For beginners to Buddhism, the concept of heaven after death seem so appealing, but Buddhism talks about enlightenment all the time. What if I do not become enlightened in this life? Will I be losing out on heaven?
To answer this question, we just need to refer to The Story of Matthakundali inDhammapada verse 2.
This happened while Buddha was residing in Jetavana monastery in Savatthi.
Mattakundali’s father was a rich man but extremely miserly. When Mattakundali got ill, his father was too miserly to engage a doctor. And when his illness became too serious and incurable, his father placed Mattakundali outside on the verandah so that visiting relatives and friends would not see his stuffs inside the house!
The Buddha who was aware of all this, came to Mattakundali’s house and stood by the gate. As Mattakundali was facing the interior of his house, Buddha sent forth rays of light to attract his attention. When Mattakundali turned around and behold the splendid form of Buddha emitting light from His body, he became filled with faith. It was with joy and faith in mind that Mattakundali took refuge in Buddha and passed away peacefully. Thus, he was reborn in Tavatimsa Heaven.
When the question of whether a person can be reborn in heaven simply due to faith in Buddha was brought up by one of the disciple, Buddha willed Mattakundali to appear in the assembly to provide testimony. The appearance of the divine Mattakundali and his recollection of how he gained rebirth in heaven made everyone in the assembly (including Mattakundali’s miserly father) joyous and filled with faith in Buddha.
Thus, Buddha spoke the following verse in return
Verse 2: All mental phenomena have mind as their forerunner; they have mind as their chief; they are mind-made. If one speaks or acts with a pure mind, happiness (sukha) follows him like a shadow that never leaves him.
After this utterance, Mattakundali and his father, Adinnapubbaka attained Sotapatti Magga and Sotapatti Phala. Adinnapubbaka also donated almost all his wealth to the cause of the Buddha’s Teaching.
May all be well and happy
Categories: Shakyamuni Buddha