Sabbe tasanti daṇḍassa, sabbe bhāyanti maccuno Attānaṃ upamaṃ katvā, na haneyya na ghātaye
All living beings are terrified of punishment (danda); all fear death. Putting oneself in another's place,, one should neither kill nor cause to kill.
Story related to Dhammapada Verse 129: Group of Six Bhikkhus
While residing at the Javana monastery, the Buddha uttered Verse 129 with reference to a group of six bhikkhus (chabbaggi) who picked a quarrel with another group comprising seventeen bhikkhus.
Once 17 bhikkhus were cleaning up a building in the Jetavana monastery-complex with the intention of occupying it, when another group comprising six bhikkhus arrived on the scene. The group of six said to the first group, "We are senior to you, so you had better give way to us; we will take this place."
The group of 17 did not give in, so the chabbaggis beat up the other group who cried out in pain. The Buddha learning about this reprimanded them and laid down the disciplinary rule forbidding bhikkhus to beat others. In other words, as all are afraid of punishment thus one should nor harm or cause harm to others.
Verse 130 (Life is dear to all)
Sabbe tasanti daṇḍassa, sabbesaṃ jīvitaṃ piyaṃ Attānaṃ upamaṃ katvā, na haneyya na ghātaye
All living beings are terrified of punishment (danda); to all life is dear. Comparing others with oneself, one should neither kill nor cause to kill.
Story related to Dhammapada Verse 130: Group of Six Bhikkhus
While residing at the Jetavana monastery, the Buddha uttered Verse 130 with reference to a group of six bhikkhus. After coming to blows the first time, the same two groups of bhikkhus quarreled again over the same building. As the rule prohibiting beating others had already been laid down, the group of six threatened the other group with upraised hands.
The group of 17 bhikkhus who were junior to the chabbaggis, cried out in fright. The Buddha hearing about this laid down the disciplinary rule forbidding the raising of hands in threat.
In other words, as life is dear to all thus one should not cause harm to others.
Verse 131-132 (Those who do not receive happiness)
131 Sukhakāmāni bhūtāni, yo daṇḍena vihiṃsati Attano sukham esāno, pecca so na labhate sukhaṃ.
132 Sukhakāmāni bhūtāni, yo daṇḍena na hiṃsati Attano sukham esāno, pecca so labhate sukhaṃ
He who seeks his own happiness by force, who also desire to have happiness, will not find happiness in his next existence.
He who seeks his own happiness not by force, who also desire to have happiness, will find happiness in his next existence.
Story related to dhammapada Verse 131-132: A number of youths
While residing at the Jetavana monastery, the Buddha uttered Verses 131 and 132 with reference to a number of youths. Once, the Buddha was out on an alms-round at Savatthi when he came across a number of youths beating a snake with sticks. When questioned, the youths answered that they were beating the snake because they were afraid that the snake might bite them. To them the Buddha said, "If you do not want to be harmed, you should also not harm others: if you harm others, you will not find happiness in your next existence." In other words, if we harm others we will not find happiness. If we do not harm others then we will find happiness.
134 Sace neresi attānaṃ, kaṃso upahato yathā Esa patto’si nibbānaṃ, sārambho te na vijjati
Do not speak harshly to anyone; those who are thus spoken to will retort. Malicious talk is indeed the cause of suffering and retribution will come to you.
If you can keep yourself calm and quiet like a broken gong which is no longer resonant, you have realized Nibbana, no anger is found in you.
Story related to Dhammapada Verse 133-134: Thera Kondadhana
While residing at the Jetavana monastery, the Buddha uttered Verses 133 and 134, with reference to Thera Kondadhana.
Since the day Kondadhana was admitted to the Order, the image of a female was always following him. This image was seen by others, but Kondadhana himself did not see it and did not know about it. When he was out on an alms-round, people would offer two spoonfuls to him, saying, "This is for you, Venerable Sir, and this is for your female companion." Seeing the bhikkhu going about with a woman, people went to King Pasenadi of Kosala and reported about the bhikkhu and the woman. They said to the king, "O king! Drive out the bhikkhu, who is lacking in moral virtues, from your kingdom." So the king went to the monastery where that bhikkhu was staying and surrounded him with his men. Hearing noises and voices, the bhikkhus came out and stood at the door, and the image also was there not far from the bhikkhu. Knowing that the king had come, the bhikkhu went into the room to wait for him. When the king entered the room, the image was not there. The king asked the bhikkhu where the woman was and he replied that he saw no woman. The king wanted to make sure and he asked the bhikkhu to leave the room for a while. The bhikkhu left the room, but when the king looked out, again he saw the woman near the bhikkhu. But when the bhikkhu came back to the room the woman was nowhere to be found. The king concluded that the woman was not real and so the bhikkhu must be innocent. He therefore invited the bhikkhu to come to the palace every day for alms-food.
When other bhikkhus heard about this, they were puzzled and said to the bhikkhu, "O bhikkhu with no morals! The king instead of driving you out of his kingdom, has invited you for alms-food, you are doomed!" The bhikkhu on his part retorted, "Only you are the ones without morals; only you are doomed because you are the ones who go about with women!"
The bhikkhus then reported the matter to the Buddha. The Buddha sent for Kodadadhana and said to him, "My son, did you see any woman with the other bhikkhus that you have talked to them thus? You have not seen any woman with them as they have seen one with you. I see that you do not realize that you have been cursed on account of an evil deed done by you in a past existence. Now listen, I shall explain to you why you have an image of a woman following you about. "You were a deva in your last existence. During that time, there were two bhikkhus who were very much attached to each other. But you tried to create trouble between the two, by assuming the appearance of a woman and followed one of the bhikkhus. For that evil deed you are now being followed by the image of a woman. So, my son, in future do not argue with other bhikkhus any more; keep silent like a gong with the rim broken off and you will realize Nibbana."
In other words, one should not speak ill of others as others will retort. Instead one should keep silent like a broken gong, only then anger will cease in him and he can attain nibbana.
Verse 135 (Decay and Death Are Universal)
Yathā daṇḍena gopālo, gāvo pājeti gocaraṃ Evaṃ jarā ca maccū ca, āyuṃ pājenti pāṇinaṃ
As a cowherd drives cows out to pasture with a stick, so do old age and death drive the life out of living beings.
Story related to Dhammapada Verse 135: Women Observing the Moral Precepts (Uposatha)
While residing at the Pubbarama monastery, the Buddha uttered Verse 135 with reference to 500 women. Once, 500 women from Savatthi came to the Pubbarama monastery to keep the Uposatha Sila vows. The donor of the monastery, the well-renowned Visakha, asked different age groups of women why they had come to keep the uposatha moral vows. She got different answers from different age groups for they had come to the monastery for different reasons.
The old women came to the monastery because they hoped to gain the riches and glories of the devas in their next existence; the middle-aged women had come to the monastery because they did not want to stay under the same roof with the mistresses of their respective husbands. The young married women had come because they wanted their first born to be a son, and the young unmarried women had come because they wanted to get married to good husbands.
Having had these answers, Visakha took all the women to the Buddha. When she told the Buddha about the various answers of the different age groups of ladies, the Buddha said, "Visakha! birth, ageing and death are always actively working in beings; because one is born, one is subject to ageing and decay, and finally to death. Yet, they do not wish to strive for liberation from the round of existences (samsara); they still wish to linger in samsara" In other words, once born everyone is subjected to aging and death.Thus one should work towards liberation rather than lingering in the round of samsara.
A fool does evil deeds without knowing them as being evil; but that fool is tormented for his evil deeds like one burnt by fire.
Story related to Dhammapada Verse 136 : The python ghost
While residing at the Jetavana monastery, the Buddha uttered Verse 136 with reference to a boa constrictor peta (ghost)
Once, as Thera Maha Moggallana was coming down the Vulture's peak with Thera Lakkhana he saw a python peta and smiled, but he did not say anything. When they were back at the Jetavana monastery, Thera Maha Moggallana told Lakkhana, in the presence of the Buddha about the python ghost, with its long body burning in flames. The Buddha also said he himself had also seen that very peta soon after he had attained Buddhahood, but that he did not say anything about it because people might not believe him and thus they would be doing a great wrong to the Buddha.
So out of compassion for these beings, the Buddha had kept silent. Then he continued, "Now that I have a witness in Moggallana, I will tell you about this python ghost. This ghost was a thief during the time of Kassapa Buddha. As a thief and a cruel-hearted man, he had set fire to the house of a rich man seven times. And not satisfied with that, he also set fire to the perfumed hall donated by the same rich man to Kassapa Buddha, while Kassapa Buddha was out on an alms-round. As a result of those evil deeds he had suffered for a long time in hell. Now, while serving out his term of suffering as a ghost, he is being burnt with sparks of flames going up and down the length of his body. Bhikkhus, fools when doing evil deeds do not know them as being evil; but they cannot escape the evil consequences" In other words, those ignorant fools did evil deeds without knowing evil has been done. Subsequently they will suffer from the bad kamma of their evil actions.
Verse 137-140 Who Harms the Innocent Comes to Grief
Yo daṇḍena adaṇḍesu, appaduṭṭhesu dussati Dasannam aññataraṃ ṭhānaṃ, khippam eva nigacchati.137
He who harms the defenceless and innocent with weapons, soon will come to one of these states: He will be subject to acute pain, disaster, bodily injury, grievous illness, lunacy, oppression by the king, wrongful accusation, loss of relatives, destruction of wealth, or fire will destroy his house. After death, the foolish man will be reborn in hell.
Story related to Dhammapada137-140: Thera Maha MoggallanaWhile residing at the Jetavana monastery, the Buddha uttered Verses 137-140, with reference to Thera Maha Moggallana.
Once, the Nigantha ascetics planned to kill Thera Maha Moggallana because they thought that by doing away with Thera Maha Moggallana the fame and fortune of the Buddha would also be diminished. So they hired some assassins to kill Thera Maha Moggallana who was staying at Kalasila near Rajagaha at that time.
The assassins surrounded the monastery; but Thera Maha Moggallana, with his supernormal power, got away first through a key hole, and for the second time through the roof. Thus, they could not get hold of the Thera for two months. When the assassins again surrounded the monastery during the third month, Thera Maha Moggallana, recollecting that he had yet to pay for the evil deeds done by him during one of his past existences, did not exercise his supernormal power.
So he was caught and the assassins beat him up until all his bones were utterly broken. After that, they left his body in a bush, thinking that he had passed away. But the Thera, through his jhanic power, revived himself and went to see the Buddha at the Jetavana monastery to pay his final respects to the Buddha before his death. When he informed the Buddha that he would soon realize parinibbana at Kalasila, near Rajagaha, the Buddha told him to go only after expounding the Dhamma to the congregation of bhikkhus, as that would be the last time they would see him. So, Thera Maha Moggallana expounded the Dhamma and left after paying obeisance seven times to the Buddha.
The news of the passing away of Thera Maha Moggallana at the hands of assassins spread like wild fire. King Ajatasattu ordered his men to investigate and get hold of the culprits. The assassins were caught and they were burnt to death. The bhikkhus felt very sorrowful over the death of Thera Maha Moggallana, and could not understand why such a personage like Thera Maha Moggallana should die at the hands of assassins.
To them the Buddha said, "Bhikkhus! Considering that Moggallana had lived a noble life in this existence, he should not have met with such a death. But in one of his past existences, he had done a great wrong to his own parents, who were both blind. In the beginning, he was a very dutiful son, but after his marriage, his wife began to make trouble and she suggested that he should get rid of his parents. He took his blind parents in a cart into a forest, and there he killed them by beating them and making them believe that it was some thief who was beating them. For that evil deed he suffered in hell for a long time; and in this existence, his last, he has died at the hands of assassins. Indeed, by doing wrong to those who should not be wronged, one is sure to suffer for it." In other words, one should not harm or kill others as they will have to pay for the bad kamma they had created. They will meet with one of the ten bad consequences mentioned earlier.
Verse 141 (Practices That Will Not Lead To Purity)
Na naggacariyā na jaṭā na paṅkā, nānāsakā thaṇḍilasāyikā vā Rajo jallaṃ ukkuṭikappadhānaṃ, sodhenti maccaṃ avitiṇṇakaṅkhaṃ
Neither nakedness, matted locks, covering the body with mud, fasting, lying on the ground, dusting with soil or ashes, nor squatting on the heels, can purify a mortal who has not overcome doubt.
Story related to Dhammapada Verse 141 : Bhikkhu Bahubhandika
While residing at the Jetavana monastery, the Buddha uttered Verse 141 with reference to Bahubhandika, a bhikkhu with many possessions.
Once there was a rich man in Savatthi. After the death of his wife, he decided to become a bhikkhu. But before he entered the Order, he built a monastery, which included a kitchen and a store room. He also brought his own furniture, utensils and a large stock of rice, oil, butter and other provisions. Whatever dishes he wanted was cooked for him by his servants.
Thus, even as a bhikkhu he was living in comfort, and because he had so many things with him, he was known as 'Bahubhandika.' One day, other bhikkhus took him to the Buddha, and in his presence told the Buddha about the many things he had brought along with him to the monastery, and also how he was still leading the luxurious life of a rich man.
So, the Buddha said to Bahubhandika, "My son, I have been teaching all of you to live an austere life; why have you brought so much property with you?" When reprimanded, that bhikkhu lost his temper and said angrily, "Indeed, Venerable Sir! I will now live as you wish me to." So saying, he cast off his upper robe.
Seeing him thus, the Buddha said to him, "My son, in your last existence you were an ogre; even as an ogre you had a sense of shame and a sense of fear to do evil. Now that you are a bhikkhu in my Teaching, why do you have to throw away the sense of shame, and the sense of fear to do evil?"
When he heard those words, the bhikkhu realized his mistake; his sense of shame and fear to do evil returned, and he respectfully paid obeisance to the Buddha and asked that he should be pardoned. The Buddha then said to him, "Standing there without your upper robe is not proper; just discarding your robe etc., does not maker you an austere bhikkhu; a bhikkhu must also discard his doubt." In other words, practicing austerities and self mortification will not purify or liberate the mind.
Verse 142 (Not by Appearance Alone is One A Monk)
Alaṅkato ce’pi samaṃ careyya, santo danto niyato brahmacārī Sabbesu bhūtesu nidhāya daṇḍaṃ, so brāhmaṇo so samaṇo sa bhikkhu.
If one who is richly adorned lives in tranquillity, is calm, his senses controlled, free from moral defilements and assured of eventual enlightenment. Laying aside enimity towards all living beings, then he is a brahmana, a samana and a bhkihhu.
Story related to Dhammapada Verse 142 : Santati the Minister
While residing at the Jetavana monastery, the Buddha uttered Verse 142 with reference to Santati, the minister of King Pasenadi of Kosala.
On one occasion, Santati the minister returned after suppressing a rebellion on the border. King Pasenadi was so pleased with him that he honored the minister with the gift of the riches and glory of a ruler together with a dancing girl to entertain him for seven days. For seven days, the king's minister enjoyed himself to his heart's content, getting intoxicated with drink and infatuated with the young dancer.
On the seventh day, riding the ornamented royal elephant, he went down to the riverside for a bath. On the way, he met the Buddha going on an alms-round, and being drunk, he just bowed casually, as a sign of respect to the Buddha. The Buddha smiled, and Ananda asked the Buddha why he smiled. So, the Buddha said to Ananda, "Ananda, this minister will come to see me this very day and after I have given him a short discourse he will become an arahant. Soon after becoming an arahant he will realize parinibbana."
Santati and his party spent the whole day at the riverside, bathing, eating, drinking and thus thoroughly enjoying themselves. In the evening the minister and his party went to the garden to have more drinks and to be entertained by the dancer. The dancer, on her part, tried her best to entertain the minister. For the whole week she was living on reduced diet to keep herself trim. While dancing, she suffered a severe stroke and collapsed, and at that instant she died with her eyes and mouth wide open.
The minister was shocked and deeply distressed. In agony, he tried to think of a refuge and remembered the Buddha. He went to the Buddha, accompanied by his followers, and related to him about the grief and anguish he suffered on account of the sudden death of the dancer. He then said to the Buddha, "Venerable Sir! Please help me get over my sorrow; be my refuge, and let me have the peace of mind."
To him the Buddha replied, "Rest assured my son, you have come to one, who could help you, One who could be a constant solace to you and who will be your refuge. The tears you have shed due to the death of this dancer throughout the round of rebirths is more than the waters of all the oceans." The Buddha then instructed the minister in verse. The meaning of the verse is as follows.
"In the past there has been in you clinging (upadana) due to craving; get rid of it. In future, do not let such clinging occur in you. Do not also harbor any clinging in the present; by not having any clinging, craving and passion will be calmed in you and you will realize Nibbana."
After hearing the verse, the minister attained arahantship. Then, realizing that his life span was at an end, he said to the Buddha, "Venerable Sir! Let me now realize pari-nibbana, for my time has come." The Buddha consenting, Santati rose to a height of seven toddy-palms into the sky and there, while meditating on the element of fire (tejo kasina), he passed away realizing parinibbana. His body went up in flames, his blood and flesh burnt up and the bone relics (dhatu) fell through the sky and dropped on the clean piece of cloth which was spread by the bhikkhus as instructed by the Buddha.
At the congregation, the bhikkhus asked the Buddha, "Venerable Sir! The minister had realized parinibbana dressed in full regalia; is he a samana on a brahmana?" To them, the Buddha replied "Bhikkhus! My son can be called both a samana and a brahmana." In other words, one who has achieved arahantship can be called a brahmana or samana or bhikkhu as it is not by what he/she wears that one has achieved liberation.
Asso yathā bhadro kasāniviṭṭho, Ātāpino saṃvegino bhavātha Saddhāya sīlena ca vīriyena ca, samādhinā dhammavinicchayena ca Sampannavijjācaraṇā patissatā, jahissatha3 dukkham idaṃ anappakaṃ.144 Rarely in the world is there a man to be found who, restrained by a sense of shame, avoids censure as a good horse avoids the whip?
Like a good horse touched by the whip, be zealous and stirred by profound religious emotion. By faith, morality, effort, concentration, investigation of the Dhamma endowed with knowledge and conduct, and constant mindfulness, leave this great suffering behind.
Story related to Dhammapada Verse 143-144 : Thera Pilotikatissa
While residing at the Jetavana monastery, the Buddha uttered Verses 143 and 144 with reference to Thera Pilotikatissa.
Once, Thera Ananda saw a shabbily dressed youth going round begging for food; he felt pity for the youth and made him a samanera (novice). The young samanera left his old clothes and his begging plate on the branch of a tree. When he became a bhikkhu he was known as Pilotikatissa.
As a bhikkhu, he did not have to worry about food and clothing as he was in affluent circumstances. Yet, sometimes he did not feel happy in his life as a bhikkhu and thought of going back to the life of a lay man. Whenever he had this feeling, he would go back to that tree where he had left his old clothes and his plate. There, at the foot of the tree, he would put this question to himself, "Oh shameless one! Do you want to leave the place where you are fed well and dressed well? Do you still want to put on these shabby clothes and go begging again with this old plate in your hand?" Thus, he would rebuke himself, and after calming down, he would go back to the monastery.
After two or three days, again, he felt like leaving the monastic life of a bhikkhu, and again, he went to the tree where he kept his old clothes and his plate. After asking himself the same old question and having been reminded of the wretchedness of his old life, he returned to the monastery. This was repeated many times.
When other bhikkhus asked him why he often went to the tree where he kept his old clothes and his plate, he told them that he went to see his teacher (the clothes and plate). Thus keeping his mind on his old clothes as the subject of meditation, he came to realize the true nature of the aggregates of the khandhas (i.e., anicca, dukkha, anatta), and eventually he became an arahant. Then, he stopped going to the tree.
Other bhikkhus noticing that Pilotikatissa had stopped going to the tree where he kept his old clothes and his plate asked him, "Why don't you go to your teacher any more?" To them, he answered, "When I had the need, I had to go to him; but there is no need for me to go to him now." When the bhikkhus heard his reply, they took him to see the Buddha.
When they came to his presence they said, "Venerable Sir! This bhikkhu claims that he has attained arahatship; he must be telling lies." But the Buddha refuted them, and said, "Bhikkhus! Pilotikatissa is not telling lies, he speaks the truth. Though he had relationship with his teacher previously, now he has no relationship whatsoever with his teacher. Thera Pilotikatissa has instructed himself to differentiate right and wrong causes and to discern the true nature of things. He has now become an arahant, and so there is no further connection between him and his teacher." In other words, when one has achieved enlightenment there will no more cravings/clingings and all defilements have been abandoned.
Irrigators channel the waters. Fletchers bend the arrows. Carpenters shape the wood. The wise tame themselves.
Story related to Dhammapada Verse 145 : Novice Sukha
While residing at the Jetavana monastery, the Buddha uttered Verse 145 with reference to a samanera named Sukha. Sukha was made a samanera (novice) at the age of seven years by Thera Sariputta. On the eighth day after being made a samanera he followed Thera Sariputta on his alms-round. While doing the round they came across some farmers irrigating their fields, some fletchers straightening their arrows and some carpenters crafting things like cart-wheels, etc. Seeing these, he asked Thera Sariputta whether these inanimate things could be guided to where one wished or be made into things one wished to make, and the thera answered him in the affirmative.
The young samanera then pondered that if that were so, there could be no reason why a person could not tame his mind and practise Tranquillity and Insight Meditation. So, he asked permission from the thera to return to the monastery. There, he shut himself up in his room and practised meditation in solitude, Sakka and the devas also helped him in his practice by keeping the monastery very quiet.
That same day, the eighth day after his becoming a samanera, Sukha attained arahantship (enlightenment). In connection with this, the Buddha said to the congregation of bhikkhus, "When a person earnestly practices the Dhamma, even Sakka and the devas give protection and help. I myself have kept Sariputta at the entrance so that Sukha should not be disturbed. The samanera, having seen the farmers irrigating their fields, the fletchers straightening their arrows and the carpenters making cart-wheels and other things, trains his mind and practises the Dhamma. Thus, he has now become an arahant." In other words if inanimate things can be tamed so too a wise person can tame the mind and get rid of the defilements.