Gilaana dassanam Sutta
Gilaana-dassana.m Sutta: Seeing the Sick (Citta)
translated from the Pali by
Maurice O'Connell Walshe
At that time Citta the householder was a sick man, suffering from a serious illness. Then a number of devas that dwell in gardens, forests and trees, the devas of healing herbs and of great trees in the forest, gathered together and said to Citta the householder: "Make a resolve, householder: 'In some future time may I be a king, a world-ruler!'"
"What have I said that makes you tell me to set up mindfulness and not to ramble?"
"Why, sir, you just said: 'That is something impermanent, something to be rejected and passed over.'"
"This is what those devas thought: 'This householder Citta is a virtuous man, of noble disposition. If he makes a resolve that in some future time he may be a king, a world-ruler, this will be profitable to that virtuous man, having made such a resolve with a pure heart, and will bring the just man a just and great reward...' So then I said, 'That is something impermanent, something to be rejected and passed over.'"
1. A whole Samyutta (SN 41) is devoted to this householder (see also Vol. II, No 23), who is held up as a model layman in SN 17.23 (not translated here). His name is not the same as citta "mind," but means "bright, shining."
2. Cakkavatti lit. "a wheel-turning monarch," the Indian term for a universal ruler. This was what Gotama could have become if he had not become a Buddha. The devas are aware of Citta's great virtues (though they possibly exaggerate in thinking he could become a world-ruler!), but are not wise enough to think of his spiritual progress (cf. SN 1.20, n. 4).
3. Ayyaputta = Ariyaputta lit. "son of the Ariyans" (cf. SN 22.7, n. 1).