| Minor Stories Index
The Story of Thera Tissa
While residing at the Jetavana monastery, the Buddha uttered Verse (126) of this
with reference to Thera Tissa.
Once, there was a gem polisher and his wife in Savatthi; there was also a thera,
who was an
Arahat. Every day, the couple offered alms-food to the thera. One day, while the
polisher was handling meat, a messenger of King Pasenadi of Kosala arrived with
which was to be cut and polished and sent back to the king. The gem polisher
took the ruby
with his hand which was covered with blood, put it on a table and went into the
house to wash
his hands. The pet crane of the family seeing the blood stained ruby and taking
it for a piece
of meat picked it up and swallowed it in the presence of the thera. When the gem
returned, he found that the ruby was missing. He asked his wife and his son and
answered that they had not taken it. Then, he asked the thera and the thera said
that he did
not take it; but he was not satisfied. As there was no one else in the house,
the gem polisher
concluded that it must be the thera who had taken the precious ruby: so he told
his wife that
he must torture the thera to get admission of theft.
But his wife replied, "This thera had been our guide and teacher for the last
and we have never seen him doing anything evil; please do not accuse the thera.
It would be
better to take the king's punishment than to accuse a noble one." But her
husband paid no
heed to her words; he took a rope and tied up the thera and beat him many times
stick, as a result of which the thera bled profusely from the head, ears and
dropped on the floor. The crane, seeing blood and wishing to take it, came close
to the thera.
The gem polisher, who was by then in a great rage, kicked the crane with all his
might and the
bird died instantaneously. Then, the thera said, "Please see whether the crane
is dead or
not," and the gem polisher replied, "You too shall die like this crane." When
the thera was
sure the crane had died, he said softly, "My disciple, the crane swallowed the
Hearing this, the gem polisher cut up the crane and found the ruby in the
stomach. Then the
gem polisher realized his mistake and trembled with fear. He pleaded with the
pardon him and also to continue standing at his door for alms. To him the thera
disciple, it is not your fault, nor is it mine. This has happened on account of
what has been
done in our previous existences; it is just our debt in samsara; I feel no ill
will towards you.
As a matter of fact, this has happened because I have entered a house. From
today, I will
not enter any house; I would only stand at the door." Soon after saying this,
expired as a result of his injuries.
Later, the Bhikkhus asked the Buddha where the various characters in the above
were reborn, and the Buddha answered, "The crane was reborn as the son of the
polisher; the gem polisher was reborn in niraya; the wife of the gem polisher
was reborn in
one of the deva worlds; and the thera, who was already an Arahat
when he was living, entered
Then the Buddha spoke in verse as follows:
Verse 126. Some are reborn as human beings, the wicked are reborn in a place of
torment (niraya). the righteous go to the deva world, and those who are free
intoxicants (viz., the Arahats) realize Nibbana.
Translated by Daw Mya Tin, M.A.,
Burma Pitaka Association, Rangoon, Burma 1986.
24 December 2016