29. THE BUDDHA CONVERTING SACCAKA, THE ASCETIC, WHO CAME TO MATCH HIS DOCTRINE WITH THAT OF THE BUDDHA
There was in Vesali an ascetic called Saccaka, well-versed in a variety of dogmas and philosophies. He was a teacher of the princes. As he had humiliated many heretical teachers of the day, he was planning to defeat also the Blessed One in argument. He met the Venerable Assaji one day and came to know about the doctrine of the Blessed One. He therefore came to the Buddha in order to have a debate on the doctrine. A great crowd came to watch the results of the debate.
During the debate, the Blessed one said, "Matter or form is insubstantial (that is, there is no such thing as a creative soul)". The ascetic refuted it by saying "There is a creative soul". The Blessed One then said, "If there is a creative soul, why does it not create a beautiful form?" The hermit could not rebut it and sat quietly. The Buddha asked him for the second time and he still kept quiet. Now Sakka, lord of the gods, came and, assuming the form of a huge demon, threatened to strike him with his celestial weapon. When he was questioned for the third time he admitted that "matter or form is insubstantial".