At one time the Buddha was living in the city of Rājagaha, in the Bamboo Grove, the squirrels’ feeding ground.
Now at that time the lay follower Dhīgāvu was sick, suffering and gravely ill. Then he addressed his father, Jotika, “Please, father, go to the Buddha, and in my name, bow with your head to his feet. Say to him, ‘Bhante, the lay follower Dhīgāvu is sick, suffering, gravely ill. He bows with his head to your feet.’ And then say, ‘Bhante, please visit him at his home out of compassion.’”
“Yes, dear,” replied Jotika. He did as Dīghāvu asked. The Buddha consented in silence.
Then the Buddha, in the morning wore his robe, took his bowl and double-layered robe, and went to the home of the lay follower Dīghāvu. He sat down on the seat spread out, and said to him, “I hope you’re coping, Dīghāvu; I hope you’re getting better. I hope that your pain is fading, not growing, that it shows signs of fading and not growing.”
“Bhante, I’m not keeping well, I’m not alright. The pain is terrible and growing, not fading, and it shows signs of growing and not fading .”
“So, Dīghāvu, you should train like this: ‘I will have unshakable confidence in the Buddha: That Blessed One is liberated, self enlightened, has 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.’
“You should train like this, ‘I will have unshakable confidence in the Dhamma: The Dhamma is well explained by the Buddha—visible in this very life, immediately effective, inviting inspection, applied to oneself and wise people can realize it for themselves.’
“You should train like this, ‘I will have unshakable confidence in the Saṅgha: The order of the Buddha’s disciples is practicing the pure way, upright way, wise way, and generous way. It consists of the four pairs, the eight individuals. This is the order of the Buddha’s disciples that is worthy of offerings, worthy of hospitality, worthy of gifts, worthy of greeting with joined palms, and is the supreme field of merit for the world.’
“And you should train like this: ‘I will have virtue that is loved by the noble ones, unbroken, flawless, unblemished, not caught up in craving, freed from wrong views, praised by wise people and leading to concentration.’ That’s how you should train”
“Bhante, these four factors of stream-entry that were taught by the Buddha are already found in me, and I am a disciple with those qualities. Bhante, I have unshakable confidence in the Buddha… the Dhamma… the Saṅgha… And I have virtue loved by the noble ones… leading to concentration.”
“In that case, Dīghāvu, grounded on these four factors of stream-entry you should further develop these six things that lead to the realization of life. You should meditate observing the impermanence of all formations, perceiving suffering in impermanence, perceiving non-self in suffering, perceiving abandonment of craving, perceiving dispassion, and perceiving cessation. That’s how you should train.”
“Bhante, these six things that lead to the realization of life that were taught by the Buddha are found in me, and I practise them. Bhante, I meditate observing the impermanence of all conditions, perceiving suffering in impermanence, perceiving non-self in suffering, perceiving abandonment of craving, perceiving dispassion, and perceiving cessation.
“But still, Bhante, I think, ‘I hope my father doesn’t suffer grief when I am gone.’”
Jotika said, “Dear Dīghāvu, don’t focus on that. Come on, dear Dīghāvu, you should closely focus on what the Buddha is saying.”
When the Buddha had given this advice, he got up from his seat and left. Not long after the Buddha left, Dīghāvu passed away. Then several monks went up to the Buddha, bowed respectfully, sat down to one side, and asked him, “Bhante, the lay follower named Dīghāvu, who was advised in brief by the Buddha, has passed away. Where has he been reborn?”
“Monks, the lay follower Dīghāvu was wise. He practiced in line with the teachings, and did not trouble me when I was teaching him. Abandoning five lower fetters, he attained the third stage of enlightenment before passing away and he’s been reborn spontaneously in the Suddhāvāsa brahma world. He will attain final Nibbāna there, and won’t return from that world.”