Why did the asura king go to war with the
great Brahma Heaven Lord? The king of the asuras had a
beautiful daughter who became the reason he went to war
with the God Shakra. She was an exquisite young goddess,
and when Shakra laid eyes on her he went to the king of the
asuras to ask for her hand. The asura father consented. It
turned out, however, that the asura woman was extremely
jealous and selfish. Lord Shakra liked to listen tothe
Buddhadharma and would go regularly to hear the Dharma
Masters lecture on the Sutras. The asura woman noticed his
absence and became jealous. She thought, "Now that he's
married me, he doesn't love me anymore. I bet he's going
out and having an affair."
Possessed by such jealous thoughts, she secretly followed
Lord Shakra one day to find out where he went. When Shakra
entered the Dharma assembly and took a seat, his wife
observed that there were numerous women in the gathering.
This fired her jealousy even more, and with that she became
visible. When Shakra saw her he asked, "What are you doing
"You come here to get friendly with women and don't invite
me along!" she replied in a jealous fit.
Shakra slapped her face, and she began to cry and ran home
to the asura king to tell her tale. "Lord Shakra is
breaking the rules and always going out to find women," she
reported. "When I followed him, he hit me."
Of course, when the asura king heard that, he was outraged.
"We're going to war! We'll overthrow him and usurp the
throne!" He sent out the entire company ofasura soldiers
and generals to join battle against Shakra. Well, guess
what: the combined military might of Shakra, Brahma, and
the Four Heavenly Kings could not overcome the asura
troops. It was a stalemate. Finally Shakra had to go to the
Buddha to ask for help.
"What's to be done?" he said. "I can't beat these asuras."
Shakyamuni Buddha replied, "Go back and tell all your
officers and enlisted men to recite the phrase, 'Mahaprajnaparamita,'
[a Sanskrit phrase meaning "the perfection of great
wisdom"] and I guarantee that everything will turn out all
Shakra did as he was told, and the asuras gave up without
further fight. That's how Shakra finally won. But these
kinds of asuras are always fighting for position and
"Ananda, there is another, baser category of asuras. They
are born in the center of the great seas and live in
underwater caves. During the day they roam in emptiness; at
night they return to their watery realm. These asuras come
into being because of moisture and belong to the destiny of
Ananda, there is another, baser category of asuras. They are
born in the center of the great seas and live in underwater
caves. These asuras belong to the animal realm. Dragons and
the like are examples. They are born in the heart of the
ocean and take up residence in underwater caves. During the
day they roam in emptiness; at night they return to their
watery realm. In the morning, they go up into the air to
roam and play; in the evening they go back to dwell in
their underwater caves. These asuras come into being
because of moisture and belong to the destiny of animals.
"Ananda, so it is that when the seven destinies of
hell-dwellers, hungry ghosts, animals, people, spiritual
immortals, gods, and asuras are investigated in detail,
they are all found to be murky and embroiled in conditioned
existence. They are born from false thoughts. Their false
thoughts follow from their karma. Within the wonderful
perfection of the unconditioned, fundamental mind, they are
like flowers in space, for there is basically nothing to be
attached to; they are entirely vain and false, and they have
no source or beginning.
Ananda, so it is that when the seven destinies of
hell-dwellers, hungry ghosts,animals, people, spiritual
immortals, gods, and asuras are investigated in detail, they
are all found to be murky and embroiled in conditioned
existence. They all still have some form of appearance.
Where do these beings come from? They are born from false
thoughts. Their false thoughts follow their retribution of
karma, and lead them into their next rebirth.
wonderful perfection of the unconditioned, fundamental
mind, they are like flowers in space, for there is basi-
cally nothing to be attached to. The seven destinies are
like illusory flowers in emptiness; they are nothing to
cling to. They are entirely vain and false, and they have
no source or beginning.