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I'm looking for a sutta wherein the Buddha explains how a person who only for a moment cultivates loving-kindness or mindfulness has not wasted his or her spiritual life.

What sutta is that?

Thank you for your time.

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Here are some finger-snapping and udder-pulling moments of love and mindfulness:

AN1.53:1.1: “If, mendicants, a mendicant cultivates a mind of love even as long as a finger snap,

AN1.54:1.1: “If, mendicants, a mendicant develops a mind of love even as long as a finger snap,

AN1.55:1.1: “If, mendicants, a mendicant focuses on a mind of love even as long as a finger snap,

AN9.20:9.1: It would be more fruitful develop the perception of impermanence—even for as long as a finger snap—than to do all of these things, including developing a heart of love for as long as it takes to pull a cow’s udder.”

AN9.20:8.9: It would be more fruitful to develop a heart of love—even just as long as it takes to pull a cow’s udder—than to undertake the training rules.

SN20.4:1.2: “Mendicants, suppose one person was to give a gift of a hundred pots of rice in the morning, at midday, and in the evening. And someone else was to develop a heart of love, even just as long as it takes to pull a cow’s udder. The latter would be more fruitful.

AN1.405:1.1: principles—keen, aware, and mindful, rid of desire and aversion for the world, even for the time of a finger snap …

AN1.405:1.1: principles—keen, aware, and mindful, rid of desire and aversion for the world, even for the time of a finger snap …

AN1.406:1.1: If they generate enthusiasm, try, make an effort, exert the mind, and strive so that bad, unskillful qualities don’t arise, even for the time of a finger snap …

AN1.407:1.1: If they generate enthusiasm, try, make an effort, exert the mind, and strive so that bad, unskillful qualities that have arisen are given up, even for the time of a finger snap …

AN1.408:1.1: If they generate enthusiasm, try, make an effort, exert the mind, and strive so that skillful qualities that have not arisen do arise, even for the time of a finger snap …

AN1.409:1.1: If they generate enthusiasm, try, make an effort, exert the mind, and strive so that skillful qualities that have arisen remain, are not lost, but increase, mature, and are fulfilled by development, even for the time of a finger snap …

There may be more...

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Perhaps the Velāma Sutta (AN 9.20) which ends:

It would be more fruitful to undertake the training rules—not to kill living creatures, steal, commit sexual misconduct, lie, or take alcoholic drinks that cause negligence—than to go for refuge to the Buddha, the teaching, and the Saṅgha with a confident heart.

It would be more fruitful to develop a heart of love—even just as long as it takes to pull a cow’s udder—than to undertake the training rules.

It would be more fruitful develop the perception of impermanence—even for as long as a finger snap—than to do all of these things, including developing a heart of love for as long as it takes to pull a cow’s udder.”

That includes the "even if only for a moment" idea, although not the "has not wasted his or her spiritual life".

There's also AN 1.53 and AN 1.54 which is a more exact match:

  1. “If, mendicants, a mendicant cultivates a mind of love even as long as a finger snap, they’re called a mendicant who does not lack absorption, who follows the Teacher’s instructions, who responds to advice, and who does not eat the country’s alms in vain. How much more so those who make much of it!”

  2. “If, mendicants, a mendicant develops a mind of love even as long as a finger snap, they’re called a mendicant who does not lack absorption, who follows the Teacher’s instructions, who responds to advice, and who does not eat the country’s alms in vain. How much more so those who make much of it!”

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