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Academic Sutta Name Notes PSA Plae Vagga Nikaya PTS Keywords

V:12 A ghost with a human head and snake's body

On one occasion, Venerable Maha Moggallana was going on an almsround with Venerable Lakkhana in Rajagaha. On seeing something strange, he smiled* but said nothing. When they were back at the monastery, Moggallana explained to Lakkhana that he had smiled because he had seen a peta-ghost with the head of a human being and the body of a snake. The Buddha then added that he himself had seen that very peta-ghost on the day he attained Buddhahood. The Buddha then revealed that, a very long time ago, there was a Paccekabuddha. People going to his monastery had to pass through 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 it. Consequently, the Paccekabuddha had to move to some other place. The supporters of the Paccekabuddha got very angry with the land owner, beat him, and as a result of the beating he died. Because of his bad kamma, he was reborn to suffer as a peta-ghost.

In conclusion, the Buddha said, 'An evil deed does not bear fruit immediately, but it invariably follows the evil doer. There is no escape from the consequences of an evil deed.'

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

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Last modified on: Sunday, 13 August 2000.