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Samyutta Nikaya

Saṁyutta Nikāya 55.7 Veluddvāra Sutta
The People of Bamboo-Gate Village

How can we practice to have a good rebirth while still living the lay life.

This is as I heard. At one time, the Buddha was traveling in the province of the Kosalans together with a large group of monks. There, he arrived at a village of the Kosalan brahmins named Veluddvāra.

The people of in that village heard, “The monk Gotama is a member of the Sakyan clan, and he has become a monk leaving the Sakyan family. Today, he has arrived at our village, together with a large group of monks. He has this good reputation about him, ‘That Blessed One is liberated, a self enlightened Buddha, has gained true knowledge and pure conduct, attained Nibbāna, knower of worlds, supreme trainer of beings, teacher of gods and humans, the most generous and the most fortunate.’ He has realized this world with his own insight—with its gods, Māras and Brahmās, with its ascetics, priests, gods and humans—and he makes it known to others. He teaches Dhamma that’s excellent in the beginning, excellent in the middle, and excellent in the end. It is meaningful and well-phrased and he teaches the clear and pure path leading to the end suffering, Nibbāna. It’s good to see such Enlightened Ones.”

Then those people went up to the Buddha. Some bowed respectfully, some exchanged greetings and polite conversation, some held up their joined palms toward the Buddha, some announced their name and clan, while some kept silent. Then sitting down to one side, they said to the Buddha,

“Master Gotama, these are our wishes, desires, and hopes. We wish to live at home with our children; to use sandalwood imported from the Kāsi province; to wear garlands, perfumes, and makeup; and to accept gold and money. And after death, we wish to be reborn in a happy world, in heaven. Given that we have such wishes, may the Buddha teach us the Dhamma so that we may go to heaven after death.”

The Buddha said, “I will teach you a Dhamma lesson that should be applied to oneself. Listen and pay close attention, I will speak.”

“Yes, Bhante,” they replied.

“And what is that Dhamma lesson that should be applied to oneself?

“A noble disciple reflects this way, ‘I want to live and don’t want to die; I want to be happy and I dislike pain. Since this is so, if someone were to take my life, I wouldn’t like that. But others also want to live and don’t want to die; they want to be happy and dislike pain. So if I were to take the life of someone else, they wouldn’t like that either. The thing that is disliked by me is also disliked by others. Since I dislike this thing, how can I give that pain to someone else?’ Reflecting this way, first, he gives up killing beings. Second, he encourages others to abstain from killing beings, and third, he praises the act of abstaining from killing beings. So, his bodily behaviour is purified in three ways.

“Furthermore, a noble disciple reflects this way, ‘If someone were to steal from me, I wouldn’t like that. If I were to steal from someone else, they wouldn’t like that either. The thing that is disliked by me is also disliked by others. Since I dislike this thing, how can I give that pain to someone else?’ Reflecting this way, first, he gives up stealing. Second, he encourages others to give up stealing, and third, he praises the act of giving up stealing. So, his bodily behaviour is purified in three ways.

“Furthermore, a noble disciple reflects this way, ‘If someone were to have sexual relations with my wife, I wouldn’t like it. If I were to have sexual relations with someone else’s wife, he wouldn’t like that either. The thing that is disliked by me is also disliked by others. Since I dislike this thing, how can I give that pain to others?’ Reflecting this way, first, he gives up sexual misconduct. Second, he encourages others to give up sexual misconduct, and third, he praises the act of abstaining from sexual misconduct. So his bodily behaviour is purified in three ways.

“Furthermore, a noble disciple reflects this way, ‘If someone were to harm me by lying, I wouldn’t like it. If I were to harm someone else by lying, they wouldn’t like it either. The thing that is disliked by me is also disliked by someone else. Since I dislike this thing, how can I give that pain to others?’ Reflecting this way, first, he gives up lying. Second, he encourages others to give up lying, and third, he praises the act of giving up lying. So his verbal behaviour is purified in three ways.

“Furthermore, a noble disciple reflects this way, ‘If someone were to split me up from my friends using divisive speech, I wouldn’t like it. But if I were to split someone else from their friends using divisive speech, they wouldn’t like it either.…’ So his verbal behaviour is purified in three ways.

“Furthermore, a noble disciple reflects this way, ‘If someone were to insult me with harsh speech, I wouldn’t like it. But if I were to insult someone else with harsh speech, they wouldn’t like it either.…’ So his verbal behaviour is purified in three ways.

“Furthermore, a noble disciple reflects this way, ‘If someone were to waste my time by idle chatter, I wouldn’t like it. But if I were to waste someone else’s time by idle chatter, they wouldn’t like it either.’ The thing that is disliked by me is also disliked by another. Since I dislike this thing, how can I give that pain another?’ Reflecting this way, first he gives up idle chatter. Second, he encourages others to give up idle chatter, and third, he praises the act of giving up idle chatter. So his verbal behaviour is purified in three ways.

“He also has unshakable confidence in the Buddha… the Dhamma… the Saṅgha… And he has virtue loved by the noble ones… leading to concentration. When a noble disciple has these seven good qualitiesfootnoteAbstaining from above mentioned three types of wrong doing by body and four types of wrong doing by speech.\footnote and these four factors, he may, if he wishes, declare of himself: ‘I’ve finished with rebirth in hell, the animal world, and the ghost world. I’ve finished with all miserable worlds. I am a stream-enterer! I’m not liable to be reborn in the miserable worlds, and I am heading towards Nibbāna.’”

When the Buddha taught the Dhamma like this, the people of Veluddvāra village said to the Buddha, “Excellent, Master Gotama!… We go for refuge to Master Gotama, to the Dhamma, and to the Saṅgha. From this day on, may Master Gotama remember us as lay followers who have gone for refuge to the Triple Gem as long as we live.”

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Saṁyutta Nikāya 55.7 Veluddvāra Sutta: The People of Bamboo-Gate Village

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