DN19.6.4. Informing King Reṇu

Maha-Govinda Sutta ("The Great Steward")

So the Great Steward went to King Reṇu and said, “Sir, please now find another high priest to manage the affairs of state for you. I wish to go forth from the lay life to homelessness. As I understand what Brahmā says about the stench of decay, it’s not easy to quell while living at home. I shall go forth from the lay life to homelessness.

I announce to King Reṇu,
the lord of the land:
you must learn how to rule,
for I no longer care for my ministry.”

“If you’re lacking any pleasures,
I’ll supply them for you.
I’ll protect you from any harm,
for I command the nation’s army.
You are my father, I am your son!
O Steward, please don’t leave!”

“I’m lacking no pleasures,
and no-one is harming me.
I’ve heard a non-human voice,
so I no longer care for lay life.”

“What was that non-human like?
What did he say to you,
hearing which you would abandon
our house and all our people?”

“Before entering this retreat,
I only liked to sacrifice.
I kindled the sacred flame,
strewn about with kusa grass.

But then Brahmā appeared to me,
the Eternal Youth from the Brahmā realm.
He answered my question,
hearing which I no longer care for lay life.”

“I have faith, O Steward,
in that of which you speak.
Having heard a non-human voice,
what else could you do?

We will follow your example,
Steward, be my Teacher!
Like a gem of beryl—
flawless, immaculate, beautiful—
that’s how pure we shall live,
in the Steward’s dispensation.

If the Steward is going forth from the lay life to homelessness, we shall do so too. Your destiny shall be ours.”

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