SN 6.9 Turūbrahmasutta: With the Brahmā Tudu

[NOTE: To understand what is going on in this sutta, it is necessary to catch Kokālika’s misunderstanding of a non-returner. A non-returner is someone who is not reborn again in the human world. However gods who are non-returner can, if they like, make visits to the human world as is the case here.]

At Sāvatthī.

Now at that time the mendicant Kokālika was sick, suffering, gravely ill.

Then, late at night, the beautiful independent brahmā Tudu, lighting up the entire Jeta’s Grove, went up to the mendicant Kokālika, and standing in the air he said to him, “Kokālika, have confidence in Sāriputta and Moggallāna, they’re good monks.”

“Who are you, reverend?”

“I am Tudu the independent brahmā.”

“Didn’t the Buddha declare you a non-returner? So what exactly are you doing back here? See how far you have strayed!”

“A man is born
with an axe in his mouth.
A fool cuts themselves with it
when they say bad words.

When you praise someone worthy of criticism,
or criticize someone worthy of praise,
you choose bad luck with your own mouth:
you’ll never find happiness that way.

Bad luck at dice is a trivial thing,
if all you lose is your money
and all you own, even yourself.
What’s really terrible luck
is to hate the holy ones.

For more than two quinquadecillion years,
and another five quattuordecillion years,
a slanderer of noble ones goes to hell,
having aimed bad words and thoughts at them.”



You can learn more about the fate of Kokālika in Snp 3.10: Kokālikasutta. Warning: it’s not good.

Read this translation of Saṁyutta Nikāya 6.9 Turūbrahmasutta: With the Brahmā Tudu Turūbrahmasutta by Bhikkhu Sujato on SuttaCentral.net. Or read a different translation on SuttaFriends.org. Or listen on PaliAudio.com or Voice.SuttaCentral.net. Or explore the Pali on DigitalPaliReader.online.

SN 1.49 Maccharisutta: Stingy

At Sāvatthī.

Then, late at night, a glorious deity, lighting up the entire Jeta’s Grove, went up to the Buddha, bowed, stood to one side. Standing to one side, that deity recited this verse in the Buddha’s presence:

“Those who are stingy here in the world,
Miserly folk, revilers,
People who create obstacles
For others engaged in giving alms:
What kind of result do they reap?
What kind of future destiny?
We’ve come to ask the Blessed One this:
How are we to understand it?”

The Blessed One:

“Those who are stingy here in the world,
Miserly folk, revilers,
People who create obstacles
For others engaged in giving alms:
They might be reborn in hell,
In the animal realm or Yama’s world.

“If they come back to the human state
They are born in a poor family
Where clothes, food, pleasures, and sport
Are obtained only with difficulty.

“Whatever the fools may expect from others,
Even that they do not obtain.
This is the result in this very life;
And in the future a bad destination.”

Devatā:

“We understand thus what you have said;
We ask, O Gotama, another question:
Those here who, on gaining the human state,
Are amiable and generous,
Confident in the Buddha and the Dhamma
And deeply respectful towards the Saṅgha:
What kind of result do they reap?
What kind of future destiny?
We’ve come to ask the Blessed One this:
How are we to understand it?”

The Blessed One:

“Those here who, on gaining the human state,
Are amiable and generous,
Confident in the Buddha and the Dhamma
And deeply respectful towards the Saṅgha,
These brighten up the heavens
Where they’ve been reborn.

“If they come back to the human state
They are reborn in a rich family
Where clothes, food, pleasures, and sport
Are obtained without difficulty.

“They rejoice like the devas who control
The goods amassed by others.
This is the result in this very life;
And in the future a good destination.”


Read this translation of Saṁyutta Nikāya 1.49 Maccharisutta: Stingy by Bhikkhu Bodhi on SuttaCentral.net. Or read a different translation on SuttaCentral.net. Or listen on PaliAudio.com or Voice.SuttaCentral.net. Or explore the Pali on DigitalPaliReader.online.

SN 1.41 Ādittasutta: Ablaze

Thus have I heard. On one occasion the Blessed One was dwelling at Savatthi in Jeta’s Grove, Anathapiṇḍika’s Park. Then, when the night had advanced, a certain devatā of stunning beauty, illuminating the entire Jeta’s Grove, approached the Blessed One. Having approached, he paid homage to the Blessed One, stood to one side, and recited these verses in the presence of the Blessed One:

“When one’s house is ablaze
The vessel taken out
Is the one that is useful,
Not the one left burnt inside.

“So when the world is ablaze
With the fires of aging and death,
One should take out one’s wealth by giving:
What is given is well salvaged.

“What is given yields pleasant fruit,
But not so what is not given.
Thieves take it away, or kings,
It gets burnt by fire or is lost.

“Then in the end one leaves the body
Along with one’s possessions.
Having understood this, the wise person
Should enjoy himself but also give.
Having given and enjoyed as fits his means,
Blameless he goes to the heavenly state.”

This is what that devatā said. The Teacher approved. Then that devatā, thinking, “The Teacher has approved of me,” paid homage to the Blessed One and, keeping him on the right, disappeared right there.


Read this translation of Saṁyutta Nikāya 1.41 Ādittasutta: Ablaze by Bhikkhu Bodhi on SuttaCentral.net. Or read a different translation on SuttaCentral.net or DhammaTalks.org. Or listen on PaliAudio.com or Voice.SuttaCentral.net. Or explore the Pali on DigitalPaliReader.online.

SN 3.25 Pabbatūpamasutta: The Simile of the Mountain

At Sāvatthī.

King Pasenadi of Kosala sat to one side, and the Buddha said to him, “So, great king, where are you coming from in the middle of the day?”

“Sir, there are anointed aristocratic kings who are infatuated with authority, and obsessed with greed for sensual pleasures. They have attained stability in the country, occupying a vast conquered territory. Today I have been busy fulfilling the duties of such kings.”

“What do you think, great king? Suppose a trustworthy and reliable man were to come from the east. He’d approach you and say: ‘Please sir, you should know this. I come from the east. There I saw a huge mountain that reached the clouds. And it was coming this way, crushing all creatures. So then, great king, do what you must!’

Then a second trustworthy and reliable man were to come from the west … a third from the north … and a fourth from the south. He’d approach you and say: ‘Please sir, you should know this. I come from the south. There I saw a huge mountain that reached the clouds. And it was coming this way, crushing all creatures. So then, great king, do what you must!’

Should such a dire threat arise—a terrible loss of human life, when human birth is so rare—what would you do?”

“Sir, what could I do but practice the teachings, practice morality, doing skillful and good actions?”

“I tell you, great king, I announce to you: old age and death are advancing upon you. Since old age and death are advancing upon you, what would you do?”

“Sir, what can I do but practice the teachings, practice morality, doing skillful and good actions?

Sir, there are anointed aristocratic kings who are infatuated with authority, and obsessed with greed for sensual pleasures. They have attained stability in the country, occupying a vast conquered territory. Such kings engage in battles of elephants, cavalry, chariots, or infantry. But there is no place, no scope for such battles when old age and death are advancing.

In this royal court there are ministers of wise counsel who are capable of dividing an approaching enemy by wise counsel. But there is no place, no scope for such diplomatic battles when old age and death are advancing.

In this royal court there is abundant gold coin and bullion stored in dungeons and towers. Using this wealth we can pay off an approaching enemy. But there is no place, no scope for such monetary battles when old age and death are advancing.

When old age and death are advancing, what can I do but practice the teachings, practice morality, doing skillful and good actions?”

“That’s so true, great king! That’s so true! When old age and death are advancing, what can you do but practice the teachings, practice morality, doing skillful and good actions?”

That is what the Buddha said. Then the Holy One, the Teacher, went on to say:

“Suppose there were vast mountains
of solid rock touching the sky
drawing in from all sides
and crushing the four quarters.

So too old age and death
advance upon all living creatures—
aristocrats, brahmins, merchants,
workers, outcastes, and scavengers.
They spare nothing.
They crush all beneath them.

There’s nowhere for elephants to take a stand,
nor chariots nor infantry.
They can’t be defeated
by diplomatic battles or by wealth.

That’s why an astute person,
seeing what’s good for themselves,
being wise, would place faith
in the Buddha, the teaching, and the Saṅgha.

Whoever lives by the teaching
in body, speech, and mind,
is praised in this life
and departs to rejoice in heaven.”


Read this translation of Saṁyutta Nikāya 3.25 Pabbatūpamasutta: The Simile of the Mountain by Bhikkhu Sujato on SuttaCentral.net.

SN 55.21 Paṭhamamahānāmasutta: With Mahānāma (1st)

So I have heard. At one time the Buddha was staying in the land of the Sakyans, near Kapilavatthu in the Banyan Tree Monastery. Then Mahānāma the Sakyan went up to the Buddha, bowed, sat down to one side, and said to him:

“Sir, this Kapilavatthu is successful and prosperous and full of people, with cramped cul-de-sacs. In the late afternoon, after paying homage to the Buddha or an esteemed mendicant, I enter Kapilavatthu. I encounter a stray elephant, horse, chariot, cart, or person. At that time I lose mindfulness regarding the Buddha, the teaching, and the Saṅgha. I think: ‘If I were to die at this time, where would I be reborn in my next life?’”

“Do not fear, Mahānāma, do not fear! Your death will not be a bad one; your passing will not be a bad one. Take someone whose mind has for a long time been imbued with faith, ethics, learning, generosity, and wisdom. Their body consists of form, made up of the four primary elements, produced by mother and father, built up from rice and porridge, liable to impermanence, to wearing away and erosion, to breaking up and destruction. Right here the crows, vultures, hawks, dogs, jackals, and many kinds of little creatures devour it. But their mind rises up, headed for a higher place.

Suppose a person was to sink a pot of ghee or oil into a deep lake and break it open. Its shards and chips would sink down, while the ghee or oil in it would rise up, headed for a higher place.

In the same way, take someone whose mind has for a long time been imbued with faith, ethics, learning, generosity, and wisdom. Their body consists of form, made up of the four elements, produced by mother and father, built up from rice and porridge, liable to impermanence, to wearing away and erosion, to breaking up and destruction. Right here the crows, vultures, hawks, dogs, jackals, and many kinds of little creatures devour it. But their mind rises up, headed for a higher place.

Your mind, Mahānāma, has for a long time been imbued with faith, ethics, learning, generosity, and wisdom. Do not fear, Mahānāma, do not fear! Your death will not be a bad one; your passing will not be a bad one.”


Read this translation of Saṁyutta Nikāya 55.21 Paṭhamamahānāmasutta: With Mahānāma (1st) by Bhikkhu Sujato on SuttaCentral.net.

SN 1.66 Attahatasutta: Afflicted

Thus have I heard. On one occasion the Blessed One was dwelling at Savatthi in Jeta’s Grove, Anathapiṇḍika’s Park. Then, when the night had advanced, a certain devatā of stunning beauty, illuminating the entire Jeta’s Grove, approached the Blessed One. Having approached, he paid homage to the Blessed One, stood to one side, and said to him:

“By what is the world afflicted?
By what is it enveloped?
By what dart has it been wounded?
With what is it always burning?”

The Blessed One:

“The world is afflicted with death,
Enveloped by old age;
Wounded by the dart of craving,
It is always burning with desire.”


Read this translation of Saṁyutta Nikāya 1.66 Attahatasutta: Afflicted by Bhikkhu Bodhi on SuttaCentral.net. Or read a different translation on SuttaCentral.net. Or listen on PaliAudio.com or Voice.SuttaCentral.net. Or explore the Pali on DigitalPaliReader.online.

SN 47.14 Ukkacelasutta: At Ukkacelā

At one time the Buddha was staying in the land of the Vajjīs near Ukkacelā on the bank of the Ganges river, together with a large Saṅgha of mendicants. It was not long after Sāriputta and Moggallāna had become fully extinguished. Now, at that time the Buddha was sitting in the open, surrounded by the Saṅgha of mendicants.

Then the Buddha looked around the Saṅgha of mendicants, who were silent. He addressed them:

“Mendicants, this assembly seems empty to me now that Sāriputta and Moggallāna have become fully extinguished. When Sāriputta and Moggallāna were alive, my assembly was never empty; I had no concern for any region where they stayed. The Buddhas of the past or the future have pairs of chief disciples who are no better than Sāriputta and Moggallāna were to me.

It’s an incredible and amazing quality of such disciples that they fulfill the Teacher’s instructions and follow his advice. And they’re liked and approved, respected and admired by the four assemblies.

And it’s an incredible and amazing quality of the Realized One that when such a pair of disciples becomes fully extinguished he does not sorrow or lament. How could it possibly be so that what is born, created, conditioned, and liable to fall apart should not fall apart? That is not possible.

Suppose there was a large tree standing with heartwood, and the largest branches fell off. In the same way, in the great Saṅgha that stands with heartwood, Sāriputta and Moggallāna have become fully extinguished.

How could it possibly be so that what is born, created, conditioned, and liable to fall apart should not fall apart? That is not possible.

So mendicants, live as your own island, your own refuge, with no other refuge. Let the teaching be your island and your refuge, with no other refuge.

And how does a mendicant do this? It’s when a mendicant meditates by observing an aspect of the body—keen, aware, and mindful, rid of desire and aversion for the world. They meditate observing an aspect of feelings … mind … principles—keen, aware, and mindful, rid of desire and aversion for the world.

That’s how a mendicant lives as their own island, their own refuge, with no other refuge. That’s how the teaching is their island and their refuge, with no other refuge.

Whether now or after I have passed, any who shall live as their own island, their own refuge, with no other refuge; with the teaching as their island and their refuge, with no other refuge—those mendicants of mine who want to train shall be among the best of the best.”


Read this translation of Saṁyutta Nikāya 47.14 Ukkacelasutta: At Ukkacelā by Bhikkhu Sujato on SuttaCentral.net. Or read a different translation on SuttaCentral.net or AccessToInsight.org. Or listen on Voice.SuttaCentral.net. Or explore the Pali on DigitalPaliReader.online.

SN 3.22 Ayyikāsutta: Grandmother

At Sāvatthī.

King Pasenadi of Kosala sat to one side, and the Buddha said to him, “So, great king, where are you coming from in the middle of the day?”

“Sir, my grandmother has passed away. She was old, elderly and senior. She was advanced in years and had reached the final stage of life; she was a hundred and twenty years old. But I loved my grandmother; she was dear to me. If by giving away the elephant-treasure I could get my grandmother back, I’d do it. If by giving away the horse-treasure I could get my grandmother back, I’d do it. If by giving away a prize village I could get my grandmother back, I’d do it. If by giving away the whole country I could get my grandmother back, I’d do it.”

“Great king, all sentient beings are liable to die. Death is their end; they’re not exempt from death.”

“It’s incredible, sir, it’s amazing, how well said this was by the Buddha: ‘All sentient beings are liable to die. Death is their end; they’re not exempt from death.’”

“That’s so true, great king! That’s so true! All sentient beings are liable to die. Death is their end; they’re not exempt from death. It’s like the vessels made by potters. Whatever kind they are, whether baked or unbaked, all of them are liable to break apart. Breaking is their end; they’re not exempt from breakage. In the same way, all sentient beings are liable to die. Death is their end; they’re not exempt from death.”

That is what the Buddha said. …

“All beings will die,
for life ends with death.
They pass on according to their deeds,
reaping the fruits of good and bad.
Those who do bad go to hell,
and if you do good you go to heaven.

That’s why you should do good,
investing in the future life.
The good deeds of sentient beings
support them in the next world.”



Read this translation of Saṁyutta Nikāya 3.22 Ayyikāsutta: Grandmother by Bhikkhu Sujato on SuttaCentral.net. Or read a different translation on SuttaFriends.org or DhammaTalks.org. Or listen on PaliAudio.com or Voice.SuttaCentral.net. Or explore the Pali on DigitalPaliReader.online.

SN 5.3 Kisāgotamīsutta: With Kisāgotamī

At Sāvatthī.

Then the nun Kisāgotamī robed up in the morning and, taking her bowl and robe, entered Sāvatthī for alms. She wandered for alms in Sāvatthī. After the meal, on her return from almsround, she went to the Dark Forest, plunged deep into it, and sat at the root of a tree for the day’s meditation.

Then Māra the Wicked, wanting to make the nun Kisāgotamī feel fear, terror, and goosebumps, wanting to make her fall away from immersion, went up to her and addressed her in verse:

“Why do you sit alone and cry
as if your children have died?
You’ve come to the woods all alone—
you must be looking for a man!”

Then the nun Kisāgotamī thought, “Who’s speaking this verse, a human or a non-human?”

Then she thought, “This is Māra the Wicked, wanting to make me feel fear, terror, and goosebumps, wanting to make me fall away from immersion!”

Then Kisāgotamī, knowing that this was Māra the Wicked, replied to him in verse:

“I’ve got over the death of children,
and I’m finished with men.
I don’t grieve or lament,
and I’m not afraid of you, sir!

Relishing is destroyed in every respect,
and the mass of darkness is shattered.
I’ve defeated the army of death,
and live without defilements.”

Then Māra the Wicked, thinking, “The nun Kisāgotamī knows me!” miserable and sad, vanished right there.


Read this translation of Saṁyutta Nikāya 5.3 Kisāgotamīsutta: With Kisāgotamī by Bhikkhu Sujato on SuttaCentral.net. Or read a different translation on SuttaCentral.net, DhammaTalks.org or Ancient-Buddhist-Texts.net. Or listen on PaliAudio.com or Voice.SuttaCentral.net. Or explore the Pali on DigitalPaliReader.online.

SN 12.2 From… Vibhaṅgasutta: Analysis


And what, bhikkhus, is aging-and-death? The aging of the various beings in the various orders of beings, their growing old, brokenness of teeth, greyness of hair, wrinkling of skin, decline of vitality, degeneration of the faculties: this is called aging. The passing away of the various beings from the various orders of beings, their perishing, breakup, disappearance, mortality, death, completion of time, the breakup of the aggregates, the laying down of the carcass: this is called death. Thus this aging and this death are together called aging-and-death.


Read the entire translation of Saṁyutta Nikāya 12.2 Vibhaṅgasutta: Analysis by Bhikkhu Bodhi on SuttaCentral.net. Or read a different translation on SuttaCentral.net, DhammaTalks.org or Ancient-Buddhist-Texts.net. Or listen on PaliAudio.com or Voice.SuttaCentral.net. Or explore the Pali on DigitalPaliReader.online.