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Anguttara Nikaya

Aṅguttara NikāyaAN 5.31 Sumanā Sutta
With Princess Sumanā

This sutta is part 3 of 11 in the series Merit

Those days, the Blessed One was living in the province of Sāvatthī, in Jeta’s Park, at Anāthapiṇḍika’s monastery. Then Princess Sumanā, along with five hundred chariots and five hundred royal young women, went up to the Blessed One, bowed, sat down to one side, and asked:

“Bhante, suppose there were two disciples equal in faith, virtue, and wisdom. However, one practices giving and sharing, one does not. After death, they’re reborn in a happy place, heaven. When they have become gods, would there be any variation or difference between them?”

“There would be, Sumanā,” said the Blessed One. “As a god, the one who was a giver would be better than the other in five ways: divine lifespan, divine beauty, divine happiness, divine retinue (one has a large number of friends), and divine authority. As a god, the one who was a giver would be better than the other in these five ways.”

“But Bhante, if they pass away from that heaven and are reborn in the human world, would there still be any variation or difference between them?”

“There would be, Sumanā,” said the Blessed One. “As a human being, the one who was a giver would be better than the other in five ways: human lifespan, human beauty, human happiness, human retinue,1 and human authority. As a human being, the one who was a giver would be better than the other in these five ways.”

“But Bhante, if they both become monks, would there still be any variation or difference between them?”

“There would be, Sumanā,” said the Blessed One. “As a monk, the one who was a giver would be better than the other in five ways. He would usually receive many robes from others, rarely would he not receive robes. He would usually receive a lot of alms food from others, rarely would he not receive alms food. He would usually receive lodgings from others, rarely would he not receive lodgings. He would usually receive a lot of medicine from others, rarely would he not receive medicine. When living with other monks, he is usually treated by them with a heart of loving kindness by way of body, speech, and mind,2 rarely the opposite. As a monk, the one who was a giver would be better than the other in these five ways.”

“But Bhante, if they both attain Nibbāna, as liberated monks would there still be any variation or difference between them?”

“In that case, Sumanā, I say there is no difference between the liberation of one and the liberation of the other.”

“It’s incredible, Bhante, it’s amazing! One should surely practice giving and sharing and one should surely make merit. For merit is helpful to those who have become gods. For merit is helpful to those who have become humans. For merit is helpful to those who have become monks.”

“That’s so true, Sumanā. One should surely practice giving and sharing and one should surely make merit. For merit is helpful to those who have become gods. For merit is helpful to those who have become humans. For merit is helpful to those who have become monks.”

That is what the Blessed One said. Then the Enlightened One, the Buddha, further said:

“The stainless moon, journeying across the sky; outshines with its radiance all the stars.

 In the same way, the faithful person, perfect in virtue, outshines with his generosity all the stingy people in the world.

The thundering rain cloud, its hundred peaks wreathed in lightning, pours down over the earth, filling the plains and lowlands.

Like this, a wise person with right view, a disciple of the Supreme Buddha, surpasses a stingy person in five ways: long life and friendships, beauty and happiness. Surrounded by riches, he departs the human world to rejoice in heaven.”

Merit Series Navigation
Learn the Buddha’s teachings on merit.
The Supreme Buddha encouraged us to do a variety of wholesome actions known as merit. In this series you will learn about the power of this good karma and how it will bring happiness in this life and our future lives, and ultimately lead all the way to Nibbāna.
→ SN 55.31 Abhisanda Sutta: Streams of Merit 1 →← Itv 60 Puññakiriyavatthu Sutta: Grounds for Making Merits ←
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Aṅguttara Nikāya 5.31 Sumanā Sutta: With Princess Sumanā

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