| Minor Stories Index
Verse 136: The Story of the Boa Constrictor
While residing at the Jetavana monastery, the Buddha uttered Verse (136) of this
with reference to a boa constrictor peta*.
Once, as Thera Maha Moggallana was coming down the Gijjhakuta hill with Thera
he saw a boa constrictor peta and smiled, but he did not say anything. When they
at the Jetavana monastery, Thera Maha Moggallana told Lakkhana, in the presence
Buddha about the boa constrictor peta, with its long body burning in flames. The
said he himself had also seen that very peta soon after he had attained
that he did not say anything about it, because people might not believe him and
would be doing a great wrong to the Buddha. So out of compassion for these
Buddha had kept silent. Then he continued, "Now that I have a witness in
Moggallana, I will
tell you about this boa constrictor peta. This peta was a thief during the time
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
those evil deeds he had suffered for a long time in niraya. Now, while serving
out his term of
suffering as a peta, 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;
cannot escape the evil consequences"
Then the Buddha spoke in verse as follows:
Verse 136. A fool while doing evil deeds does not know them as being evil;
that fool suffers
for his evil deeds like one who is burnt by own fire.
* peta: an always hungry spirit or ghost.
Translated by Daw Mya Tin, M.A.,
Burma Pitaka Association, Rangoon, Burma 1986.
24 December 2016