Samyukta Āgama (2) 51

Sakka Saṃyutta

A pauper is reborn in Tāvatiṃsa

Thus have I heard, once, the Buddha was staying in Rājagaha in the Bamboo Grove of Kalandaka.

At that time in Rājagaha there was a pauper. Extremely poor and pitiable, he nevertheless had pure faith in the teachings of the Buddha, could keep the precepts purely, recite the sutras a little, and even make some small offerings. Upon the breaking up of his body, after his death, he was reborn in Tāvatiṃsa, the most wonderful of all places, as the karmic result of these four things. As anewborn deva he was endowed with three superior things. First, he was of superior beauty. Second, he was of superior glory. Third, he was endowed with superior life-span. When the other devas saw this, they all admired him. They went to Sakka and said to him: “There is a newborn deva, who is superior to us other devas in three ways.” Sakka said: “I saw this newborn deva in his former existence. Formally, as a human being, he was poor and deprived, extremely wretched. However, he straightforwardly held faith in the three jewels, kept the precepts purely, and even made some small donations. Now he is born into this Tāvatiṃsa heaven.”

Then Sakka spoke this verse:

“If a person has pure faith in the three jewels, /
if his mind is stable and unwavering,
if he keeps the precepts he has undertaken, not breaking them: /
know that this person should not be called poor.

He should be called wise and long-lived. /
Through venerating the unsurpassable three jewels,
He will be reborn in heaven and attain great bliss. /
Therefore one should train in this way.”

When the devas heard this verse, they were happy, received it in faith, paid their respects and returned to their palaces.