T 1670B Nāgasena Bhikṣu Sūtra

Part 2: Dialogues

2.22. Will Nāgasena be Reborn?

The king asked, “Will you, Nāgasena, be reborn in the next life?”

Nāgasena replied, “Great king, what is the use of asking that question again? Have I not already told you that if I have craving in my heart when I die, I shall be reborn. If I have no craving, I shall not be reborn. It is like a man who renders his service to the king exhaustively. The king knows that the man is good and so bestows on him money and materials. Having got the money and materials, the man, having used them to buy clothes and food and drinks for himself, enjoys all the pleasures of the senses, should then publicly declare, ‘I have done great service to the king, but the king pays me naught.’”

Then Nāgasena asked the king, “If a man has received rewards, but says that he has received none, are the man’s words reliable?”

“No, not reliable.” replied the king.

“Thus I have told you, great king, if I have craving in my heart, I will be reborn in the next life. If I have no craving in my heart, I will not be reborn in the next life.”

“Excellent, Nāgasena.”