Dhamma Verses

Pāpavaggo
9. The Chapter about Wickedness

The one quick in merit prospers

A brahmin had only one robe, and hesitated to give it to the Buddha, but eventually in the last watch of the night he did give it, and he was richly rewarded by the King; the Buddha explained his reward would have been greater had he not hesitated, and spoke this verse.

116. Abhittharetha kalyāṇe, pāpā cittaṁ nivāraye,
dandhaṁ hi karato puññaṁ pāpasmiṁ ramatī mano.

Hasten to do wholesome deeds,
ward off the mind from wickedness,
for the mind of the one slow in
merit delights in wickedness.

One should be restrained from what is wrong

Ven. Seyyasaka was unable to maintain his chastity and broke the same rule again and again; when the Buddha was informed, he reminded him to keep the precepts and reproved him with this verse.

117. Pāpañ-ce puriso kayirā, na taṁ kayirā punappunaṁ,
na tamhi chandaṁ kayirātha, dukkho pāpassa uccayo.

Should a person do that which is wicked,
he should not do it again and again,
let him not place his intention in it,
for suffering grows for the wicked one.

One should do good deeds

A young woman working in the fields gave parched rice to Ven. Mahākassapa and was thereby reborn in Tusita Heaven; she desired to do more good deeds for Ven. Mahākassapa, but was restrained by him; the Buddha explained the reason for her motivation with this verse.

118. Puññañ-ce puriso kayirā, kayirāthetaṁ punappunaṁ,
tamhi chandaṁ kayirātha, sukho puññassa uccayo.

If a person should make merit, he should
do it again and again, let him place
his intention there, there is an increase
of joy for the one who has made merit.

Eventually all get what they deserve

A goddess in the house of Anāthapiṇḍika advised him to stop supporting the Buddha and his disciples as he was being brought to poverty; Anāthapiṇḍika reproved the goddess and sent her out of his house; later she recovered the householder’s fortune and apologised; he took her to the Buddha who taught them both with these verses.

119. Pāpo pi passati bhadraṁ yāva pāpaṁ na paccati,
yadā ca paccati pāpaṁ atha pāpo pāpāni passati.

The wicked experience good fortune
while the wickedness done does not ripen,
but when the wickedness ripens then the
wicked will experience wicked things.

120. Bhadro pi passati pāpaṁ yāva bhadraṁ na paccati,
yadā ca paccati bhadraṁ atha bhadro bhadrāni passati.

The fortunate experience wickedness
as long as the fortune does not ripen,
but when the fortune ripens then the
fortunate experience good fortune.

Do not despise wickedness

A monk refused to look after his requisites, thinking them not worth the trouble; the Buddha told him he should not think in that way and admonished him with this verse.

121. Māppamaññetha pāpassa: na maṁ taṁ āgamissati,
udabindunipātena udakumbho pi pūrati,
bālo pūrati pāpassa, thokaṁ thokam-pi ācinaṁ.

One should not despise wickedness
thinking: it will not come to me,
through the falling of water drops
the water-pot is quickly filled,
the fool, gathering bit by bit,
soon becomes full of wickedness.

Do not despise merit

A wise man heard the Buddha preach on the merit of giving and encouraging giving, invited the Buddha and the monks for alms, and then requested others to help in the deed; the foolish merchant Biḷālapāda thought the man shouldn’t offer more than he can himself fulfil, and gave but little, but later feared he would be exposed for his stinginess; the wise man however praised all who gave, the fool repented and the Buddha gave this teaching.

122. Māppamaññetha puññassa: na maṁ taṁ āgamissati.
udabindunipātena udakumbho pi pūrati,
dhīro pūrati puññassa, thokathokam-pi ācinaṁ.

One should not despise one’s merit
thinking: it will not come to me,
through the falling of water drops
the water-pot is quickly filled,
the wise, gathering bit by bit,
will soon become full of merit.

Avoiding wickedness like poison

The merchant Mahādhana set out with five hundred wagons but learned there are thieves ahead and thieves behind, and so stayed put in a village; this was told to the Buddha who drew the lesson therefrom and spoke this verse.

123. Vāṇijo va bhayaṁ maggaṁ, appasattho mahaddhano,
visaṁ jīvitukāmo va, pāpāni parivajjaye.

Like a merchant on fearful path,
with few friends and great wealth, as one
loving life would avoid poison,
so should one avoid wicked deeds.

The one without a wound

The Buddha taught Kukkuṭamitta the hunter, his seven sons and seven daughters, and they all gained stream-entry; the Buddha also explained that the hunter’s wife attained stream-entry while still young; the monks asked how can anyone who has stream-entry help a hunter, and the Buddha explained the matter with this verse.

124. Pāṇimhi ce vaṇo nāssa hareyya pāṇinā visaṁ,
nābbaṇaṁ visam-anveti, natthi pāpaṁ akubbato.

If there is no wound in his hand
he can carry poison with it,
poison does not enter without
a wound, there is no bad result
for the one who does not do wrong.

Offending the inoffensive

The hunter Koka blamed a monk for his failure to catch game and he set his dogs on him, chasing him up a tree; the monk’s robe fell over the hunter and the dogs mistakenly devoured him instead; the monk worried whether his actions led to the death of the man, and the Buddha reassured him with this verse.

125. So appaduṭṭhassa narassa dussati,
suddhassa posassa anaṅgaṇassa,
tam-eva bālaṁ pacceti pāpaṁ,
sukhumo rajo paṭivātaṁ va khitto.

One offends against the inoffensive,
a purified and passionless person,
that wicked deed then returns to the fool,
like fine dust that is thrown against the wind.

The destination according to kind

Although Ven. Tissa had received alms from a jeweller for a dozen years, when a heron swallowed a gem the jeweller accused Tissa of theft and started torturing him to get a confession; only when the heron was killed by accident does Ven. Tissa reveal who took it, and he then passed away of his injuries; the Buddha explained the destiny of those involved with this verse.

126. Gabbham-eke ’papajjanti, nirayaṁ pāpakammino,
saggaṁ sugatino yanti, parinibbanti anāsavā.

Some are reborn in the womb, but those who
are wicked in the underworld,
the righteous go to heaven, those who are
pollutant-free are emancipated.

There is nowhere to hide from one’s deeds

Three different groups of monks who were on their way to the Buddha saw a crow die in mid-air, a woman drowned on a voyage and themselves get buried in a cave; they asked the Buddha why it all happened, and he explained there is nowhere to escape from the results of bad actions, and spoke this verse.

127. Na antalikkhe, na samuddamajjhe,
na pabbatānaṁ vivaraṁ pavissa:
na vijjatī so jagatippadeso
yatthaṭṭhito mucceyya pāpakammā.

Neither in the sky, nor in the ocean,
nor after entering a mountain cleft:
there is no place found on this earth where one
is free from the results of wicked deeds.

There is nowhere to hide from death

Suppabuddha the Sākiyan was the Buddha’s father-in-law, but was very arrogant and obstructed the Buddha when he was on almsround, which led to the Buddha predicting the time and place of his death; Suppabuddha thought he could escape his fate, but he met it anyway; the Buddha spoke this verse explaining the matter.

128. Na antalikkhe, na samuddamajjhe,
na pabbatānaṁ vivaraṁ pavissa:
na vijjatī so jagatippadeso,
yatthaṭṭhitaṁ nappasahetha maccu.

Neither in the sky, nor in the ocean,
nor after entering a mountain cleft:
there is no place found on this earth in which
death does not completely overcome one.

Pāpavaggo Navamo
The Chapter about Wickedness, the Ninth