DN18.3. Janavasabha the Spirit

Janavasabha Sutta ("With Janavasabha")

“Then, Ānanda an invisible spirit called out: ‘I am Janavasabha, Blessed One! I am Janavasabha, Holy One!’ Ānanda, do you recall having previously heard such a name as Janavasabha?”

“No, sir. But when I heard the word, I got goosebumps! I thought, ‘This must be no ordinary spirit to bear such an exalted name as Janavasabha.’”

“After making himself heard while invisible, Ānanda, a very beautiful spirit appeared in front of me. And for a second time he called out: ‘I am Bimbisāra, Blessed One! I am Bimbisāra, Holy One! This is the seventh time I have been reborn in the company of the Great King Vessavaṇa. After passing away from there, I am now able to become a king of non-humans.

Seven from here, seven from there—
fourteen transmigrations in all.
That’s how many past lives
I can recollect.

For a long time I’ve known that I won’t be reborn in the underworld, but that I still hope to become a once-returner.’

‘It’s incredible and amazing that you, the venerable spirit Janavasabha, should say:

“For a long time I’ve been aware that I won’t be reborn in the underworld” and also “But I still hope to become a once-returner.” But from what source do you know that you’ve achieved such a high distinction?’

‘None other than the Blessed One’s instruction! None other than the Holy One’s instruction! From the day I had absolute devotion to the Buddha I have known that I won’t be reborn in the underworld, but that I still hope to become a once-returner. Just now, sir, I had been sent out by the great king Vessavaṇa to the great king Virūḷhaka’s presence on some business, and on the way I saw the Buddha giving his attention to the fate of the Magadhan devotees. But it comes as no surprise that I have heard and learned the fate of the Magadhan devotees in the presence of the great king Vessavaṇa as he was speaking to his assembly. It occurred to me, “I shall see the Buddha and inform him of this.” These are the two reasons I’ve come to see the Buddha.

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