Once the Buddha resided in Niguyu garden located in Kapilavadhu City, Mahanama who was one of the Buddha’s cousins, came to visit the Buddha. He paid homage to the Buddha and sit down.
He raised a question to the Buddha, “The World Honored One, the City of Kapilavadhu is prosperous. There are many people living here. The streets are always crowded. Though I was protected by many guards and attendants from the unbridled animals, unruly people and all different kinds of vehicles, I am still frightened by this chaos. I fear that I will lose my focus on being mindful of the Buddha, the Dharma, and the Sangha. A question occurs to me; Where will I be reborn when I die if I lose my focus on being mindful of the Buddha, the Dharma, and the Sangha?”
The Buddha told Mahanama, “Don’t be afraid. You won’t be reborn in the lower realms after you die. For example, when a big tree falls, what direction will it lean toward?”
Mahanama answered, “This big tree will lean to the side where many branches grow.”
The Buddha said, “So do you. After you die you won’t plunge to wretched realms if you have no sins because you abide in the Buddha, the Dharma, and the Sangha. You are mindful of the Three Jewels day and night. Even when your physical body dies, it’s cremated into ash, or thrown into a graveyard and beaten by the weather; finally it turns to dust and is blown away by the wind. Never the less, your mind dwells in the right faith constantly and consistently. When you are still alive, you uphold the pure precepts, practice giving, listen to the Dharma at the monastery, and carry out appropriate practices in your daily life. Gradually you meditate and contemplate the profound meanings of the Dharma. You obtain the virtues of faith, precepts, giving, listening and wisdom. With these virtues and your good deeds, when you body is passing away, your consciousness will head for the realm of peace and joy, and be reborn in the heavens.”
After Mahanama listened to the Buddha’s Dharma talk, he was filled with brightness and hope for his future lifetimes. He paid homage to the Buddha with great joy and left.