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Verse 197 to 199: The Story of the Pacification of the Relatives of the Buddha

The Buddha uttered Verse (197) to (199) of this book, in the Sakyan country, with
reference to his relatives, who were quarrelling over the use of the water from the
Rohini river.

Kapilavatthu the town of the Sakyans and Koliya the town of the Koliya were situated on
either side of the Rohini river. The cultivators of both towns worked the fields watered by
the Rohini river. One year, they did not have enough rain and finding that the paddy and
other crops were beginning to shrivel up, cultivators on both sides wanted to divert the
water from the Rohini river to their own fields. Those living in Koliya said that there was not
enough water in the river for both sides, and that if only they could channel the water just
once more to their fields that would be enough for the paddy to mature and ripen. On the
other hand, people from Kapilavatthu argued that, in that case, they would be denied the use
of the water and their crops would surely fail, and they would be compelled to buy from
other people. They said that they were not prepared to go carrying their money and
valuables to the opposite bank of the river in exchange for food.

Both sides wanted the water for their own use only and there was much ill will between them
due to abusive language and accusations on both sides. The quarrel that started between
the cultivators came to the ears of the ministers concerned, and they reported the matter
to their respective rulers, and both sides prepared to go to war.

The Buddha, surveying the world with his supernormal powers, saw his relatives on both sides
of the river coming out to meet in battle and he decided to stop them. All alone, he went to
them by going through the sky, and stopped immediately above the middle of the river. His
relatives seeing him, powerfully and yet peacefully sitting above them in the sky, hid aside
all their weapons and paid obeisance to the Buddha. Then, the Buddha said to them, "For the
sake of some water, which is of little value, you should not destroy your lives, which are of so
much value and priceless. Why have you begun this foolish action? If I had not stopped you
today, your blood would have been flowing like a river by now. You live hating your enemies,
but I have none to hate; you are ailing with moral defilements, but I am free from them; you
are striving to have sensual pleasures, but I do not strive for them."

Then the Buddha spoke in verse as follows:

Verse 197: Indeed we live very happily, not hating anyone among those who hate; among men who
hate, we live without hating anyone.

Verse 198: Indeed we live very happily, in good health among the ailing; among men who are ailing
we live in good health.

Verse 199: Indeed we live very happily, not striving (for sensual pleasures), among these who
strive (for them); among those who strive (for them) we live without striving.

At the end of the discourse many people attained Sotapatti Fruition.

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

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