Dhammapada Verse 136
Atha papani kammani
karam balo na bujjhati
sehi kammehi dummedho
Verse 136: A fool while doing evil deeds does not know them as being evil;
but that fool suffers for his evil deeds like one who is burnt by fire.
The Story of the Boa Constrictor Peta
While residing at the Jetavana monastery, the Buddha uttered Verse (136) of
this book, with reference to a boa constrictor peta*.
Once, as Thera Maha Moggallana was coming down the Gijjhakuta hill with Thera
Lakkhana he saw a boa constrictor peta and smiled, but he did not say anything.
When they were back at the Jetavana monastery, Thera Maha Moggallana told
Lakkhana, in the presence of the Buddha about the boa constrictor peta, with its
long body burning in flames. The Buddha also said he himself had also seen that
very peta soon after he had attained Buddhahood, but that he did not say
anything about it because people might not believe him and thus they would be
doing a great wrong to the Buddha. So out of compassion for these beings, the
Buddha had kept silent. Then he continued, "Now that I have a witness in
Moggallana, I will tell you about this boa constrictor peta. This peta was a
thief during the time of Kassapa Buddha. As a thief and a cruel-hearted man, he
had set fire to the house of a rich man seven times. And not satisfied with
that, he also set fire to the perfumed hall donated by the same rich man to
Kassapa Buddha, while Kassapa Buddha was out on an alms-round. As a result of
those evil deeds he had suffered for a long time in niraya. Now, while serving
out his term of suffering as a peta, he is being burnt with sparks of flames
going up and down the length of his body. Bhikkhus, fools when doing evil deeds
do not know them as being evil; but they cannot escape the evil
Then the Buddha spoke in verse as follows:
|Verse 136: A fool while doing evil deeds does not know
them as being evil; but that fool suffers for his evil deeds like one
who is burnt by fire.
*peta: an always hungry spirit or ghost.