Planes of Existence - The four comfortable assurances
We read in the 'Kindred Sayings' (V, Mahā-vagga, Kindred Sayings on Stream- Winning, Ch.VI, par. 4, Visiting the sick) that the Buddha spoke to Mahānāma about the way a wise lay-follower who is sick should be admonished by another wise lay-follower. We read:

 

A wise lay-disciple, Mahānāma,

who is sick...should be admonished by another wise lay-disciple

with the four comfortable assurances,

thus: 'Take comfort, dear sir, in your unwavering loyalty

to the Buddha,

to the Dhamma,

to the Sangha...

Take comfort, dear sir, in your possession of the virtues

dear to the Ariyans...' 

A wise lay-disciple, Mahānāma,

who is sick... should be admonished by another wise lay-disciple

with these four comfortable assurances.

 

Then, supposing he has longing for his parents,

he should thus be spoken to:

If he say: 'I have longing for my parents',

the other should reply: 'But, my dear sir, your are subject to death.

Whether you feel longing for your parents or not, you will have to die.

It were just as well for you to abandon the longing

you have for your parents.'

If he should say: 'That longing for my parents is now abandoned,'

the other should reply: 'Yet, my dear sir,

you still have longing for your children.

As you must die in any case,

it were just as well for you to abandon that longing for your children.'

If he should say: 'That longing for my children is now abandoned,'

the other should reply: 'Yet, my dear sir,

you still have longing for the five human pleasures of sense.'

Then, if he say,

'That longing for the five human pleasures of sense is now abandoned,'

the other should reply: 'My friend,

the heavenly delights are more excellent than the five human pleasures of sense.

It were well for you, worthy sir,

to remove your thoughts from them and fix them on the Four Deva Kings.'

Suppose the sick man say,

'My thoughts are removed from human pleasures of sense

and fixed upon the Four Deva Kings,'

then let the other say: 'More excellent than the Four Deva Kings

and more choice are the Suite of the Thirty-three...

the Creative Devas... the Devas who rejoice in the work of other devas...

the latter are more excellent and choice than the former...

so it were better for you to fix your thoughts on the Brahmā World.'

Then if the sick man's thoughts are so fixed,

let the other say: 'My friend, even the Brahmā World is impermanent,

not lasting, prisoned in a person.

Well for you, friend, if you raise your mind above the Brahma World

and fix it on cessation from the person-pack.' 

And if the sick man says he has done so, then, Mahānāma,

I declare that there is no difference between the lay-disciple

who thus avers and the monk whose heart is freed from the āsavas,

that is, between the release of the one and the release of the other.


Topic ID  193
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