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Verse (72): The Story of Satthikutapeta

While residing at the Veluvana monastery, the Buddha uttered Verse (72) of this book with
reference to a peta-ghost named Satthikutapeta.

The Chief Disciple Thera Maha Moggallana saw this enormous peta-ghost while going on an alms-round
with Thera Lakkhana. In this connection, the Buddha explained that Satthikutapeta, in one of his
previous existences, was very skilful in throwing stones at things. One day, he asked permissions
from his teacher to try out his skill. His teacher told him not to hit a cow, or a human being as he
would have to pay compensation to the owner or to the relative, but to find a target which was
ownerless or guardianless i.e. with no mother, father or protector.

On seeing the Pacceka-Buddha, the idiot lacking in intelligence, thought the Pacceka-Buddha, having
no relative or guardian, would be an ideal target. So he threw a stone at the Pacceka-Buddha , who
was on an alms-round. The stone entered from one ear and came out of the other. The
Pacceka-Buddha expired, when he reached the monastery. The stone-thrower was killed by the
disciples of the Pacceka-Buddha and he was reborn in Avici Niraya. Afterwards, he was reborn as a
peta-ghost and had since been serving the remaining term of the evil (kamma) consequences of his
wrong deed. As a peta-ghost his enormous head was being continuously hit with red-hot hammers.

In conclusion, the Buddha said, "To a fool, his skill or knowledge is of no use; it can only harm him."

Then the Buddha spoke in verse as follows:

Verse 72. The skill of a fool can only harm him; it destroys his merit and his wisdom (lit., it severs
his head).

Translated by Daw Mya Tin, M.A.,
Burma Pitaka Association, Rangoon, Burma 1986.


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