| Minor Stories Index
67: The Story of a Farmer
While residing at the
Jetavana monastery, the Buddha uttered Verse (67) of this
reference to a farmer who handled poison.
One day, some thieves having stolen some valuables and cash from the house of a
rich man came to
a field. There, they divided the stolen property among themselves and dispersed;
but a packet
containing one thousand in cash, having dropped from one of the thieves, was
Early in the morning on that day, the Buddha, on surveying the world with his
perceived that a farmer, cultivating near that field, would attain Sotapatti
Fruition on that very
day. So, the Buddha went there,
accompanied by the Venerable Ananda. The farmer
on seeing the
Buddha paid obeisance to him and continued to plough the field. The Buddha
seeing the packet of
money said to the Venerable Ananda, "Ananda, look at that very poisonous snake,"
replied, "Venerable Sir, yes, it is, indeed, a very poisonous snake!" Then, both
the Buddha and the
Venerable Ananda continued their way.
The farmer, hearing them, went to find out if there really was a snake and found
the packet of
money. He took the picket and hid it in a place. The owners of the property
coming after the
thieves came to the field, and tracing the footprints of the farmer, found the
packet of money.
They beat the farmer and took him to the king, who ordered his men to kill the
farmer. On being
taken to the cemetery, where he was to be killed, the farmer kept on repeating,
"Ananda, look at
that very poisonous snake. Venerable Sir, I see the snake; it is, indeed, a very
When the king's men heard the above dialogue between the Buddha and the
being repeated all the way, they were puzzled and took him to the king. The king
surmised that the
farmer was calling upon the Buddha as a witness; he was therefore taken to the
presence of the
Buddha. After hearing from the Buddha everything that had happened in the
morning, the king
remarked, "If he had not been able to call upon the Buddha as a witness of his
innocence, this man
would have been killed." To him, the Buddha replied, "A wise man should not do
anything that he
would repent after doing it."
Then the Buddha spoke in verse as follows:
That deed is not well done, if one regrets having done it, and if,
with a tearful face, one has to weep as a result of that deed.
At the end of the discourse, the farmer attained Sotapatti Fruition.
Translated by Daw Mya Tin, M.A.,
Burma Pitaka Association, Rangoon, Burma 1986.
24 December 2016