Sick  (Citta the Householder’s Last Hours)
Gilāna Sutta  (SN 41:10)

On that occasion Citta the householder was diseased, in pain, severely ill. Then a large number of garden deities, forest deities, tree deities, and deities inhabiting herbs, grasses, & forest giants assembled and said to him: “Make a wish, householder: ‘In the future, may I become a king, a wheel-turning monarch!’”

When this was said, Citta the householder said to the garden deities, forest deities, tree deities, and deities inhabiting herbs, grasses, & forest giants: “Even that is inconstant; even that is impermanent; one must abandon even that when one passes on.”

When this was said, Citta the householder’s friends & companions, relatives and kinsmen, said to him: “Steady your mindfulness, master. Don’t ramble.”

“What did I say that you say to me: ‘Steady your mindfulness, master. Don’t ramble’?”

“You said: ‘Even that is inconstant; even that is impermanent; one must abandon even that when one passes on.’”

“That was because garden deities, forest deities, tree deities, and deities inhabiting herbs, grasses, & forest giants have assembled and said to me: ‘Make a wish, householder: “In the future, may I become a king, a wheel-turning monarch!”’ And I said to them: ‘Even that is inconstant; even that is impermanent; one must abandon even that when one passes on.’”

“But what compelling reason do those garden deities, forest deities, tree deities, and deities inhabiting herbs, grasses, & forest giants see, master, that they say to you, ‘Make a wish, householder: “In the future, may I become a king, a wheel-turning monarch!”’?”

“It occurs to them: ‘This Citta the householder is virtuous, of admirable character. If he should wish: “In the future, may I become a king, a wheel-turning monarch!”—then, as he is virtuous, this wish of his would succeed because of the purity of his virtue. A righteous one, he will wield righteous power.’1 Seeing this compelling reason, they assembled and said: ‘Make a wish, householder: “In the future, may I become a king, a wheel-turning monarch!”’ And I said to them: ‘Even that is inconstant; even that is impermanent; one must abandon even that when one passes on.’”

“Then, master, instruct us, too.”

“Then you should train yourselves: ‘We will be endowed with verified confidence in the Buddha: “Indeed, the Blessed One [the Buddha] is pure & rightly self-awakened, consummate in clear-knowing & conduct, well-gone, an expert with regard to the cosmos, unexcelled trainer of people fit to be tamed, teacher of devas & human beings, awakened, blessed.”

“‘We will be endowed with verified confidence in the Dhamma: “The Dhamma is well taught by the Blessed One, to be seen here & now, timeless, inviting verification, pertinent, to be experienced by the observant for themselves.”

“‘We will be possessed of verified confidence in the Saṅgha: “The Saṅgha of the Blessed One’s disciples who have practiced well…who have practiced straight-forwardly…who have practiced methodically…who have practiced masterfully—in other words, the four types (of noble disciples) when taken as pairs, the eight when taken as individual types—they are the Saṅgha of the Blessed One’s disciples: deserving of gifts, deserving of hospitality, deserving of offerings, deserving of respect, the incomparable field of merit for the world.”

“‘Whatever there may be in our family that can be given away, all that will be shared unstintingly with virtuous ones who are of admirable character.’ That’s how you should train yourselves.”

Then, having enjoined his friends & colleagues, his relatives & kinsmen, to place confidence in the Buddha, Dhamma, & Saṅgha; having exhorted them to undertake generosity, Citta the householder passed away.

Note

1. The translation of this sentence follows the reading in the Royal Thai edition of the Canon: Dhammiko dhammikaṁ balaṁ anuppadassati.