Dhammapada Verse 306
Abhutavadi nirayam upeti
yo vapi katva na karomi caha
ubhopi te pecca sama bhavanti
nihinakamma manuja parattha.
Verse 306: One who tells lies (about others) goes to niraya; one who has done
evil and says "I did not do it" also goes to niraya. Both of them
being evil-doers, suffer alike (in niraya) in their next existence.
The Story of Sundari the Wandering Female Ascetic
While residing at the Jetavana monastery, the Buddha uttered Verse (306) of
this book, with reference to Sundari, a wandering female ascetic.
As the number of people revering the Buddha increased, the non-Buddhist
ascetics found that the number of their following was dwindling. Therefore, they
became very jealous of the Buddha; they were also afraid that things would get
worse if they did not do something to damage the reputation of the Buddha. So,
they sent for Sundari and said to her, "Sundari, you are a very beautiful
and clever young lady. We want you to put Samana Gotama to shame, by making it
appear to others that you are having sexual dealings with him. By so doing, his
image will be impaired, his following will decrease and many would come to us.
Make the best use of your looks and be crafty."
Sundari understood what was expected of her. Thus, late in the evening, she
went in the direction of the Jetavana monastery. When she was asked where she
was going, she answered, "I am going to visit Samana Gotama; I live with
him in the Perfumed Chamber of the Jetavana monastery." After saying this,
she proceeded to the place of the non-Buddhist ascetics. Early in the morning
the next day, she returned home, if anyone asked her from where she had come she
would reply, "I have come from the Perfumed Chamber after staying the night
with Samana Gotama." She carried on like this for two more days. At the end
of three days, those ascetics hired some drunkards to kill Sundari and put her
body in a rubbish heap near the Jetavana monastery.
The next day, the ascetics spread the news about the disappearance of
Paribbajika Sundari. They went to the king to report the matter and their
suspicion. The king gave them permission to search where they wished. Finding
the body near the Jetavana monastery, they carried it to the palace. Then they
said to the king, "O king, the followers of Gotama have killed this
Paribbajika and have thrown away her body in the rubbish heap near the Jetavana
monastery to cover up the misdeed of their teacher." To them the king
replied, "In that case, you may go round the town and proclaim the
fact." So they went round the town carrying the dead body of Sundari,
shouting, "Look! What the followers of Gotama have done; see how they have
tried to cover up the misdeed of Gotama!" The procession then returned to
the palace. The bhikkhus living in the Jetavana monastery told the Buddha what
those ascetics were (doing to damage his reputation and impair his image. But
the Buddha only said, "My sons, you just tell them this," and
then spoke in verse as follows:
|Verse 306: One who tells lies (about others) goes to
niraya; one who has done evil and says "I did not do it"
also goes to niraya. Both of them being evil-doers, suffer alike (in
niraya) in their next existence.
The king next ordered his men to further investigate the murder of Sundari.
On investigation, they found out that Sundari had died at the hands of some
drunkards. So they were brought to the king. When questioned, the drunkards
disclosed that they were hired by the ascetics to kill Sundari and put her body
near the Jetavana monastery. The king then sent for the non-Buddhist ascetics,
and they finally confessed their role in the murder of Sundari. The king then
ordered them to go round the town and confess their guilt to the people. So they
went round the town saying, "We are the ones who killed Sundari. We have
falsely accused the disciples of Gotama just to bring disgrace on Gotama. The
disciples of Gotama are innocent, only we are guilty of the crime." As a
result of this episode, the power, the glory and the fortune of the Buddha were
very much enhanced.