Nosta wrote:I know that sometimes there are metaphors on sutras, sometimes things are just a way of meaning things, but starting a text like that sems that indeed there were devas, etc listening the Buddha.
Historically it was believed that all manner of non-corporeal beings could and did attend such teachings.
They still do. Many are benevolent and thus offerings are made in gratitude for their protection of the sangha. That bodhisattva icons are often flanked by guardians is an indication that even in the celestial realms there are hostile forces at work against the sangha and Buddhadharma.
Some scriptures even summon gods with the intent of protecting the country or summoning rain.Sūtra on Golden Light Brilliance
金光明經 (Skt. Suvarṇa Prabhāsōttama Sūtra
World Honored One! If someone should bring this sūtra to the lands possessed by a king, this king should go to this man and hear so profound a scripture as this. Having heard it there will be rejoicing. Further, he should care for and venerate this man. World Honored One! We Four Kings [deva kings] should also diligently guard this king and the peoples of his country, to prevent calamities and ensure peace.
The Mahāmegha Sūtra
大雲輪請雨經 has dhāraṇīs taught to the nāgas:
In future worlds should there be a time of drought it can make rain fall. If a time when bogged in rains, it can also halt it. It can also eliminate famine and disease. Announce it widely to the nāgas and have them know it. It will further make the devas leap and dance in joy. It can crush māras and set at ease all beings.
Also consider the following from the Benevolent King's Sūtra
Great King! Twice a day recite this sūtra and in your country there will be a hundred divisions of spirits, each of these divisions also possessing a hundred divisions, who will delight in hearing this sūtra. These spirits will protect your country.
For some further examples see my blog post:http://huayanzang.blogspot.com/2013/02/ ... -east.html
Buddhism was from the start basically rooted in an Indo-European polytheist culture. This is why even later developments could be called "pagan". Early secondary literature even shows a distinct concern for the gods and their activities. Yes, the Buddha is the teacher of gods and men, but the gods are still your neighbours and not all of them are benign. For instance, the Abhidharma Mahāvibhāṣā Śāstra
http://huayanzang.blogspot.com/2012/10/ ... pagan.html
Question – Why only speak of thirty-three devas? Answer – The devas frequently gather to discuss good deeds and misdeeds. Hence the partial discussion of them. The devas during the waxing and waning moons on every eighth, fourteenth and fifteenth always gather in the hall of saddharma to weigh the amount of good deeds and misdeeds in the world. Furthermore, the thirty-three devas always together inspect the creators of good deeds and misdeeds. Seeing one who has created good deeds, they then protect them. Seeing one who has created misdeeds, they then together resent and ruin them.
Also in the Pali canon we see the Atanatiya Sutta
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .piya.html
"Bhante, may the Blessed One learn the Atanata protection so that the displeased Yakkhas may be pleased, so that the monks and nuns, laymen and laywomen, may be at ease, guarded, protected and unharmed."
The Blessed One gave consent by his silence. Then the great King Vessavana, knowing that the Blessed One had consented, recited the Atanatiya protection: ...
How do you see these sentences? As real?
Yes, gods and all manner of non-corporeal beings exist. For twenty-five centuries in every Buddhist culture these beings were recognized. All around the world in most cultures up until the disenchantment of modernity we see the existence of gods, spirits, devas, kami, ghosts and so on. People around the world still encounter such beings under various circumstances. The greater thinkers of western civilization in Greece and Rome likewise generally believed in the existence of gods.
If sutras reflect the trustful word of Buddha and if such ideas are not real, how can we accept as real and not a lie, the rest of the sutra?
The Buddha was quite clear that devas, asuras and other such beings exist.
This isn't a popular view to hold in a secularized materialist society, but nevertheless for most of human history most people have acknowledged the existence of non-corporeal beings. It is only in our present day that we think we've come to know better.