After reading this cute story, I think I'll make some gourmet popcorn to give to monks at my
favorite temple in Houston next time I go there.
Lajadevadhita, The Popcorn Angel
[Translated by Dr.Sirikanya Sastri, a surgeon working for the US AirForce]
While residing at the Jetavana monastery, Buddha uttered Verse(118) with reference to Laja, a lady-deva.
Once superthera Mahakassapa stayed in the Pippali cave. For seven days, he meditated without interruption (samapatti). Soon after he had arisen from samapatti, he wished to provide opportunity for good karma to a stranger. It would be a great source of karma to provide an offering to a newly arisen thera from samapatti. A young maid frying corn in a field-hut was the chosen one to provide alms-food to the thera. So he stood in front of her hut for alms-food. She gave him all the popcorn. Later on, she was bitten by a poisonous snake and she passed away. When she was reborn, she was born into the Tavatimsa deva world. She was called Laja (popcorn) devadhita.
Laja realized that she was reborn in Tavatimsa because she had offered popcorn to Thera Mahakassapa. She was very grateful for her new life in heaven, so she was encouraged to continue to do some services to the thera in order to sustain her good karma. She went to the monastery where the thera resided and on a daily basis provided services such as keeping the premises clean, filling the water pots, and performing any of the daily chores required to maintain the monastery. This alarmed the thera because he was afraid that the daily visits from the young lady would lead the local people to suspect misconduct. So he told her not to come to the monastery any more. Laja was very sad and she pleaded with the thera "Please do not destroy my riches, my wealth." The Buddha heard her cries and sent forth the radiance from his chamber and said to the lady-deva, "Devadhita, it is the duty of my son Kassapa to stop your coming to the monastery; to do good deeds is the duty of one who is anxious to gain merit."
Then the Buddha spoke in verse as follows:
Verse 118: If a man does what is good, he should do it again and again; he
should take delight in it; the accumulation of merit leads to happiness.
At the end of the discourse, Lajadevadhita attained Sotapatti Fruition.
Love Buddha's dhamma,