Dhammapada Verse 127
Na antalikkhe na samuddamajihe
na pabbatanam vivaram pavissa
na vijjati so jagatippadeso
yatthatthito mucceyya papakamma.
Verse 127: Not in the sky, nor in the middle of the ocean, nor in the cave of
a mountain, nor anywhere else, is there a place, where one may escape from the
consequences of an evil deed.
The Story of Three Groups of Persons
While residing at the Jetavana monastery, the Buddha uttered Verse (127) of
this book, with reference to questions raised by three groups of bhikkhus
concerning three extraordinary incidents.
The first group: A group of bhikkhus were on their way to pay homage to the
Buddha and they stopped at a village on the way. Some people were cooking
alms-food for those bhikkhus when one of the houses caught fire and a ring of
fire flew up into the air. At that moment, a crow came flying, got caught in the
ring of fire and dropped dead in the central part of the village. The bhikkhus
seeing the dead crow observed that only the Buddha would be able to explain for
what evil deed this crow had to die in this manner. After taking alms-food they
continued on their journey to pay homage to the Buddha, and also to ask about
the unfortunate crow.
The second group: Another group of bhikkhus wore travelling in a boat; they
too wore on their way to pay homage to the Buddha. When they were in the middle
of the ocean the boat could not be moved. So, lots were drawn to find out who
the unlucky one was; three times the lot fell on the wife of the skipper. Then
the skipper said sorrowfully, "Many people should not die on account of
this unlucky woman; tie a pot of sand to her neck and threw her into the water
so that I would not see her." The woman was thrown into the sea as
instructed by the skipper and the ship could move on. On arrival at their
destination. the bhikkhus disembarked and continued on their way to the Buddha.
They also intended to ask the Buddha due to what evil kamma the unfortunate
woman was thrown overboard.
The third group: A group of seven bhikkhus were also on their way to pay
homage to the Buddha. On the way, they enquired at a monastery whether there was
any suitable place for them to take shelter for the night in the neighbourhood.
They were directed to a cave, and there they spent the night; but in the middle
of the night, a large boulder slipped off from above and effectively closed the
entrance. In the morning, the bhikkhus from the nearby monastery coming to the
cave saw what had happened and they went to bring people from seven villages.
With the help of these people they tried to move the boulder, but it was of no
avail. Thus, the seven bhikkhus were trapped in the cave without food or water
for seven days. On the seventh day, the boulder moved miraculously by itself,
and the bhikkhus came out and continued their way to the Buddha. They also
intended to ask the Buddha due to what previous evil deed they were thus shut up
for seven days in a cave.
The three groups of travellers met on the way and together they went to the
Buddha. Each group related to the Buddha what they had seen or experienced on
their way and the Buddha answered their questions.
The Buddha answer to the first group: "Bhikkhus, once there was a
farmer who had an ox. The ox was very lazy and also very stubborn. It could not
be coaxed to do any work; it would lie down chewing the cud or else go to sleep.
The farmer lost his temper many times on account of this lazy, stubborn animal;
so in anger he tied a straw rope round the neck of the ox and set fire to it,
and the ox died. On account of this evil deed the, farmer had suffered for a
long time in niraya, and in serving out the remaining part of his punishment, he
had been burnt to death in the last seven existences."
The Buddha's answer to the second group: "Bhikkhus, once there was a
woman who had a pet dog. She used to take the dog along with her wherever she
went and young boys of the city poked fun at her. She was very angry and felt so
ashamed that she planned to kill the dog. She filled a pot with sand, tied it
round the neck of the dog and threw it into the water; and the dog was drowned.
On account of this evil deed that woman had suffered for a long time in niraya
and in serving the remaining part of her punishment, she had been thrown into
the water to drown in the last one hundred existences."
The Buddha's answer to the third group: "Bhikkhus, once, seven
cowherds saw an iguana going into a mound and they dosed all the seven outlets
of the mound with twigs and branches of trees. After closing the outlets they
went away, completely forgetting the iguana that was trapped in the mound. Only
after seven days, they remembered what they had done and hurriedly returned to
the scene of their mischief and let out the iguana. On account of this evil
deed, those seven had been imprisoned together for seven days without any food,
in the last fourteen existences."
Then, a bhikkhu remarked, "O indeed! There is no escape from evil
consequences for one who has done evil, even if he were in the sky, or in the
ocean, or in a cave." To him, the Buddha said, "Yes, Bhikkhu! You
are right; even in the sky or anywhere else, there is no place which is beyond
the reach of evil consequences."
Then the Buddha spoke in verse as follows:
|Verse 127: Not in the sky, nor in the middle of the
ocean, nor in the cave of a mountain, nor anywhere else, is there a
place, where one may escape from the consequences of an evil deed.
At the end of the discourse all the bhikkhus attained Sotapatti Fruition.