Dhammapada Verse 42
Diso1 disam yam tam kariya
veri va pana verinam
papiyo nam tato kare.
Verse 42: A thief may harm a thief; an enemy may harm an enemy; but a wrongly
directed mind can do oneself far greater harm.2
1. diso: lit.; an enemy; a thief in this context. (The Commentary)
2. According to the Commentary, the mind, wrongly set on the ten-fold evil
path, will cause ruin and destruction not only in this life, but also, even in a
hundred. thousand future existences in Apaya.
The Story of Nanda, the Herdsman
While on a visit to a village in the kingdom of Kosala, the Buddha uttered
Verse (42) of this book, with reference to Nanda, the herdsman.
Nanda was a herdsman who looked after the cows of Anathapindika. Although
only a herdsman, he had some means of his own. Occasionally, he would go to the
house of Anathapindika and there he sometimes met the Buddha and listened to his
discourses. Nanda requested the Buddha to pay a visit to his house. But the
Buddha did not go to Nanda's house immediately, saying that it was not yet time.
After some time, while travelling with his followers, the Buddha went off his
route to visit Nanda, knowing that the time was ripe for Nanda to receive his
teaching properly. Nanda respectfully received the Buddha and his followers; he
served them milk and milk products and other choice food for seven days. On the
last day, after hearing the discourse given by the Buddha, Nanda attained
Sotapatti Fruition. As the Buddha was leaving that day, Nanda carrying the bowl
of the Buddha, followed him for some distance, paid obeisance and turned back to
At that instant, a hunter who was an old enemy of Nanda, shot him down. The
bhikkhus who were following the Buddha, saw Nanda lying dead. They reported the
matter to the Buddha, saying, "Venerable Sir, because you came here, Nanda
who made great offerings to you and accompanied you on your return was killed as
he was turning back to go home." To them, the Buddha replied, "Bhikkhus,
whether I came here or not, there was no escape from death for him, as a wrongly
directed mind can do oneself much greater harm than an enemy or a thief
Then the Buddha spoke in verse as follows:
|Verse 42: A thief may harm a thief; an enemy may harm an enemy; but
a wrongly directed mind can do oneself far greater harm.