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Academic Sutta Name Notes PSA Plae Vagga Nikaya PTS Keywords

IX:3 A female deva attends to Maha Kassapa

At one time, Venerable Maha Kassapa stayed in the Pipphali cave and maintained sustained absorption in concentration (samapatti) for seven days. Soon after he had arisen from samapatti, and wishing to give someone a chance to offer something to a holy man just arisen from samapatti, he saw a young maid cooking her food. So he stood at her door for almsfood. When the young maid saw the Elder, her whole body was suffused with delightful joy and happiness. Respectfully she said, 'Venerable Sir, with this humble offering of mine, may I be able to realise the Truth.' 'So be it,' replied Kassapa when expressing his appreciation (anumodana).

Later, she was bitten by a poisonous snake and died. She was reborn as a deva in Tavatimsa heaven and was lavishly bestowed with the luxuries of the heavenly world.

The deva realised that she was reborn in Tavatimsa because she had offered almsfood to Kassapa and felt very grateful to him. Then she decided to keep on doing meritorious deeds in order to make her good fortune more enduring. So every morning she went to the monastery and swept the premises, filled up water pots, and did other services. At first, Kassapa thought that young novices had done those services. One day, however, he discovered that a female deva had been performing those services. So he advised her not to come to the monastery again, as people might start talking if she was often seen at the monastery. She was very upset and pleaded with him and cried, 'Please don't destroy my riches, my wealth.'

The Buddha heard her cries and sent forth his radiance and consoled her saying that although meritorious deeds are very important, as a young girl it is not advisable for her to come alone and do all the activities in the monastery.

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

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Last modified on: Sunday, 13 August 2000.