Dhammapada Verse 124
Panimhi ce vano nassa
hareyya panina visam
natthi papam akubbato.
Verse 124: If there is no wound on the hand, one may handle poison; poison
does not affect one who has no wound; there can be no evil for one who has no
The Story of Kukkutamitta
While residing at the Veluvana monastery, the Buddha uttered Verse (124) of
this book, with reference to the hunter Kukkutamitta and his family.
At Rajagaha there was once a rich man's daughter who had attained Sotapatti
Fruition as a young girl. One day, Kukkutamitta, a hunter, came into town in a
cart to sell venison. Seeing Kukkutamitta the hunter, the rich young lady fell
in love with him immediately; she followed him, married him and lived with him
in a small village. As a result of that marriage, seven sons were born to them
and in course of time, all the sons got married. One day, the Buddha surveyed
the world early in the morning with his supernormal power and found that the
hunter, his seven sons and their wives were due for attainment of Sotapatti
Fruition. So, the Buddha went to the place where the hunter had set his trap in
the forest. He put his footprint close to the trap and seated himself under the
shade of a bush, not far from the trap.
When the hunter came, he saw no animal in the trap; he saw the footprint and
surmised that someone must have come before him and let cut the animal. So, when
he saw the Buddha under the shade of the bush, he took him for the man who had
freed the animal from his trap and flew into a rage. He took out his bow and
arrow to shoot at the Buddha, but as he drew his bow, he became immobilized and
remained fixed in that position like a statue. His sons followed and found their
father; they also saw the Buddha at some distance and thought he must be the
enemy of their father. All of them took out their bows and arrows to shoot at
the Buddha, but they also became immobilized and remained fixed in their
respective postures. When the hunter and his sons failed to return, the hunter's
wife followed them into the forest, with her seven daughters-in-law. Seeing her
husband and all her sons with their arrows aimed at the Buddha, she raised both
her hands and shout: "Do not kill my father."
When her husband heard her words, he thought, "This must be my
father-in-law", and her sons thought, "This must be our
grandfather"; and thoughts of loving-kindness came into them. Then the lady
said to them, ''Put away your bows and arrows and pay obeisance to my
father". The Buddha realized that, by this time, the minds of the hunter
and his son; had softened and so he willed that they should be able to move and
to put away their bows and arrows. After putting away their bows and arrows,
they paid obeisance to the Buddha and the Buddha expounded the Dhamma to them.
In the end, the hunter, his seven sons and seven daughters-in-law, all fifteen
of them, attained Sotapatti Fruition.
Then the Buddha returned to the monastery and told Thera Ananda and other
bhikkhus about the hunter Kukkutamitta and his family attaining Sotapatti
Fruition in the early part of the morning. The bhikkhus then asked the Buddha,
"Venerable Sir, is the wife of the hunter who is a sotapanna, also not
guilty of taking life, if she has been getting things like nets, bows and arrows
for her husband when he goes out hunting?" To this question the Buddha
answered, "Bhikkhus, the sotapannas do not kill, they do not wish others
to get killed. The wife of the hunter was only obeying her husband in getting
things for him. Just as the hand that has no wound is not affected by poison, so
also, because she has no intention to do evil she is not doing any evil."
Then the Buddha spoke in verse as follows:
|Verse 124: If there is no wound on the hand, one may
handle poison; poison does not affect one who has no wound; there can
be no evil for one who has no evil intention.