversion.
"Oh, demon! How dare you sit on the throne of our ruler? What gall! What a crime! You should be cast headlong into the lowest hells, straight into a boiling cauldron! You should be quartered alive! Get out! Get out!"
While the devas grew angrier and angrier, the demon was delighted in his feast. Moment by moment gorging, he grew in size, in strength, in power. But the anger he absorbed into his system started to ooze as a smoky-red-glowing aura. This vexing mist kept the devas at a distance and dimmed their natural radiance.
Suddenly a bright glow appeared at the other end of the hall. It grew into a dazzling light from which the deva-king Sakka emerged.
While Sakka spoke these genuinely friendly words, the demon rapidly shrank and finally disappeared, trailing behind a whiff of malodorous smoke which likewise soon dissolved.
Anger-Eating Demon (original)
Wisdom Quarterly translation based on sacred-texts.com (Section 93, SN xi.3.2)
Thus have I heard. On one occasion the Buddha was staying in Savatthi at Jetavana monastery in Anathapindika's Park. There the Blessed One addressed the monastics:
"Bhikkhus!" "Bhagwan (lord)!" they replied. Then he told this tale:
"Once upon a time, O monastics, a certain sickly and decrepit demon took his seat on the throne of Sakka, the leader of the [Tavatimsa- and Catumaharajika- world] devas. The devas, O monastics, of the Suite of the Thirty-three [Tavatimsa spaceport] were angered, annoyed, and spoke indignantly:
" 'O wonderful! O marvellous! Here this sickly looking and decrepit demon has taken his seat on the throne of Sakka, the leader of the devas!"
Now, O monastics, as the devas of the Suite of the Thirty-three were angered, annoyed, and spoke indignantly, in that same proportion did the demon grow handsomer, better looking, and more pleasing.
Then, O monastics, the devas of the Suite of the Thirty-three drew close to Sakka, the leader of the devas. Having drawn near, they spoke to as follows:
"Sir, a sickly and decrepit demon has come here and taken his seat on your throne. And the devas of the Suite of the Thirty-three, sir, are angered, annoyed, and speak indignantly: 'O wonderful! O marvellous! Here this sickly and decrepit demon has taken his seat on the throne of Sakka, the leader of the devas.' And, sir, as the devas of the Suite of the Thirty-three are angered, annoyed, and speak indignantly, in that same proportion does the demon grow handsomer, better-looking, and more pleasing. Sir, surely now, it must be an anger-eating demon."
Then, O monastics, Sakka leader of the devas approached the anger-eating demon. He threw his upper garment over his shoulder and, planting his right knee on the ground, stretched out his joined palms to the demon, and three times announced himself:
"Sir, your obedient servant, Sakka, leader of the devas! Sir, your obedient servant, Sakka, leader of the devas! Sir, your obedient servant, Sakka, leader of the devas!"
The more, O monastics, Sakka leader of the devas, proclaimed his name, the more sickly and decrepit the demon became and soon disappeared. Then, O monastics, Sakka leader of the gods, resumed his seat and used the occasion to induce in the devas a more fitting frame of mind, by means of the following stanzas:
"My mind is not so easily cast down,
Nor does it lightly swerve from its own course;
And, O, long angry can I never be,
For anger finds no dwelling place in me.
"I never in anger utter harsh words,
And never proclaim my virtue's fame;
Instead myself I seek to keep subdued
In the interest of my future weal."