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Samyutta Nikaya
Sotāpatti Saṁyutta

55.24 Sarakāni Sutta
To Sarakāni the Sakyan 1

The Buddha explains what type of person is free from being born in a lower realm.

In those days, the Blessed One was living in the Sakyan Kingdom, in the city of Kapilavatthu, at Nigrodha Monastery. At that time, Sarakāni the Sakyan had passed away. The Buddha declared that he was a stream-enterer, not liable to be reborn in the lower worlds, and headed towards Nibbāna.

After hearing this, several Sakyans came together complaining, grumbling, and objecting, “It’s incredible, it’s amazing! Who can’t become a stream-enterer these days? The Buddha even declared Sarakāni to be a stream-enterer after he passed away. Sarakāni was too weak to keep the five precepts; he used to drink alcohol.”

Then Mahānāma the Sakyan went to the Buddha, bowed respectfully, sat down to one side, and told him about the complaining of some Sakyans. The Buddha said, “Mahānāma, when a lay follower has gone for refuge to the Buddha, the Dhamma, and the Saṅgha for a long time, how could he be reborn in the lower worlds? If I were to declare someone who has gone for refuge to the Buddha, the Dhamma, and the Saṅgha for a long time, it would be Sarakāni the Sakyan. Sarakāni the Sakyan has gone for refuge to the Buddha, the Dhamma, and the Saṅgha for a long time. How could he be reborn in the lower worlds?

“Mahānāma, take a certain person who has unshakable confidence in the Buddha… the Dhamma… the Saṅgha… He has joyful wisdom and rapid wisdom, and has achieved liberation. He’s realized the undefiled liberation of mind and liberation by wisdom in this very life. He lives having realized enlightenment with his own insight, due to the abandoning of defilements. This person is permanently freed from taking rebirth in hell, the animal world, and the ghost world. He’s permanently freed from taking rebirth in any miserable world.

“Mahānāma, take another person who has unshakable confidence in the Buddha… the Dhamma… the Saṅgha… He has joyful wisdom and rapid wisdom, and has not achieved liberation. However, with the abandoning of the five lower fetters, he attains the third stage of enlightenment. He’s reborn spontaneously in the Suddhāvāsa Brahma world. He attains final Nibbāna there, and is not liable to return from that world. This person, too, is permanently freed from taking rebirth in hell, the animal world, and the ghost world. He’s permanently freed from taking rebirth in any miserable world.

“Mahānāma, take another person who has unshakable confidence in the Buddha… the Dhamma… the Saṅgha… But he doesn’t have joyful wisdom or rapid wisdom, nor has he achieved liberation. With the abandoning of three fetters, and the weakening of greed, hate, and delusion, he’s a once-returner. He comes back to this sensory world once only, then makes an end of suffering. This person, too, is permanently freed from taking rebirth in hell, the animal world, and the ghost world. He’s permanently freed from taking rebirth in any miserable world.

“Mahānāma, take another person who has unshakable confidence in the Buddha… the Dhamma… the Saṅgha… But he doesn’t have joyful wisdom or rapid wisdom, nor has he achieved liberation. With the abandoning of three fetters he’s a stream-enterer, not liable to be reborn in the lower worlds, and headed towards Nibbāna. This person, too, is permanently freed from taking rebirth in hell, the animal world, and the ghost world. He’s permanently freed from taking rebirth in any miserable world.

“Mahānāma, take another person who doesn’t have unshakable confidence in the Buddha… the Dhamma… the Saṅgha… He doesn’t have joyful wisdom or rapid wisdom, nor has he achieved liberation. But, he still has these qualities: the spiritual faculty of faith, the spiritual faculty of energy, the spiritual faculty of mindfulness, the spiritual faculty of concentration, and the spiritual faculty of wisdom. He understands the teachings proclaimed by the Buddha after contemplating them with a certain degree of wisdom. This person, too, doesn’t go to hell, the animal world, and the ghost world. He doesn’t go to any miserable world.

“Mahānāma, take another person who doesn’t have unshakable confidence in the Buddha… the Dhamma… the Saṅgha… He doesn’t have joyful wisdom or rapid wisdom, nor has he achieved liberation. But, he has these qualities: the spiritual faculty of faith, the spiritual faculty of energy, the spiritual faculty of mindfulness, the spiritual faculty of concentration, and the spiritual faculty of wisdom. And he has a degree of faith and love for the Buddha. This person, too, doesn’t go to hell, the animal world, or the ghost world. He doesn’t go to any miserable world.

“Mahānāma, if these great sal trees could understand what was well said1 and poorly said,2 I’d declare even these sal trees to be stream-enterers. Why can’t this apply to Sarakāni? Mahānāma, Sarakāni the Sakyan was keeping his precepts well during last stage of his life before death.”

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Saṁyutta Nikāya 55.24 Sarakāni Sutta: To Sarakāni the Sakyan 1

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