22. The Chapter about the Underworld

Abhūtavādī nirayaṁ upeti,
The one who speaks falsely goes to the underworld,

yo vāpi katvā ‘Na karomī’ ti cāha,
and he who says: ‘I did not do’ what he has done,

ubho pi te pecca samā bhavanti
both of these are just the same when they have gone

nihīnakammā manujā parattha. [306]
to the hereafter, (they are) humans who did base deeds.


Kāsāvakaṇṭhā bahavo pāpadhammā asaññatā,
Many wearing the monastic robe around their necks are wicked, unrestrained,

pāpā pāpehi kammehi nirayaṁ te upapajjare. [307]
the wicked through their wicked deeds re-arisein the underworld.


Seyyo ayoguḷo bhutto tatto, aggisikhūpamo,
It’s better to have eaten a glowing iron ball, like a flame of fire,

yañ-ce bhuñjeyya dussīlo raṭṭhapiṇḍaṁ asaññato. [308]
than that (the monastic) who is unrestrained and unvirtuous should enjoy the country’s almsfood.


Cattāri ṭhānāni naro pamatto,
There are four states the man who is heedless,

āpajjatī paradārūpasevī:
the man who consorts with other man’s wives, undergoes:

apuññalābhaṁ, nanikāmaseyyaṁ,
he gains demerit, an uncomfortable bed,

nindaṁ tatīyaṁ, nirayaṁ catutthaṁ. [309]
blame as third, and (rebirth in) the underworld as fourth.


Apuññalābho ca gatī ca pāpikā,
Gaining demerit and a bad destiny,

bhītassa bhītāya ratī ca thokikā,
and (only) the small delight of a scared man with a scared woman,

rājā ca daṇḍaṁ garukaṁ paṇeti,
and kings who apply heavy punishment,

tasmā naro paradāraṁ na seve. [310]
a man therefore should not consort with another’s wife.


Kuso yathā duggahito hattham-evānukantati,
As jagged Kusa is a particular type of grass, see Nature s.v. Kusa: A type of perennial grass with a sharp spiky leaf growing up to 0.9 m. high and with deep roots; but the commentary here defines it to mean any grass that is capable of cutting, including palm leaves, hence the translation. grass, wrongly grasped, cuts into the hand,

sāmaññaṁ dupparāmaṭṭhaṁ nirayāyupakaḍḍhati. [311]
so does the ascetic life, wrongly grasped, drag one down to the underworld.


Yaṁ kiñci sithilaṁ kammaṁ saṅkiliṭṭhañ-ca yaṁ vataṁ,
Whatever lax deed there is and that vow which is defiled,

saṅkassaraṁ brahmacariyaṁ na taṁ hoti mahapphalaṁ. [312]
(know that) a holy life that is doubtful does not have great fruit for that one.


Kayirañ-ce kayirāthenaṁ, daḷham-enaṁ parakkame,
If he would do what should be done, he should be firm in his effort,

saṭhilo hi paribbājo bhiyyo ākirate rajaṁ. [313]
for the wanderer who is lax spreads a lot of impurity.


Akataṁ dukkataṁ seyyo, pacchā tapati dukkataṁ,
Better undone is a wrong-doing, a wrong-doing one later regrets,

katañ-ca sukataṁ seyyo, yaṁ katvā nānutappati. [314]
better done is what is well-done, which, when done, one does not regret.


Nagaraṁ yathā paccantaṁ guttaṁ santarabāhiraṁ,
As a border town is guarded on the inside and the outside,

evaṁ gopetha attānaṁ, khaṇo vo mā upaccagā,
so one should watch over oneself, and you should not let the moment pass,

khaṇātītā hi socanti nirayamhi samappitā. [315]
for when the chance has passed they grieve when consigned to the underworld.


Alajjitāye lajjanti, lajjitāye na lajjare,
They are ashamed of what is not shameful, not ashamed of what is shameful,

micchādiṭṭhisamādānā sattā gacchanti duggatiṁ. [316]
undertaking wrong views, beings go to a bad destiny.


Abhaye bhayadassino, bhaye cābhayadassino,
Seeing fear in what is not fearful, not seeing fear in what is fearful,

micchādiṭṭhisamādānā sattā gacchanti duggatiṁ. [317]
undertaking wrong views, beings go to a bad destiny.


Avajje vajjamatino, vajje cāvajjadassino,
Finding blame in what is blameless, not seeing blame in what is blameable,

micchādiṭṭhisamādānā sattā gacchanti duggatiṁ. [318]
undertaking wrong views, beings go to a bad destiny.


Vajjañ-ca vajjato ñatvā, avajjañ-ca avajjato,
Knowing blame in what is blameable, and no blame in what is blameless,

sammādiṭṭhisamādānā sattā gacchanti suggatiṁ. [319]
undertaking right views, beings go to a good destiny.

Nirayavaggo Dvāvīsatimo
The Chapter about the Underworld, the Twenty-Second


Related Verses from the Dhammapada

Gabbham-eke ’papajjanti, nirayaṁ pāpakammino,
Some are reborn in the womb, (but) those who are wicked in the underworld,

saggaṁ sugatino yanti, parinibbanti anāsavā. [126]
the righteous go to heaven, those who are pollutant-free are emancipated.


Yo daṇḍena adaṇḍesu appaduṭṭhesu dussati
Whoever offends with a stick those who are inoffensive and harmless

dasannam-aññataraṁ ṭhānaṁ khippam-eva nigacchati: [137]
will quickly fall into one of ten states:

vedanaṁ pharusaṁ, jāniṁ, sarīrassa ca bhedanaṁ,
harsh feelings, loss (of his wealth), and the break up of the body,

garukaṁ vā pi ābādhaṁ, cittakkhepaṁ va pāpuṇe, [138]
or even heavy affliction, or surely he will lose his mind,

rājato vā upassaggaṁ, abbhakkhānaṁ va dāruṇaṁ,
(there may be) danger from the King, or slander that is terrible,

parikkhayaṁ va ñātīnaṁ, bhogānaṁ va pabhaṅguraṁ, [139]
(he may suffer from) loss of kin, or (from) the destruction of wealth,

atha vāssa agārāni aggi ḍahati pāvako,
also his houses may be consumed by flames and fire,

kāyassa bhedā duppañño nirayaṁ so upapajjati. [140]
and at the break-up of the body that one lacking in wisdom will arise in the underworld.