DN17.8. Rebirth in the Brahmā Realm

Mahasudassana Sutta ("King Mahāsudassana")

Not long after that, King Mahāsudassana passed away. And the feeling he had close to death was like a householder or their child falling asleep after eating a delectable meal.

When he passed away King Mahāsudassana was reborn in a good place, a Brahmā realm. Ānanda, King Mahāsudassana played children’s games for 84,000 years. He ruled as viceroy for 84,000 years. He ruled as king for 84,000 years. He led the spiritual life as a layman in the Palace of Principle for 84,000 years. And having developed the four Brahmā meditations, when his body broke up, after death, he was reborn in a good place, a Brahmā realm.

Now, Ānanda, you might think: ‘Surely King Mahāsudassana must have been someone else at that time?’ But you should not see it like that. I myself was King Mahāsudassana at that time.

Mine were the 84,000 cities, with the royal capital of Kusāvatī foremost. And mine were all the other possessions.

Of those 84,000 cities, I only stayed in one, the capital Kusāvatī. Of those 84,000 mansions, I only dwelt in one, the Palace of Principle. Of those 84,000 chambers, I only dwelt in the great foyer. Of those 84,000 couches, I only used one, made of gold or silver or ivory or heartwood. Of those 84,000 bull elephants, I only rode one, the royal bull elephant named Sabbath. Of those 84,000 horses, I only rode one, the royal horse named Thundercloud. Of those 84,000 chariots, I only rode one, the chariot named Triumph. Of those 84,000 women, I was only served by one, a maiden of the aristocratic or merchant classes. Of those 8,400,000,000 cloths, I only wore one pair, made of fine linen, cotton, silk, or wool. Of those 84,000 servings of food, I only had one, eating at most a serving of rice and suitable sauce.

See, Ānanda! All those conditioned phenomena have passed, ceased, and perished. So impermanent are conditions, so unstable are conditions, so unreliable are conditions. This is quite enough for you to become disillusioned, dispassionate, and freed regarding all conditions.

Six times, Ānanda, I recall having laid down my body at this place. And the seventh time was as a wheel-turning monarch, a just and principled king, at which time my dominion extended to all four sides, I achieved stability in the country, and I possessed the seven treasures. But Ānanda, I do not see any place in this world with its gods, Māras, and Brahmās, this population with its ascetics and brahmins, its gods and humans where the Realized One would lay down his body for the eighth time.”

That is what the Buddha said. Then the Holy One, the Teacher, went on to say:

“Oh! Conditions are impermanent,
their nature is to rise and fall;
having arisen, they cease;
their stilling is true bliss.”

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