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   Buddhist Writings.
The Harvard Classics.  1909–14.
 
II. The Doctrine
 
Good and Bad Karma
 
Translated from the Samyutta-Nikya (iii. 2. 101
 
 
THUS have I heard.  1
  On a certain occasion The Blessed One was dwelling at Svatthi in Jetavana monastery in Anthapindika’s Park.  2
  Then drew near king Pasenadi the Kosalan, at an unusual time of day, to where The Blessed One was; and having drawn near and greeted The Blessed One, he sat down respectfully at one side. And king Pasenadi the Kosalan being seated respectfully at one side, The Blessed One spoke to him as follows:  3
  “Pray, whence have you come, great king, at this unusual time of day?”  4
  “Reverend Sir, a householder who was treasurer in Svatthi has just died leaving no son, and I have come from transferring his property to my royal palace; and, Reverend Sir, he had ten million pieces of gold, and silver beyond all reckoning. But this householder, Reverend Sir, would eat sour gruel and kanjaka, and the clothes he wore were made of hemp … and the conveyance in which he rode was a broken-down chariot with an umbrella of leaves.”  5
  “Even so, great king! Even so, great king! Formerly, great king, that householder and treasurer gave food in alms to a Private Buddha named Tagarasikkhi. But after he had given the order, saying, ‘Give food to this monk,’ and had risen from his seat and departed, he repented him of the gift and said to himself, ‘It would have been better if my slaves or my servants had had this food.’ And, moreover, he murdered his brother’s only son for the sake of the inheritance. Now whereas, great king, that householder and treasurer gave food in alms to the Private Buddha Tagarasikkhi, as the fruit of this deed he was born seven times in a higher state of existence, into a heavenly world; and as a further result of this deed he has held the treasurership seven times here in Svatthi. And whereas, great king, that householder and treasurer repented him of the gift, and said to himself, ‘It would have been better if my slaves or my servants had had this food,’ as the result of this sinful thought his mind has been averse to sumptuous food, to sumptuous clothing, to sumptuous equipages, to a sumptuous gratification of the five senses. And whereas, great king, the treasurer murdered his brother’s only son for the sake of the inheritance, as a result of this deed he has suffered in hell for many years, for many hundreds of years, for many thousands of years, for many hundreds of years; and as a further result of this deed he has now for the seventh time died without leaving any son and forfeited his property into the royal treasury. But now, great king, the former merit of this treasurer has become exhausted, and no new merit has been accumulated, and at the present time, great king, the treasurer is suffering in the Mah-Roruva hell.”  6
  “Reverend Sir, has the treasurer been reborn in the Mah-Roruva hell?”  7
  “Yes, great king. The Treasurer has been reborn in the Mah-Roruva hell.”
        “Nor grain, nor wealth, nor store of gold and silver,
Not one amongst his women-folk and children,
Nor slave, domestic, hired man,
Nor any one that eats his bread,
Can follow him who leaves this life,
But all things must be left behind.
 
“But every deed a man performs,
With body, or with voice, or mind,
’Tis this that he can call his own,
This with him take as he goes hence.
This is what follows after him,
And like a shadow ne’er departs.
 
“Let all, then, noble deeds perform,
A treasure-store for future weal;
For merit gained this life within,
Will yield a blessing in the next.”
  8
 

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