| Minor Stories Index
The Story of Ahipeta*
While residing at the Jetavana monastery, the Buddha uttered Verse (71) of this
reference to a peta-ghost.
The Chief Disciple Maha Moggallana was on one occasion going on an alms-round
Lakkhana in Rajagaha. On seeing something, he smiled but said nothing. When they
were back at
the monastery, Thera Maha Moggallana told Thera Lakkhana that he smiled because
he saw a peta-
ghost with the head of a human being and the body of a snake. The Buddha then
said that he
himself had seen that very peta-ghost on the day he attained Buddhahood. The
explained that, a very long time ago, there was a Pacceka-Buddha, who was
respected by many.
People going to his monastery had to traverse a field. The owner of the field,
fearing that his field
would be damaged by too many people going to and from the monastery, set fire to
Pacceka-Buddha had to move to some other place. The disciples of the
Pacceka-Buddha, being very angry with the land-owner, beat him and killed
him. On his death he was
reborn in Avici
Niraya. In his present existence, he was serving out the remaining term of the
consequences (kamma) as a peta-ghost.
In conclusion, the
Buddha said, "An evil deed does not bear fruit immediately, but it
follows the evil doer. There is no escape from the consequences of an evil
Then the Buddha
spoke in verse as follows:
Verse 71. An evil deed does not immediately bear fruit, just as the newly-drawn
milk does not
curdle at once; but it follows the fool burning him like live coal covered with
* Ahipeta=Ahi + peta; ahi=snake + peta=peta-ghost, an ever-hungry spirit or
ghost. In this instance
a ghost with the head of a human being and the body of a snake.
Translated by Daw Mya Tin, M.A.,
Burma Pitaka Association, Rangoon, Burma 1986.
24 December 2016