Once upon a time while the Lord Buddha was staying at Savattee City. Three groups of monks from various cities came to visit the Buddha in his residence. After the Buddha’s greeted the monks, they reported to him their experiences on their journey.
The first group told the following story: As they arrived at a village and went for alms round. Villagers who had faith in Buddhism invited them to their home and offered them assorted food. However something unexpectedly happened i.e. the flame from the stove flared up and burnt a grass ring and it flew up into the air. At that time there was a crow just flew by. It happened to put its neck into the burnt ring that caused the bird to be burnt live. As such it dropped dead at the very spot.
Witnessing that the monks felt very sad and thought only the Lord Buddha could reveal the cause of the incident.
The second group of monks reported their story to the Buddha as follows:
While they sailed in a merchant vessel in the vast ocean suddenly the craft just stopped. No matter how hard they tried but it just didn’t want to move. They thought there must be an undesirable person on the boat. So they decided to have a ballot system to find out who was the unwanted. Strange enough the captain’s young and beautiful wife had 3 unlucky draws. So the captain ordered his crews to hang a sandbag around his wife’s neck and threw her into the ocean. So the monks thought apart from the Buddha, nobody can find out about the woman’s bad deeds.
The third group comprised of seven monks said that they wondered in the wilderness and decided to take a rest in a cave as the evening fell. In the middle of the night out of a sudden a big rock as big as the roof rolled down the hill and blocked the entrance of the cave.
Villagers from seven districts tried to help moving the rock out of the way fruitlessly. Everyone became desperate; the seven monks suffered from hunger within the cave but out of a sudden after the seventh day passed the rock just rolled itself out of the way. Those monks were very weak from lack of food. They all thought that apart from the Lord Buddha no one can tell them of their retribution. They asked the Buddha to clarify their misdeeds.
The Lord Buddha revealed that the crow in the past life was born as a farmer in Baranasee city. He had a stubborn and lethargic cow. The farmer trained it by whipping and swearing at it but still he was lazy. Finally out of anger the farmer got a bunch of hay and rolled it around the cow’s neck and started to light the hay with cruelty. The cow was burnt live and died. Due to this retribution, the farmer was reborn in hell for a long time and with a residue of the misdeed he was reborn as a crow and was burnt live seven lives already.
Then The Buddha told the story of the past retribution of the captain’s wife who was born as a wife of a wealthy man in Baranasee city. She had a dog that followed her everywhere she went. Until young men made fun of her and called her names such as “dog’s hunter”
The woman felt so embarrassed that she chased it away and hit it as well but the dog still followed her restlessly. This was because it was her husband in one of her past three lives. He followed her everywhere out of his love for her.
Finally she thought of killing the dog. She then went to a river bank and pretended to call the dog. As soon as the dog heard her sweet call, he rushed to her and wagging his tail joyfully thinking that he hadn’t heard these sweet words for such a long time. He ran to her but then she tied him with one end of a rope and a bag of sand on the other end and threw the dog into the water.
The heavy sand bag then pulled the dog to the bottom of the river to death. With this retribution the woman was thrown into the water for 100 lives already.
Then the Lord Buddha revealed that the seven monks were born as shepherds and friends in Baranasee city. One day they saw a big lizard. Being wicked they chased it. The lizard got frightened and went down into a termite hole. As they couldn’t make the lizard come out from its refuge, those children then blocked all the entrances and thought they would come back again the next day. Unfortunately, they moved onto the next area and forgot about the lizard completely. After seven days they came back to the same spot again, they opened the hole to discover an exhausted and skeletal lizard crawling out of the fleapit. Seeing that they took pity of it and let it go .
As the result of the bad deeds they were trapped for seven days and through fourteen lives already. Even they became monks they still had to go through the same incident.
The Lord Buddha exhorted those monks by saying this discourse:
Neither in the sky, nor the middle of the sea,
nor by entering a cavern in the hills,
nowhere is found that place upon the earth
where staying, one could be from evil kamma free.
At the end of the discourse those monks had gained the path of ranging from being Sodapana at the least. Even nowadays this discourse is still priceless to the four Buddhist congregations.
Translated by Douangchanh Snith
Source from www.dmc.tv