I’m looking for a sutta that mentions the ability to propel your rebirth into a heavenly realm conducive for dhamma practice. This is a sutta that Pureland Buddhists often refer to. Help?
There’s AN 4.191 which says if you learn the Dhamma well in this life, this will be for your benefit when you are reborn in heaven. But I have no idea if this is what Pure Land Buddhism likes to refer to.
Other Suttas talk of the “the way to rebirth in the company of Brahmā”, like AN 6.54, AN 7.66 and 7.73, and DN 19. Again, no idea if this has anything to do with what they talk about in Pure Land Buddhism. In these Suttas there’s not even mention of practicing the Dhamma in this Brahma realm, as they are mostly in a pre-Buddhist context.
It’s well possible that the Sutta you are looking for dates from a later period and is not included in the EBTs.
I’ve often seen Pure Landers quoting the very last part of the Alagaddūpamasutta.
“Bhikkhus, the Dhamma well proclaimed by me thus is clear, open, evident, and free of patchwork. In the Dhamma well proclaimed by me thus, which is clear, open, evident, and free of patchwork, those who have sufficient faith in me, sufficient love for me, are all headed for heaven.”
Another, though it’s not specifically about rebirth in heaven, is Dhammapada 106-8
Though month after month for a hundred years one should offer sacrifices by the thousands, yet if only for a moment one should worship those of perfected minds that honor is indeed better than a century of sacrifice.
Though for a hundred years one should tend the sacrificial fire in the forest, yet if only for a moment one should worship those of perfected minds, that worship is indeed better than a century of sacrifice.
Whatever gifts and oblations one seeking merit might offer in this world for a whole year, all that is not worth one fourth of the merit gained by revering the Upright Ones, which is truly excellent.
In Theravada the human plane is most profitable for practice, so no suttas recommend otherwise:
“Although humans appear to be rather low on the scale, many intelligent deities long for rebirth on the human plane. Why? Because the best opportunity to practice the Dhamma and attain liberation is right here on earth. On the lower four planes, little progress can be made as suffering is gross and unrelenting and the opportunity to perform deeds of merit is rarely gained. The very bliss of the higher planes beclouds the universal characteristics of all phenomena: impermanence, unsatisfactoriness, and the lack of any lasting, controlling self. And without fully comprehending these principles, there is no motivation to develop the detachment from the world that is essential to liberation.”—"Teacher of the Devas "—Jootla
You got to the heart of my question. I should have mentioned I was looking for suttas that are specifically EBT, with the intention of investigating why Pure Land Buddhists practice the way that they do.
I will have a read through the shared suttas later today.
Thank you Venerable
Sādhu x3 Thank you for this wonderful reference
I have only little knowledge of the Pure Land. According to the EBTs, the four brahmaviharas are the main practice in order to be reborn in the higher heavens. However, this dhamma practice needs to be perfected in the human realm. If not becoming an arahant as a human then there are chances to attain nibbana in the Brahma world and beyond. The place of rebirth depends on the qualities of the mind, which are to be developed in the here and now and according to the noble eightfold path.
“An ordinary person stays there until the lifespan of those gods is spent, then they go to hell or the animal realm or the ghost realm.”
“But a disciple of the Buddha stays there until the lifespan of those gods is spent, then they’re extinguished in that very life.”
According to SN 55.34-35 = SA 847-848, the Buddha teaches “the four deva-paths to the heavens” (cattari devanam deva-padani). The four deva-paths are:
Definite faith (aveccappasada) in the Buddha, the dhamma, the Sangha, and the noble morality (i.e. the five precepts).
The texts then add that the devas who has non-malice (abyapajjha) as the highest: