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Samyutta Nikaya XLI.10

Gilana Sutta

Sick (Citta the Householder's Last Hours)


On that occasion Citta the householder was diseased, in pain, severely ill. Then a large number of garden deities, forest deities, tree deities, and deities inhabiting herbs, grasses, & forest giants assembled and said to him: "Make a wish, householder: 'In the future, may I become a king, a wheel-turning monarch!'"

When this was said, Citta the householder said to the garden deities, forest deities, tree deities, and deities inhabiting herbs, grasses, & forest giants: "Even that is inconstant; even that is impermanent; one must abandon even that when one passes on."

When this was said, Citta the householder's friends & companions, relatives and kinsmen, said to him: "Steady your mindfulness, master. Don't ramble."

"What did I say that you say to me: 'Steady your mindfulness, master. Don't ramble'?"

"You said: 'Even that is inconstant; even that is impermanent; one must abandon even that when one passes on.'"

"That was because garden deities, forest deities, tree deities, and deities inhabiting herbs, grasses, & forest giants have assembled and said to me: 'Make a wish, householder: "In the future, may I become a king, a wheel-turning monarch!"' And I said to them: 'Even that is inconstant; even that is impermanent; one must abandon even that when one passes on.'"

"But what compelling reason do those garden deities, forest deities, tree deities, and deities inhabiting herbs, grasses, & forest giants see, master, that they say to you, 'Make a wish, householder: "In the future, may I become a king, a wheel-turning monarch!"'?"

"It occurs to them: 'This Citta the householder is virtuous, of admirable character. If he should wish: "In the future, may I become a king, a wheel-turning monarch!" -- then, as he is virtuous, this wish of his would succeed because of the purity of his virtue. A righteous one, he will wield righteous power.'[1] Seeing this compelling reason, they assembled and said: 'Make a wish, householder: "In the future, may I become a king, a wheel-turning monarch!"' And I said to them: 'Even that is inconstant; even that is impermanent; one must abandon even that when one passes on.'"

"Then, master, instruct us, too."

"Then you should train yourselves: 'We will be endowed with unwavering confidence in the Buddha: "Indeed, the Blessed One [the Buddha] is worthy & rightly self-awakened, consummate in knowledge & conduct, well-gone, an expert with regard to the cosmos, unexcelled as a trainer for those people fit to be tamed, the Teacher of divine & human beings, awakened, blessed." "'We will be endowed with unwavering confidence in the Dhamma: "The Dhamma is well-expounded by the Blessed One, to be seen here & now, timeless, inviting verification, pertinent, to be realized by the wise for themselves."

"'We will be possessed of unwavering confidence in the Sangha: "The Sangha of the Blessed One's disciples who have practiced well...who have practiced straight-forwardly...who have practiced methodically...who have practiced masterfully -- in other words, the four types of noble disciples when taken as pairs, the eight when taken as individual types -- they are the Sangha of the Blessed One's disciples: worthy of gifts, worthy of hospitality, worthy of offerings, worthy of respect, the incomparable field of merit for the world."

"'Whatever there may be in our family that can be given away, all that will be shared unstintingly with virtuous ones who are of admirable character.' That's how you should train yourselves."

Then, having enjoined his friends & colleagues, his relatives & kinsmen, to place confidence in the Buddha, Dhamma, & Sangha; having exhorted them to undertake generosity, Citta the householder passed away.


Note

1. The translation of this sentence follows the reading in the Royal Thai edition of the Canon: Dhammiko dhammikam balam anuppadassati. [Go back]

Source: ATI - For Free Distribution Only, as a Gift of Dhamma.

Dhamma Essay:
Non-Duality by Ayya Khema


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