A wise lay-disciple, Mahānāma, who is sick ...should be admonished by another wise lay-disciple with the four comfortable assurances, thus: “Take comfort, dear sir, in your unwavering loyalty to the Buddha, saying: He is the Exalted One, Arahat, fully enlightened One ...Teacher of devas and mankind, a Buddha, an Exalted One. Take comfort, dear sir, in your unwavering loyalty to the Dhamma, thus: Well proclaimed is the Dhamma ...Take comfort, dear sir, in your unwavering loyalty to the Sangha ...Take comfort, dear sir, in your possession of the virtues dear to the Ariyans...” A wise lay-disciple, Mahānāma, who is sick ...should be admonished by another wise lay-disciple with these four comfortable assurances.Then, supposing he has longing for his parents, he should thus be spoken to:If he say: ”I have longing for my parents”, the other should reply: “But, my dear sir, you are subject to death. Whether you feel longing for your parents or not, you will have to die. It were just as well for you to abandon the longing you have for your parents.”If he should say: “That longing for my parents is now abandoned,” the other should reply: “Yet, my dear sir, you still have longing for your children. As you must die in any case, it were just as well for you to abandon that longing for your children.”If he should say: “That longing for my children is now abandoned,” the other should reply: “Yet, my dear sir, you still have longing for the five human pleasures of sense.”Then, if he say, “That longing for the five human pleasures of sense is now abandoned,” the other should reply: “My friend, the heavenly delights are more excellent than the five human pleasures of sense. It were well for you, worthy sir, to remove your thoughts from them and fix them upon the Four Deva Kings.”Suppose the sick man say, “My thoughts are removed from human pleasures of sense and fixed upon the Four Deva Kings,” then let the other say: “More excellent than the Four Deva Kings and more choice are the Suite of the Thirty-three ...the Yama Devas, the Devas of Delight, the Creative Devas ...the Devas who rejoice in the work of other devas ...the latter are more excellent and choice than the former ...so it were better for you to fix your thoughts on the Brahma World.”Then if the sick man’s thoughts are so fixed, let the other say: “My friend, even the Brahma World is impermanent, not lasting, prisoned in a person. Well for you, friend, if you raise your mind above the Brahma World and fix it on cessation from the person pack (88).And if the sick man say he has done so, then, Mahānāma, I declare that there is no difference between the lay-disciple who thus avers and the monk whose heart is freed from the āsavas, that is, between the release of the one and the release of the other.
...The Exalted One proceeded with a great company of the monks to Kotigāma; and there he stayed in the village itself.And at that place the Exalted One addressed the monks, and said: “It is through not understanding and grasping four Ariyan Truths, O monks, that we have had to run so long, to wander so long in this weary path of rebirth, both you and I!”“And what are these four?”“The Ariyan truth about dukkha; the Ariyan truth about the cause of dukkha; the Ariyan truth about the cessation of dukkha; and the Ariyan truth about the path that leads to that cessation. But when these Ariyan truths are grasped and known the craving for future life is rooted out, that which leads to renewed becoming is destroyed, and then there is no more birth!”