Dhammapada Verses 119 and 120
Papopi passati bhadram
yava papam na paccati
yada ca paccati papam
atha papo papam passati.
Bhadropi passati papam
yava bhadram na paccati
yada ca paccati bhadram
atha bhadro bhadrani passati.
Verse 119: Even an evil person may still find happiness so long as his evil
deed does not bear fruit; but when his evil deed does bear fruit he will meet
with evil consequences.
Verse 120: Even a good person may still meet with suffering so long as his
good deed does not bear fruit: but when it does bear fruit he will enjoy the
benefits of his good deed.
The Story of Anathapindika
While residing at the Jetavana monastery, the Buddha uttered Verses (119) and
(120) of this book, with reference to Anathapindika, the famous rich man of
Anathapindika was the donor of the Jetavana monastery, which was built at a
cost of fifty-four crores. He was not only generous but also truly devoted to
the Buddha. He would go to the Jetavana monastery and pay homage to the Buddha
thrice daily. In the mornings he would bring along rice gruel, in the day-time
some suitable rich food or medicine and in the evenings some flowers and
incense. After some time Anathapindika became poor, but being a sotapanna he was
not shaken by misfortune, and he continued to do his daily acts of charity. One
night, the spirit guarding the gate to the house of Anathapindika appeared to
him in person, and said, "I am the guardian of your gate. You have been
offering your property to Samana Gotama with no thoughts of your future. That is
why you are now a poor man. Therefore, you should make no more offerings to
Samana Gotama and should look after your own business affairs and get rich
Anathapindika drove the guardian spirit out of his house for saying such
things, and as Anathapindika was a sotapanna the guardian spirit could not
disobey him and so had to leave the premises. He had nowhere to go and wanted to
return but was afraid of Anathapindika. So, he approached Sakka, king of the
devas. Sakka advised him first to do a good turn to Anathapindika, and after
that, to ask his pardon. Then Sakka continued, "There are about eighteen
crores taken as loans by some traders which are not yet repaid to Anathapindika;
another eighteen crores buried by the ancestors of Anathapindika, which have
been washed away into the ocean, and another eighteen crores, which belong to no
one, buried in a certain place. Go and recover all these wealth by your
supernatural power and fill up the rooms of Anathapindika. Having done so, you
may ask his pardon". The guardian spirit did as instructed by Sakka, and
Anathapindika again became rich.
When the guardian spirit told Anathapindika about the information and
instructions given by Sakka, about the recovery of his riches from underneath
the earth, from within the ocean and from the debtors, he was struck with awe.
Then Anathapindika took the guardian spirit to the Buddha. To both of them the
Buddha said, "One may not enjoy the benefits of a good deed, or suffer
the consequences of a bad deed for a long time; but time will surely come when
his good or bad deed will bear fruit and ripen".
Then the Buddha spoke in verse as follows:
Verse 119: Even an evil person may still find
happiness so long as his evil deed does not bear fruit; but when his
evil deed does bear fruit he will meet with evil consequences.
Verse 120: Even a good person may still meet with
suffering so long as his good deed does not bear fruit: but when it
does bear fruit he will enjoy the benefits of his good deed.
At the end of the discourse, the guardian spirit of the gate of
Anathapindika's house attained Sotapatti Fruition.