Samyukta Āgama (2) 35
Sakka Saṃyutta The Names of Sakka
Thus have I heard, once, the Buddha was staying at Sāvatthī in the Jeta Grove, Anāthapiṇḍika’s Park.
At that time there was a monk who approached, paid homage at his feet, stood to one side and said to the Buddha: “World-honored One, where does the name ‘Sakka’ come from? What are the characteristics of Sakka?”
The Buddha told the monk: “Originally, when Sakka was still a human being, he generously made offerings, led a pure life, and his mind was faithful. With a faithful mind he made offerings to the poor, renunciants, brāhmaṇas, and so on. When he made offerings, he offered drinks and refreshments, all kinds of hard and soft food, all kinds of garlands, all kinds of fragrance, incense, perfume, riches, and bedding. For this reason the gods called him Sakka.”
Again the monk addressed the Buddha: “Why is Sakka called ‘Purindada’?”
The Buddha told the monk: “When Sakka, in former times, was born as a human being, he untiringly made offerings. Again and again he made offerings, therefore the gods called him by the name ‘Purindada’ He who gives repeatedly.”
Again the monk addressed the Buddha: “And for what reason is Sakka also called ‘Maghavā’?”.
The Buddha told the monk: “Sakka was originally a brāhmaṇa called ‘Maghavā.’”
Again the monk asked: “For what reason is he called ‘Vāsava’?”
The Buddha said: “Because again and again he offered clothes to renunciants and brāhmaṇas. For that reason he was called ‘Vāsava’ the Clother.”
Again the monk asked: “For what reason is he called ‘Kosiya’?”
The Buddha said: “Because originally when Sakka was a human being, his clan-name was “Kosiya.” Therefore he is called ‘Kosiya.’”
“And why is he called ‘Sujampati’?”
The Buddha told the monk: “Sakka married Sujā the daughter of the asura king Vepacitti. Therefore he is known as ‘Sujampati’ Sujā’s husband.”
“And why is he called ‘Thousand-Eyed’?”
The Buddha told the monk: “When Sakka was a human being, he was extremely intelligent. When he had to make decisions, he could decide a thousand things in a short time. For that reason he is called ‘Thousand Eyed.’”
“And why is he called ‘Indra’?”
The Buddha told the monk: “Sakka holds the position of king of gods, he is in charge of their affairs. Therefore he is called ‘Indra.’”
At that time the World-honored One said to the monk: “He was able to fulfill the seven duties mentioned above. Because of that, the other gods call him ‘Sakka.’”
When the Buddha had finished, the monks, having listened to what he had said, were happy and remembered it well.