Miscellaneous Treasures Sutra, Vol. 5
According to the custom of southern India, the unmarried girls in a family must get up early every day to clean the family courtyard and the porches. One day, a daughter from a good family woke up early to sweep the floor. She happened to see the Buddha, who was walking past the front of the house. This girl was so happy that she fixed her gaze at the Buddha. Her life was very short, and she was reborn into the heavenly realms immediately after her death.
Those who are born into the heavenly realms generally have the ability to know three things about their birth. The first is the kind of sentient being they were originally born as. They will immediately know that they were born as a human being. The second is where they are now. They will ascertain that they were born into the heavenly realms. The third is the karmic actions that they did in their previous life that led them to be born into the heavenly realms. The girl mentioned earlier instantly knew that it was her great wholesome deed of rejoicing in seeing the Buddha that caused her to receive the retribution of rebirth into the heavenly realms.
To show her appreciation for the Buddha’s great benevolence, this celestial girl came to the Buddha to make offerings. The Buddha taught her the Dharma, and she was able to eliminate her self-view and to attain srotaapanna. At that time, many monks did not understand what had happened, so they asked the Buddha, “What enabled this person to be born into the heavenly realms and to receive the retribution of realizing the Path to Liberation?” In reply, the Buddha said, “When this celestial girl was in the human world in her previous life, she got up early every day to sweep the floor. One day, she happened to meet me when I, Sakyamuni Tathagata, passed by her house. She rejoiced in seeing me. Due to this wholesome deed, she was reborn into the heavenly realms after her death. Furthermore, she came to make offerings and hear the teachings of the Path of Dharma from me, the Tathagata. This explains why she realized the fruition.”
This article is an excerpt from the Electronic Journal of True Enlightenment, Issue 96