Dhammapada Verse 72
nattam balassa jayati
hanti balassa sukkamsam1
Verse 72: The skill of a fool can only harm him; it destroys his merit and
his wisdom (lit., it severs his head).
1. sukkamsa: sukka + amsa : sukka
means white, bright, pure or good; amsa means portion. According to the
Commentary, sukkamsa means merit.
2. muddha: head, top, summit. According to the Commentary, it means
The Story of Satthikutapeta
While residing at the Veluvana monastery, the Buddha uttered Verse (72) of
this book with reference to a peta-ghost named Satthikutapeta.
The Chief Disciple Maha Moggallana saw this enormous peta-ghost while
going on an alms-round with Thera Lakkhana. In this connection, the Buddha
explained that Satthikutapeta, in one of his previous existences, was very
skilful in throwing stones at things. One day, he asked permissions from his
teacher to try out his skill. His teacher told him not to hit a cow, or a human
being as he would have to pay compensation to the owner or to the relative, but
to find a target which was ownerless or guardianless.
On seeing the paccekabuddha, the idiots lacking in intelligence, thought the
paccekabuddha, having no relative or guardian, would be an ideal target. So he
threw a stone at the paccekabuddha who was on an alms-round. The stone entered
from one ear and came out of the other. The paccekabuddha expired when he
reached the monastery. The stone-thrower was killed by the disciples of the
paccekabuddha and he was reborn in Avici Niraya. Afterwards, he was
reborn as a peta-ghost and had since been serving the remaining term of
the evil consequences (kamma) of his evil deed. As a peta-ghost his
enormous head was being continuously hit with red-hot hammers.
In conclusion, the Buddha said, "To a fool, his skill or knowledge is
of no use; it can only harm him."
Then the Buddha spoke in verse as follows:
|Verse 72: The skill of a fool can only harm him; it
destroys his merit and his wisdom (lit., it severs his head).