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With Jāṇussoṇi —Bhikkhu Sujato

Numbered Discourses 10

17. With Jāṇussoṇi

177. With Jāṇussoṇi

1.1Then the brahmin Jāṇussoṇi went up to the Buddha, and exchanged greetings with him.

1.2When the greetings and polite conversation were over, he sat down to one side and said to the Buddha, 2.1“We who are known as brahmins 2.2give gifts and perform memorial rites for the dead: 2.3‘May this gift aid my departed relatives and family. May they partake of this gift.’ 2.4But does this gift really aid departed relatives and family? 2.5Do they actually partake of it?”

2.6“It aids them if the conditions are right, brahmin, but not if the conditions are wrong.”

3.1“Then, Master Gotama, what are the right and wrong conditions?”

3.2“Brahmin, take someone who kills living creatures, steals, and commits sexual misconduct. They use speech that’s false, divisive, harsh, or nonsensical. And they’re covetous, malicious, with wrong view. 3.3When their body breaks up, after death, they’re reborn in hell. 3.4There they survive feeding on the food of the hell beings. 3.5The conditions there are wrong, so the gift does not aid the one who lives there.

4.1Take someone else who kills living creatures … and has wrong view. 4.2When their body breaks up, after death, they’re reborn in the animal realm. 4.3There they survive feeding on the food of the beings in the animal realm. 4.4The conditions there too are wrong, so the gift does not aid the one who lives there.

5.1Take someone else who doesn’t kill living creatures, steal, commit sexual misconduct, or use speech that’s false, divisive, harsh, or nonsensical. They're contented, kind-hearted, and have right view. 5.2When their body breaks up, after death, they’re reborn in the human realm. 5.3There they survive feeding on human food. 5.4The conditions there too are wrong, so the gift does not aid the one who lives there.

6.1Take someone else who doesn’t kill living creatures … and has right view. 6.2When their body breaks up, after death, they’re reborn in the company of the gods. 6.3There they survive feeding on the food of the gods. 6.4The conditions there too are wrong, so the gift does not aid the one who lives there.

7.1Take someone else who kills living creatures … and has wrong view. 7.2When their body breaks up, after death, they’re reborn in the ghost realm. 7.3There they survive feeding on the food of the beings in the ghost realm. Or else they survive feeding on what friends and colleagues, relatives and kin provide them with from here. 7.4The conditions there are right, so the gift aids the one who lives there.”

8.1“But Master Gotama, who partakes of that gift if the departed relative is not reborn in that place?”

8.2“Other departed relatives reborn there will partake of that gift.”

9.1“But who partakes of the gift when neither that relative nor other relatives have been reborn in that place?”

9.2“It’s impossible, brahmin, it cannot happen that that place is vacant of departed relatives in all this long time. 9.3It’s never fruitless for the donor.”

10.1“Does Master Gotama propose this even when the conditions are wrong?”

10.2“I propose this even when the conditions are wrong. 10.3Take someone who kills living creatures, steals, and commits sexual misconduct. They use speech that’s false, divisive, harsh, or nonsensical. And they’re covetous, malicious, with wrong view. 10.4They give to ascetics or brahmins such things as food, drink, clothing, vehicles; garlands, perfumes, and makeup; and bed, house, and lighting. 10.5When their body breaks up, after death, they’re reborn in the company of elephants. 10.6There they get to have food and drink, garlands and various adornments.

11.1Since in this life they killed living creatures … and had wrong view, they were reborn in the company of elephants. 11.2Since they gave to ascetics or brahmins … they get to have food and drink, garlands and various adornments.

12.1Take someone else who kills living creatures … and has wrong view. 12.2They give to ascetics or brahmins … 12.3When their body breaks up, after death, they’re reborn in the company of horses. … 12.4cattle … 12.5dogs. 12.6There they get to have food and drink, garlands and various adornments.

13.1Since in this life they killed living creatures … and had wrong view, they were reborn in the company of dogs. 13.2Since they gave to ascetics or brahmins … they get to have food and drink, garlands and various adornments.

14.1Take someone else who doesn’t kill living creatures, steal, or commit sexual misconduct. They don’t use speech that’s false, divisive, harsh, or nonsensical. And they’re contented, kind-hearted, with right view. 14.2They give to ascetics or brahmins … 14.3When their body breaks up, after death, they’re reborn in the human realm. 14.4There they get to have the five kinds of human sensual stimulation.

15.1Since in this life they didn’t kill living creatures … and had right view, they were reborn in the company of humans. 15.2Since they gave to ascetics or brahmins … they get to have the five kinds of human sensual stimulation.

16.1Take someone else who doesn’t kill living creatures … and has right view. 16.2They give to ascetics or brahmins … 16.3When their body breaks up, after death, they’re reborn in the company of the gods. 16.4There they get to have the five kinds of heavenly sensual stimulation.

17.1Since in this life they didn’t kill living creatures … and had right view, they were reborn in the company of the gods. 17.2Since they gave to ascetics or brahmins … they get to have the five kinds of heavenly sensual stimulation. 17.3It’s never fruitless for the donor.”

18.1“It’s incredible, Master Gotama, it’s amazing, 18.2Just this much is quite enough to justify giving gifts and performing memorial rites for the dead, since it’s never fruitless for the donor.”

18.3“That’s so true, brahmin. It’s never fruitless for the donor.”

19.1“Excellent, Master Gotama! Excellent! … 19.2From this day forth, may Master Gotama remember me as a lay follower who has gone for refuge for life.”

19.3