Pāricchattaka Sutta

Aṅguttara Nikāya 7.69
Pāricchattaka Sutta

[NOTE: The following translation is largely that of Bhikkhu Bodhi; the second part of the discourse
has been adapted to refer to a lay follower who practices with confidence and diligence.]

* * *

“Bhikkhus, when the foliage of the Tāvatiṃsa devas’ pāricchattaka tree has changed color, the Tāvatiṃsa devas are elated, thinking: ‘The foliage of the pāricchattaka tree now has changed color. Now it won’t be long before its foliage will fall.’

“When the foliage of the Tāvatiṃsa devas’ pāricchattaka tree has fallen, the Tāvatiṃsa devas are elated, thinking: ‘The foliage of the pāricchattaka tree now has fallen. Now it won’t be long before its floral initiation occurs.’

“When the Tāvatiṃsa devas’ pāricchattaka tree has had its floral initiation, the Tāvatiṃsa devas are elated, thinking: ‘The pāricchattaka tree now has had its floral initiation. Now it won’t be long before its floral differentiation occurs.’

“When the Tāvatiṃsa devas’ pāricchattaka tree has had its floral differentiation, the Tāvatiṃsa devas are elated, thinking: ‘The pāricchattaka tree now has had its floral differentiation. Now it won’t be long before its bud formation occurs.’

“When the Tāvatiṃsa devas’ pāricchattaka tree has had its bud formation, the Tāvatiṃsa devas are elated, thinking: ‘The pāricchattaka tree now has had its bud formation. Now it won’t be long before its bud burst occurs.’

“When the Tāvatiṃsa devas’ pāricchattaka tree has had its bud burst, the Tāvatiṃsa devas are elated, thinking: ‘The pāricchattaka tree now has had its bud burst. Now it won’t be long before it fully blossoms.’

“When the Tāvatiṃsa devas’ pāricchattaka tree has fully blossomed, the Tāvatiṃsa devas are elated, and they spend four celestial months at the foot of the pāricchattaka tree enjoying themselves furnished and endowed with the five objects of sensual pleasure. When the pāricchattaka tree has fully blossomed, a radiance suffuses the area fifty yojanas all around and a fragrance is carried along with the wind for a hundred yojanas. This is the majesty of the pāricchattaka tree.

“So too, bhikkhus, when a person intends to take refuge in the Buddha, Dhamma, and Sangha and take the Five Precepts, on that occasion such a person is one whose foliage has changed color, like the Tāvatiṃsa devas’ pāricchattaka tree.

“When a person, having just taken refuge in the Three Jewels, having begun to reflect deeply on the teachings of the Buddha, having begun to put them into practice with confidence and diligence, and having begun to attain wisdom, starts to let go of objects that complicate both outer and inner life, on that occasion such a person is one whose foliage has fallen, like the Tāvatiṃsa devas’ pāricchattaka tree.

“When, having abandoned sensual pleasures, detached from unwholesome mental states, a person who practices with confidence and diligence enters and dwells in first jhāna, wherein there is rapture and happiness born of detachment, accompanied by directed thought and evaluation, on that occasion such a person is one whose floral initiation has occurred, like the Tāvatiṃsa devas’ pāricchattaka tree.

“When, with the stilling of directed thought and evaluation, internally purified, a person who practices with confidence and diligence enters and dwells in second jhāna, wherein there is rapture and happiness born of concentration, having unification of mind that is free from directed thought and evaluation, on that occasion such a person is one whose floral differentiation has occurred, like the Tāvatiṃsa devas’ pāricchattaka tree.

“When, with the cessation of rapture, dwelling in equanimity, mindful and clearly comprehending, a person who practices with confidence and diligence enters and dwells in third jhāna, wherein he experiences happiness with the body, of which the Noble Ones declare: ‘He who has equanimity and mindfulness abides happily,’ on that occasion such a person is one whose bud formation has occurred, like the Tāvatiṃsa devas’ pāricchattaka tree.

“When, with the abandoning of both happiness and suffering, and with the previous passing away of joy and grief, a person who practices with confidence and diligence enters and dwells in fourth jhāna, wherein there is neither happiness nor suffering, but the purity of mindfulness and equanimity, on that occasion such a person is one whose buds have burst open, like the Tāvatiṃsa devas’ pāricchattaka tree.

“When, with the destruction of the āsavas, a person who practices with confidence and diligence has realized with direct knowledge, in this very life, the taintless liberation of mind, liberation by wisdom, and having entered upon it, dwells in it, on that occasion such a person has fully blossomed, like the Tāvatiṃsa devas’ pāricchattaka tree.

“On that occasion, bhikkhus, the earth-dwelling devas proclaim: ‘A devoted follower of the Venerable One, who has reflected deeply on the teachings of the Buddha, put them into practice with confidence and diligence, and attained wisdom, now has realized with direct knowledge, in this very life, the taintless liberation of mind, liberation by wisdom, and having entered upon it, dwells in it.’ Hearing these words of the earth-dwelling devas, the devas of the Four Great Kings take it up, then the Tāvatiṃsa devas, then the Yāma devas, then the Tusita devas, then the devas Who Delight in Creating, then the devas Who Delight in the Creations of Others, and then all the inhabitants of the Brahmā realms, all proclaiming: ‘A devoted follower of the Venerable One, who has reflected deeply on the teachings of the Buddha, put them into practice with confidence and diligence, and attained wisdom, now has realized with direct knowledge, in this very life, the taintless liberation of mind, liberation by wisdom, and having entered upon it, dwells in it.’ Thus in that moment, that instant, the proclamation spreads as far as the Brahmā realms.

“This is the spiritual majesty of a person who has taken refuge in the Three Jewels, who reflects deeply on teachings of the Buddha, who puts them into practice with confidence and diligence, who attains wisdom, and for whom the āsavas are destroyed.”

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