About Migāsālā
Migāsālāya Sutta  (AN 10:75)

On one occasion the Blessed One was staying near Sāvatthī in Jeta’s Grove, Anāthapiṇḍika’s monastery.

Then early in the morning, Ven. Ānanda—having adjusted his lower robe and carrying his bowl & outer robe—went to the house of the female lay follower Migāsālā. On arrival, he sat down on a seat made ready.

Then the female lay follower Migāsālā approached Ven. Ānanda and, on arrival, having bowed down to him, sat to one side. As she was sitting there, she said to Ven. Ānanda, “Venerable sir, how on earth should the Dhamma taught by the Blessed One be understood where one who practices celibacy and one who doesn’t practice celibacy would both have exactly the same destination in the next life? My father, Purāṇa, was one who practiced celibacy, living apart, abstaining from sexual intercourse, the vulgar act. When he had died, he was predicted by the Blessed One to be a once-returner, rearising in the company of the Contented (devas). My paternal uncle, Isidatta, did not practice celibacy and was content to live with his wife. And yet when he died, he too was predicted by the Blessed One to be a once-returner, rearising in the company of the Contented (devas). So how on earth should the Dhamma taught by the Blessed One be understood where one who practices celibacy and one who doesn’t practice celibacy would both have exactly the same destination in the next life?”

“But it was just as the Blessed One predicted, sister.”

Then Ven. Ānanda, after receiving alms at the house of the female lay follower Migāsālā, got up from his seat and left.

Then after his meal, returning from his alms round, Ven. Ānanda went to the Blessed One. On arrival, having bowed down to him, he sat to one side. As he was sitting there he (related his entire conversation with Migāsālā).

“But, Ānanda, who is this Migāsālā, foolish, incompetent, blind, with the discernment of the blind?1 And who are these people with knowledge of the course of other individuals?

“Ānanda, these ten individuals are to be found existing in the world. Which ten?

[1] “There is the case where one individual is unvirtuous and he doesn’t discern, as it has come to be, the awareness-release and discernment-release where that lack of virtue ceases without trace. He is unaccomplished in listening, unaccomplished in wide learning, and has not penetrated (the teachings) in terms of his views. He doesn’t gain occasional release.2 At the break-up of the body, after death, he heads for loss, not for distinction. He is one who goes to loss, not one who goes to distinction.

[2] “But then, Ānanda, there is the case where one individual is unvirtuous and yet he discerns, as it has come to be, the awareness-release and discernment-release where that lack of virtue ceases without trace. He is accomplished in listening, accomplished in wide learning, and has penetrated (the teachings) in terms of his views. He gains occasional release. At the break-up of the body, after death, he heads for distinction, not for loss. He is one who goes to distinction, not one who goes to loss.

“In this case, Ānanda, those who are measurers will measure: ‘This one has the same qualities as the other. Why should one of them be base and the other sublime?’ That will be for their [the measurers] long-term harm & suffering.

“In this case, Ānanda, the individual who is is unvirtuous and yet discerns, as it has come to be, the awareness-release and discernment-release where that lack of virtue ceases without trace; who is accomplished in listening, accomplished in wide learning, and has penetrated (the teachings) in terms of his views; who gains occasional release, is higher & more sublime than the other one. Why is that? Because the Dhamma-stream carries him along. But who would know this difference aside from a Tathāgata?

“Therefore, Ānanda, don’t be a measurer of individuals. Don’t take the measure of other individuals.3 He’s conceited,4 anyone who takes the measure other individuals. I, however, may take the measure of individuals—or one like me.

[3] “There is the case where one individual is virtuous and he doesn’t discern, as it has come to be, the awareness-release and discernment-release where that virtue ceases without trace. He is unaccomplished in listening, unaccomplished in wide learning, and has not penetrated (the teachings) in terms of his views. He doesn’t gain occasional release. At the break-up of the body, after death, he heads for loss, not for distinction. He is one who goes to loss, not one who goes to distinction.

[4] “But then, Ānanda, there is the case where one individual is virtuous and he discerns, as it has come to be, the awareness-release and discernment-release where that virtue ceases without trace. He is accomplished in listening, accomplished in wide learning, and has penetrated (the teachings) in terms of his views. He gains occasional release. At the break-up of the body, after death, he heads for distinction, not for loss. He is one who goes to distinction, not one who goes to loss.

“In this case, Ānanda, those who are measurers will measure.… He’s conceited, anyone who takes the measure other individuals. I, however, may take the measure of individuals—or one like me.

[5] “There is the case where one individual is fiercely lustful and he doesn’t discern, as it has come to be, the awareness-release and discernment-release where that lust ceases without trace. He is unaccomplished in listening, unaccomplished in wide learning, and has not penetrated (the teachings) in terms of his views. He doesn’t gain occasional release. At the break-up of the body, after death, he heads for loss, not for distinction. He is one who goes to loss, not one who goes to distinction.

[6] “But then, Ānanda, there is the case where one individual is fiercely lustful and yet he discerns, as it has come to be, the awareness-release and discernment-release where that lust ceases without trace. He is accomplished in listening, accomplished in wide learning, and has penetrated (the teachings) in terms of his views. He gains occasional release. At the break-up of the body, after death, he heads for distinction, not for loss. He is one who goes to distinction, not one who goes to loss.

“In this case, Ānanda, those who are measurers will measure.… He’s conceited, anyone who takes the measure other individuals. I, however, may take the measure of individuals—or one like me.

[7] “There is the case where one individual is angry and he doesn’t discern, as it has come to be, the awareness-release and discernment-release where that anger ceases without trace. He is unaccomplished in listening, unaccomplished in wide learning, and has not penetrated (the teachings) in terms of his views. He doesn’t gain occasional release. At the break-up of the body, after death, he heads for loss, not for distinction. He is one who goes to loss, not one who goes to distinction.

[8] “But then, Ānanda, there is the case where one individual is angry and yet he discerns, as it has come to be, the awareness-release and discernment-release where that anger ceases without trace. He is accomplished in listening, accomplished in wide learning, and has penetrated (the teachings) in terms of his views. He gains occasional release. At the break-up of the body, after death, he heads for distinction, not for loss. He is one who goes to distinction, not one who goes to loss.

“In this case, Ānanda, those who are measurers will measure.… He’s conceited, anyone who takes the measure other individuals. I, however, may take the measure of individuals—or one like me.

[9] “There is the case where one individual is restless and he doesn’t discern, as it has come to be, the awareness-release and discernment-release where that restlessness ceases without trace. He is unaccomplished in listening, unaccomplished in wide learning, and has not penetrated (the teachings) in terms of his views. He doesn’t gain occasional release. At the break-up of the body, after death, he heads for loss, not for distinction. He is one who goes to loss, not one who goes to distinction.

[10] “But then, Ānanda, there is the case where one individual is restless and yet he discerns, as it has come to be, the awareness-release and discernment-release where that restlessness ceases without trace. He is accomplished in listening, accomplished in wide learning, and has penetrated (the teachings) in terms of his views. He gains occasional release. At the break-up of the body, after death, he heads for distinction, not for loss. He is one who goes to distinction, not one who goes to loss.

“In this case, Ānanda, those who are measurers will measure: ‘This one has the same qualities as the other. Why should one of them be base and the other sublime?’ That will be for their long-term harm & suffering.

“In this case, Ānanda, the individual who is restless and yet discerns, as it has come to be, the awareness-release and discernment-release where that restlessness ceases without trace; who is accomplished in listening, accomplished in wide learning, and has penetrated (the teachings) in terms of his views; who gains occasional release, is higher & more sublime than the other one. Why is that? Because the Dhamma-stream carries him along. But who would know this difference aside from a Tathāgata?

“Therefore, Ānanda, don’t be a measurer of individuals. Don’t take the measure of other individuals. He’s conceited, anyone who takes the measure other individuals. I, however, may take the measure of individuals—or one like me.

“So who, Ānanda, is this Migāsālā, foolish, incompetent, blind, with the discernment of the blind? And who are these people with knowledge of the course of other individuals?

“Ānanda, these are the ten individuals to be found existing in the world.

“If Isidatta had been endowed with the sort of virtue with which Purāṇa was endowed, Purāṇa wouldn’t have known Isidatta’s destination. If Purāṇa had been endowed with the sort of discernment with which Isidatta was endowed, Isidatta wouldn’t have known Purāṇa’s destination. It was in this way, Ānanda, that both of these individuals were inferior in part.”

Notes

1. Reading andhakā andhakapaññā with the Thai edition. The Burmese and PTS editions read ambakā ambakapaññā; the Sri Lankan edition, ammakā ammakapaññā. Both of these readings mean, “a little mother with a little mother’s discernment.” Note 1332 in NDB states that the Chinese version of this sutta also does not contain a derogatory reference to women. See SN 5:2.

2. The temporary release that comes with concentration. See MN 29–30.

3. NDB translates this passage as: “Do not be judgmental regarding people. Do not pass judgment on people.” However, there are many passages in the Canon where the Buddha does recommend judging the behavior of other people, so as to decide whether you want to associate with them and/or take them as examples to follow. See, for instance, MN 110, AN 4:73, AN 4:192, AN 7:64, and AN 8:54. As the context here clearly shows, the Buddha is telling Ānanda specifically not to try to judge the attainments of other people, for only a Tathāgata (a Buddha or an arahant) is in a position to sense the state of a person’s mind well enough to know the resulting future course that that person will take after death.

4. Reading maññati with the Thai edition. The other editions read khaññati: “he is destroyed” or “he is dug up.” Maññati fits the sentence here in an alliterative sense, in that its root, mañ, is close to the root for measure (pamāṇa) and measurer (pamāṇika).

See also: MN 48; MN 136; SN 55:25, AN 3:87—88