The Rich Made Offerings, the Heavenly King
Offered Alms Bowl.
After the path to enlightenment was completed, Buddha
sat alone under the Bodhi tree for forty-nine days, rejoicing
at finding the way to liberation from suffering. Two wealthy
merchants passed by and so impressed by the sublimities
of the Buddha that they offered the Buddha honey milk.
The Four Heavenly Kings (5) took an alms bowl from the
dragon’s palace and turned one into four, and used them
to hold offerings for Buddha. When the offering was over,
the four bowls turned into one again and became the alms
bowl of Buddha in which offerings by human and heaven
realms would be placed.
(5)The titles of the four deva-kings are: The Eastern
Deva ,keeper of kingdom; the Southern Deva, of increase
and growth; the Western Deva who are Broad-Eyed; and the
Northern Deva who hears much and is well-versed. They
are external generals of King Indra, the mighty Lord of
Devas. Half way up the Sumeru Mountain lays the Gandhara
Mountain. The mountain has four sides each housing the
domain of one Deva King who protects one world in each
direction. Hence, the four deva-kings are also known as
Guardians of the Worlds. They reside in the atur-maharaja-kayikas,
or the four heavens of the four deva-kings, the first
tier in the Desire Realm, the beginning of Celestial Realm.
Thirty-Two lmages in a Glance