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Academic Sutta Name Notes PSA Plae Vagga Nikaya PTS Keywords

I:2 Why cry for the moon? (Mattha Kundali)

Mattha Kundali was a young brahmin, whose father was very stingy and never gave anything in charity. Even the gold ornaments for his only son were made by himself to save payment for workmanship. When his son was suffering from jaundice, no physician was consulted until it was too late. When he realised that his son was dying, he had the youth carried outside to the verandah so that people coming to his house would not see his possessions.

On that morning, the Buddha arising early from his deep meditation of compassion, saw, in his Net of Knowledge, Mattha Kundali lying in the verandah. So when entering Savatthi for almsfood with his disciples, the Buddha stood near the door of Mattha Kundali's house. The Buddha sent forth a ray of light to attract the attention of the youth, who was facing the interior of the house. The youth saw the Buddha. He was very weak and he could only profess his faith but he thereby gained some happiness. But that was enough. When he passed away with his heart in devotion to the Buddha he was reborn in the Tavatimsa celestial world.

From his celestial abode he saw his father mourning over him at the cemetery and appeared to the old man in the likeness of his old self. He told his father about his rebirth in the Tavatimsa world and advised him to approach the Buddha, offer alms and listen to the Buddha's sermon. The old man did as he was told and after the sermon, the question was brought up as to whether one could be reborn in a celestial world simply by mentally professing profound faith in the Buddha, without practising charity or observing the moral precepts. So the Buddha willed that Mattha Kundali should appear in person. Mattha Kundali appeared in his celestial glory and told them about his rebirth in the Tavatimsa world. Only then did the listeners become convinced that the young man had attained much glory by simply devoting his mind to the Buddha.

At the end of the discourse, the old man realised the Dhamma and donated most of his wealth to the cause of the Dhamma.

55/170 Dhammapada & Commentary Khuddhaka J.i.106ff. despair

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Last modified on: Sunday, 13 August 2000.