Rebirth by Intention

Saṅkhārupapatti (MN 120)

I heard thus. At one time the Blessed One lived in the monastery offered by Anāthapiṇḍika in Jeta's grove in Sāvatthi. The Blessed One addressed the bhikkus there: ‘Bhikkhus, I will speak of rebirth by intention, listen carefully with attention.’ Those bhikkhus agreed and the Blessed One said:
‘Bhikkhus, here a bhikkhu is endowed with faith, virtues, learning, generosity and wisdom. It occurs to the bhikkhu, “O! May I be born with the high warriors at the breakup of the body, after death.” He bears it in the mind, directs thoughts to it, develops that thought. Those intentions and that abiding, developed and made much, conduces to be born there. This is the path and method to be born there.
‘Again, bhikkhus, the bhikkhu is endowed with faith, virtues, learning, generosity and wisdom. It occurs to the bhikkhu, “O! May I be born with the high brahmins, … high middle class, at the breakup of the body, after death.” He bears it in the mind, directs thoughts to it, develops that thought, and those intentions. That abiding, developed and made much, conduces to be born there. This is the path and method to be born there.
‘Again, bhikkhus, the bhikkhu is endowed with faith, virtues, learning, generosity and wisdom. It occurs to the bhikkhu, “O! May I be born with the four guardian gods with long life, beauty and much happiness, at the breakup of the body, after death.” He bears it in the mind, directs his thoughts to it, develops that thought, and those intentions. That abiding, developed and made much, conduces to be born with the guardian gods with long life, beauty and much happiness. This is the path and method to be born there.
‘Again, bhikkhus, the bhikkhu is endowed with faith, virtues, learning, generosity and wisdom. It occurs to the bhikkhu, “O! May I be born with the company of gods of the thirty-three. … with the Yāma gods, … with the happy gods, … with the gods who delight in creating, … with the gods who delight in the creations of others, with long life, beauty and much happiness, at the breakup of the body, after death.” He bears it in the mind, directs thoughts to it, develops that thought, and those intentions. That abiding, developed and made much, conduces to be born with the gods who delight in the creations of others, with long life, beauty and much happiness. This is the path and method to be born there.
‘Again, bhikkhus, the bhikkhu is endowed with faith, virtues, learning, generosity and wisdom. The bhikkhu learns, “Brahmā of a Thousand wields power over the thousandfold world systems, with long life, beauty and much happiness. He wields power over those born there. Like a wise man drawing a circle on his palm would reflect, in the same manner Sahasa Brahmā wields power over the thousandfold world systems and wields power over those born there.” It occurs to him. “O! May I be born with Sahasā Brahma at the breakup of the body, after death.” He bears that mind, directs thoughts to it, develops that thought, and those intentions. That abiding, developed and made much, conduces to be born with Sahasā Brahmā, who wields power over the thousandfold world systems, with long life, beauty and much happiness. This is the path and method to be born there.
‘Again, bhikkhus, the bhikkhu is endowed with faith, virtues, learning, generosity and wisdom. The bhikkhu learns, “Brahmā of Two Thousand …” “Brahmā of Three Thousand …” “Brahmā of Four Thousand, …” … “Brahmā of Five Thousand wields power over the five thousandfold world systems, with long life, beauty and much happiness. He wields power over those born there. Like a wise man drawing five circles on his palm would reflect, in the same manner Brahmā of Five Thousand wields power over the thousandfold world systems and wields power over those born there. It occurs to him. “O! May I be born with Panca Sahasā Brahma at the breakup of the body, after death.” He bears that mind, directs thoughts to it and develops that thought. Those intentions and that abiding, developed and made much, conduces to be born with Brahmā of Five Thousand, who wields power over the five thousandfold world systems, with long life, beauty and much happiness. This is the path and method to be born there.
‘Again, bhikkhus, the bhikkhu is endowed with faith, virtues, learning, generosity and wisdom. The bhikkhu learns, “Brahmā of Ten Thousand wields power over the ten thousandfold world systems, with long life, beauty and much happiness. He wields power over those born there. like the welcome lapis gem with eight facets well completed placed on the yellow blanket would shne and emanate radiance in the same manner Brahmā of Ten Thousand wields power over the ten thousandfold world systems and wields power over those born there. It occurs to him. “O! May I be born with Brahmā of Ten Thousand at the breakup of the body, after death.” He bears that mind, directs thoughts to it, develops that thought. Those intentions and that abiding, developed and made much, conduces to be born with Brahmā of Ten Thousand, who wields power over the ten thousandfold world systems, with long life, beauty and much happiness. This is the path and method to be born there.
‘Again, bhikkhus, the bhikkhu is endowed with faith, virtues, learning, generosity and wisdom. The bhikkhu learns, “Brahmā of a Hundred Thousand wields power over the hundred thousandfold world systems, with long life, beauty and much happiness. He wields power over those born there. Like a clever goldsmith who would purify born gold putting it in the furnace and it would radiate light and heat placed on the orange blanket in the same manner Brahmā of a Hundred Thousand wields power over the ten thousandfold world systems and wields power over those born there. It occurs to him. “O! May I be born with Brahmā of a Hundred Thousand at the breakup of the body, after death.” He bears that mind, directs thoughts to it and develops that thought. Those intentions and that abiding, developed and made much, conduces to be born with Brahmā of a Hundred Thousand, who wields power over the hundred thousandfold world systems, with long life, beauty and much happiness. This is the path and method to be born there.
‘Again, bhikkhus, the bhikkhu is endowed with faith, virtues, learning, generosity and wisdom. The bhikkhu learns, that the gods with radiance, … with limited radiance, … limitless radiance, have long life, beauty and much happiness. It occurs to him. “O! May I be born with gods of limitless radiance with long life, beauty and much happiness.” This is the path and method to be born there.
‘Again, bhikkhus, the bhikkhu is endowed with faith, virtues, learning, generosity and wisdom. The bhikkhu learns, that gods with happiness, … with limited happiness, … limitless happiness, have long life, beauty and much happiness. It occurs to him. “O! May I be born with gods of limitless happiness with long life, beauty and much happiness. This is the path and method to be born there.
‘Again, bhikkhus, the bhikkhu is endowed with faith, virtues, learning, generosity and wisdom. The bhikkhu learns that gods of great fruit, … gods who are not cruel, … zealous gods, … gods that are easily seen … . gods of the highest order have long life, beauty and much happiness. It occurs to him. “O! May I be born with gods of the highest order with long life, beauty and much happiness.” This is the path and method to be born there.
‘Again, bhikkhus, the bhikkhu is endowed with faith, virtues, learning, generosity and wisdom. The bhikkhu learns, that gods of the realm of infinite space have a long life span and enjoy much happiness. It occurs to him. “O! May I be born with the gods of infinite space with long life, much happiness.” This is the path and method to be born there.
‘Again the bhikkhu is endowed with faith, virtues, learning, generosity and wisdom. The bhikkhu learns, that gods born in the realm of infinite consciousness … in the realm of nothingness, … in the realm of neither perception nor non perception have a long life span and enjoy much happiness. It occurs to him. “O! May I be born with gods in the realm of neither perception nor non perception with long life, much happiness.” This is the path and method to be born there.
‘Again the bhikkhu is endowed with faith, virtues, learning, generosity and wisdom. It occurs to the bhikkhu “O! With the ending of defilements, may I enter and abide in this very life in that undefiled release of the heart and release by wisdom, realizing it with my own direct knowledge.” Then with the ending of defilements, he enters and abides in this very life in that undefiled release of the heart and release by wisdom, realizing it with his own direct knowledge. And bhikkhus, that bhikkhu is not reborn anywhere.’
The Blessed One said thus, and those bhikkhus delighted in the words of the Blessed One.

Translated by Sister Uppalavaṇṇā. Text taken from metta.lk.
For this SuttaCentral edition, some modifications were made by Bhikkhu Sujato, 2014.
Prepared for SuttaCentral by Blake Walsh.

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