a collection of
Buddhist Wisdom Verses

15: Kammavaggo

Dhp 127 Suppabuddhasakyavatthu
The Sakyan Suppabuddha

Deeds and their Results

Three different groups of monks see a crow die, a woman drowned and themselves buried alive on their way to the Buddha. They decide to ask him why it happened, and he explains there is nowhere to escape from the results of bad actions.

274. Na antalikkhe, na samuddamajjhe,
Neither in the firmament, nor in the middle of the ocean,

Na pabbatānaṁ vivaraṁ pavissa:
Nor after entering a mountain cleft:

Na vijjatī so jagatippadeso,
There is no place found on this earth,

Yatthaṭṭhito muccĕyya pāpakammā.
Where one can be free from (the results of) wicked deeds.

SN 1.3.15 Dutiyasaṅgāmasuttaṁ

The Revolution of Deeds

King Pasenadi defeats King Ajātasattu in battle, takes his four-fold army from him, and, showing mercy, releases him with his life.

275. Hantā labhati hantāraṁ, jetāraṁ labhate jayaṁ,
The killer finds one who kills (him), the victor finds a victor,

Akkosako ca akkosaṁ, rosetārañ-ca rosako,
The abuser an abuser, the wrathful (finds) one full of wrath,

Atha kammavivaṭṭena, so vilutto vilumpati.
So too as deeds revolve, the robber finds (himself) robbed.

Dhp 125 Kokasunakhaluddakavatthu
The Hunter Koka’s Dogs

Offending the Inoffensive

A hunter blames a monk for his failure to catch game and he sets his dogs on him, chasing him up a tree. The monk’s robe falls over the hunter and the dogs devour him instead.

276. So All texts read: Yo; but the sense requires so, therefore I have amended it. appaduṭṭhassa narassa dussati,
He offends against the inoffensive one,

Suddhassa posassa anaṅgaṇassa,
A purified and passionless person,

Tam-eva bālaṁ pacceti pāpaṁ,
That wicked deed (will) return to the fool,

Sukhumo rajo paṭivātaṁ va khitto.
Like fine dust that is thrown against the wind.

Dhp 137-140 Mahāmoggallānattheravatthu
The Elder Mahāmoggallāna

The Fruit of Unjust Punishment

Being fooled by his wife a young man, who was faithfully performing his duty before, murders his parents.

277. Yo daṇḍena adaṇḍesu appaduṭṭhesu dussati,
* He who offends with punishment one who is (quite) inoffensive,

Dasannam-aññataraṁ ṭhānaṁ khippam-eva nigacchati:
One who does not punish (others), Comm: adaṇḍesū ti kāyadaṇḍādirahitesu khīṇāsavesu. will quickly fall into one of ten states:

278. Vedanaṁ pharusaṁ, jāniṁ, sarīrassa ca bhedanaṁ,
Harsh feelings, loss (of his wealth), Comm: kicchādhigatassa dhanassa jāniṁ; loss of his hard-earned wealth. and the break up of the body, Comm: hatthacchedādikaṁ; the cutting off of his hands, and so on.

Garukaṁ vāpi ābādhaṁ, cittakkhepaṁ va I take it va is short for , m.c. pāpuṇe,
Or maybe heavy affliction, or (perhaps) he will loose his mind,

279. Rājato vā upassaggaṁ, abbhakkhānaṁ va dāruṇaṁ.
(There may be some) danger from Kings, or slander that is terrible,

Parikkhayaṁ va ñātīnaṁ, bhogānaṁ va pabhaṅguraṁ,
(He may suffer from) loss of kin, or from the destruction of wealth,

280. Atha vāssa agārāni aggi ḍahati pāvako,
Then his houses will be consumed by flames and fire,

Kāyassa bhedā duppañño Nirayaṁ so upapajjati.
At the break-up of the body that one lacking in wisdom will arise in the Lower Realms.

Dhp 121 Asaññataparikkhārabhikkhuvatthu
The Monk Unrestrained towards Requisites

Do not Despise Wickedness

A monk refuses to look after his requisities, thinking them not worth the trouble. The Buddha admonishes him.

281. Māpamaññetha pāpassa: Na maṁ taṁ āgamissati,
He should not despise a wickedness (thinking): It will not come to me,

Udabindunipātena udakumbho pi pūrati,
Through the falling of water drops water-pot is (quickly) filled,

Bālo pūrati pāpassa, thokaṁ thokam-pi ācinaṁ.
The fool, gathering little by little, becomes full of wickedness.

Dhp 69 Uppalavaṇṇattherīvatthu
The Elder Nun Uppalavaṇṇā

The Ripening of Wickedness

A cousin of the nun Uppalavaṇṇā hides in her forest dwelling and rapes her when she returns. This is told to the Buddha.

282. Madhuvā Comm: bālassa hi pāpaṁ akusalakammaṁ karontassa taṁ kammaṁ madhu viya madhurarasaṁ viya iṭṭhaṁ kantaṁ manāpaṁ viya upaṭṭhāti. Iti naṁ so madhuṁ va maññati; from this it seems to me we should expect the form madhūva = madhu + iva, in the text. maññati bālo, yāva pāpaṁ na paccati,
The fool thinks it sweet, as long as (his) wickedness does not ripen,

Yadā ca paccati pāpaṁ, bālo dukkhaṁ nigacchati.
But when his wickedness ripens, (then) the fool falls into suffering.

Dhp 71 Ahipetavatthu
The Snake-Ghost

Deeds do not Ripen at Once

A man burns down the hut of a Paccekabuddha and eventually is reborn as a snake-ghost, burning the whole length of his long body. He is seen by Mahāmoggallāna, who relates it to the Buddha.

283. Na hi pāpaṁ kataṁ kammaṁ, sajju khīraṁ va muccati,
A wicked deed that has been done, like milk does turn all at once, Comm: na muccati na pariṇamati.

Ḍahantaṁ bālam-anveti, bhasmacchanno va pāvako.
(Rather) it follows the fool, smouldering like a fire covered with ashes.

Dhp 123 Mahādhanavāṇijavatthu
The Trader Mahādhana

Avoiding Wickedness

A merchant sets out with 500 wagons but learns there are thieves ahead and thieves behind, and so stays put in a village. This is told to the Buddha who draws the lesson therefrom.

284. Vāṇijo va bhayaṁ maggaṁ, appasattho mahaddhano,
As a merchant on a fearful path, with few friends Appasattho can be interpreted as a small caravan or as having few friends, the Comm. doesn't give a definition here, perhaps because it has already stated that the merchant set out with 500 wagons, which is hardly a small caravan. and great wealth,

Visaṁ jīvitukāmo va, pāpāni parivajjaye.
As one loving life (would avoid) poison, (so) should one Comm: paṇḍito bhikkhu; a wise monk; but of course it applies to anyone wise. avoid wicked deeds.

SN 1.2.22 Khemasuttaṁ
The Godly Son Devaputta. Khema

Experiencing the Results of Deeds

A young Devaputta called Khema recites these verses to the Buddha about the results of deeds.

285. Caranti bālā dummedhā amitteneva attanā,
Foolish, unintelligent folk behave like their own enemies,

Karontā Thai: Karonti; They do [wicked deeds]. pāpakaṁ kammaṁ yaṁ hoti kaṭukapphalaṁ.
Doing wicked deeds that have painful consequences.

286. Na taṁ kammaṁ kataṁ sādhu, yaṁ katvā anutappati,
That deed is not (a deed) well done, which having done he does regret,

Yassa assumukho rodaṁ vipākaṁ paṭisevati.
For he cries with a tearful face when the result catches (him) up.

287. Tañ-ca kammaṁ kataṁ sādhu, yaṁ katvā nānutappati,
But that deed is (a deed) well done, which having done he does not regret,

Yassa patīto Thai: patito; [His happy mind] has fallen down? sumano vipākaṁ paṭisevati.
He is delighted and happy when the result catches (him) up.

288. Paṭikacceva taṁ kayirā, yaṁ jaññā hitam-attano,
Cautiously he will do (his deeds), knowing what benefits himself,

Na sākaṭikacintāya Mantā Dhīro parakkame. Thai: parakkamo; does [the Wise one, the Sage,] endeavour.
Not with the carter’s (wrong) thoughts should the Wise One, the Sage, make (his) effort.

289. Yathā sākaṭiko mattaṁ BJT: panthaṁ; [for the carter] on the path; ChS: maṭṭhaṁ; intoxicated; pasatthaṁ; [For the carter] is praised? The reading is also against the metre. samaṁ hitvā mahāpathaṁ,
For the drunken carter who abandoned the even highway,

Visamaṁ maggam-āruyha, akkhacchinno 'vajhāyati, The comm. parses it so: akkhacchinno avajhāyati; whereas below it has: akkhacchinno viya.
And mount an uneven road, meditates on his broken axle,

290. Evaṁ Dhammā apakkamma, adhammam-anuvattiya,
So the one who leaves the Dhamma, and follows what is not Dhamma,

Mando Maccumukhaṁ patto, akkhacchinno va jhāyati.
(That) fool falls into Death’s mouth, like one meditating on his broken axle.

Dhp 246-7 Pañca-Upāsakavatthu
Five Laymen

The Result of not Keeping the Precepts

Laymen are arguing as to which of the precepts is hardest to keep. The Buddha tells them they all are hard, but explains further.

291. Yo pāṇam-atipāteti, musāvādañ-ca bhāsati,
He who kills a living being, and speaks a word that is not true,

Loke adinnaṁ ādiyati, paradārañ-ca gacchati,
Who takes what is not given here, and who goes to another’s wife,

292. Surāmerayapānañ-ca yo naro anuyuñjati,
That person who is devoted to drinking liquor and wines,

Idhevam-eso BJT: Idheva poso; that person [digs up his own root]. lokasmiṁ, mūlaṁ khaṇati attano.
Digs up his own root Comm: anātho kapaṇo hutvā vicarati; having become destitute and helpless, he goes on his way. right here in the world,

Dhp 16 Dhammika-Upāsakavatthu
The Layman Dhammika

Rejoicing Here and Hereafter

A layman who has long been a supporter lies dying and the monks go to chant for him. Seeing celestial chariots coming to take him away he asks them to wait until the monks finish chanting, but the monks think he is asking them to stop and go away. Later the Buddha explains.

293. Idha modati, pecca modati,
Here he rejoices, after death he rejoices,

Katapuñño ubhayattha modati,
The meritorious one rejoices in both places,

So modati, so pamodati,
He (surely) rejoices, he greatly rejoices,

Disvā kammavisuddhim-attano.
After seeing the purity of his own deeds.

SN 1.3.4 Piyasuttaṁ
The Dear One

Holding Oneself Dear

King Pasenadi reflects that if one holds oneself dear he would not engage in what is wrong but do what is right. The Buddha concurs.

294. Attānañ-ce piyaṁ jaññā na naṁ pāpena saṁyuje,
If one holds oneself dear one should not engage in a wicked deed,

Na hi taṁ sulabhaṁ hoti sukhaṁ dukkatakārinā.
For happiness is not easily gained by those who do which is wrong.

Jā 382 Sirikālakaṇṇijātakaṁ
Sirī and Kālakaṇṇi

Fortune and Misfortune

Two Goddesses, who cannot decide precedence, vie with each other for lying on a virtuous householder’s couch. The one who is even more virtuous than the householder wins.

295. Attanā kurute lakkhiṁ, alakkhiṁ kurutattanā,
By oneself is fortune made, misfortune is made by oneself,

Na hi lakkhiṁ alakkhiṁ vā añño aññassa kārako.
No one is the maker of fortune and misfortune for another.

Jā 537 Mahāsutasomajātakaṁ
Bodhisatta Sutasoma

Consequences of Indulgence and Duty

Yet more verses by which the Bodhisatta eventually persuades the man-eating King to give up his bad habit.

296. Yo ve Piyaṁ me ti piyānurakkhī,
He who, protecting what he likes, (thinking): This I like,

Attaṁ niraṁkacca, piyāni sevati,
Disregarding his (true) self-interest, does what he likes,

Soṇḍo va pitvā visamissapānaṁ, BJT: Soṇḍo va pitvāna visassaphālaṁ; Like a drunkard who has drunk a poisoned fruit?
Like a drunkard who has drunk the drink mixed with poison,

Teneva so hoti dukkhī parattha.
Because of that will be one who suffers hereafter.

297. Yo cīdha saṅkhāya piyāni hitvā,
He who, out of consideration here, having abandoned what he likes,

Kicchena pi sevati Ariyadhammaṁ, Text, ChS, Thai: Ariyadhamme; plural form.
And with difficulty does the Noble thing,

Dukhito va pitvāna yathosadhāni,
Like one in pain who has drunk the medicine,

Teneva so hoti sukhī parattha.
Hereafter because of that he will be one who is happy.

Jā 386 Kharaputtajātakaṁ
The Donkey

Protecting Life First

A King is willing to give up a charm to his wife even though it will cost his life. The Bodhisatta as Sakka, in the form of a goat, persuades him not to be so foolish.

298. Na ve Piyaṁ me ti Janinda tādiso,
O King, such a one (as yourself) (has thoughts such as): It is dear to me,

Attaṁ niraṅkatvā piyāni sevati.
(But) after putting aside self, he does not do what is pleasing. These lines are very obscure. Comm: Janinda, tādiso tumhādiso yasamahatte ṭhito puggalo, ekaṁ piyabhaṇḍaṁ nissāya Idaṁ piyaṁ me ti, attaṁ niraṁkatvā, attānaṁ chaḍḍetvā, tāni piyāni na sevateva; O King, such a person as yourself, abiding in great fame, holding (even) one thing dear, (thinking): This is dear to me, after putting aside self, after abandoning self, should not do those things that are pleasing.

Attā va seyyo: paramā va seyyo?
Oneself is best: what is better (than that)?

Labbhā piyā ocitatthena pacchā.
Through gaining that benefit, later one (will have) what is (truly) pleasing.

Dhp 163 Saṅghabhedaparisakkanavatthu
Attempting to Split the Community

Good is Hard to Do

Devadatta causes a split in the Community and informs Ānanda. The Buddha explains how easy it is to do what is wrong.

299. Sukarāni asādhūni, attano ahitāni ca,
Easily done are things not good, and unbeneficial for oneself,

Yaṁ ve hitañ-ca sādhuñ-ca taṁ ve paramadukkaraṁ.
But that which is beneficial and good is exceedingly hard to do.

Ud 5.8 Ānandasuttaṁ
The Elder Ānanda

The Bad find Good Hard to Do

Devadatta causes a split in the Community and informs Ānanda. The Buddha explains how easy it is to do what is wrong.

300. Sukaraṁ sādhunā sādhu, sādhu pāpena dukkaraṁ.
Done with ease by the good is good, good by the wicked is done (only) with difficulty,

Pāpaṁ pāpena sukaraṁ, pāpam-ariyehi dukkaraṁ.
Wickedness is done by the wicked with ease, wickedness is done (only) with difficulty by the Noble Ones.

Tatiyaṁ Satakaṁ
The Third Hundred