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Academic Sutta Name Notes PSA Plae Vagga Nikaya PTS Keywords

I:1 An Arahant who had lost his eyesight (Cakkhupala)

One day, Venerable Cakkhupala who was blind came to pay homage to the Buddha at the Jetavana monastery. While he was pacing up and down in meditation, he accidentally stepped on some insects. In the morning, some bhikkhus visiting him found the dead insects. They thought ill of him and reported the matter to the Buddha. When questioned by the Buddha whether they had seen Cakkhupala killing the insects, they answered in the negative. The Buddha then admonished them, 'Just as you had not seen him killing, so also he had not seen those living insects. Besides, being an Arahant he had no intention of killing, and was not guilty of committing an unwholesome act.' On being asked why Cakkhupala was blind, the Buddha revealed the following story to explain the nature of kammic effects.

Cakkhupala had been a physician in one of his past existences. Once, he had deliberately made a woman patient blind. That woman had promised to become his servant together with her children if her eyes were completely cured. Fearing that she and her children would have to become servants, she lied to the physician. She told him that her eyes were getting worse when, in fact, they were perfectly cured. The physician knew she was deceiving him, so in revenge, he gave her another ointment which made her totally blind. As a result of this evil deed the physician lost his eyesight many times in his later existences.

The Buddha then commented that an evil deed committed will follow the evildoer just like a wheel follows the hoof of the ox that bears the yoke.

55/170 Dhammapada & Commentary Khuddhaka J.i.106ff. despair

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Last modified on: Sunday, 13 August 2000.