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XXV:7 A devout lady and the thieves
Once there was a very rich lady who had a son called Sona, who had become a bhikkhu. On one occasion, Bhikkhu Sona passed through his home town. On his return from the Jetavana monastery, his mother met him and organised a grand charity in his honour. Having heard that her son could expound the Dhamma very well, she requested him to give a discourse. Sona complied with her request and so she built a pavilion for the purpose. A large crowd, including his mother, turned up to listen to the Dhamma expounded by Sona.
While she was at the pavilion, some thieves broke into her house. However the leader of the thieves went to the pavilion to keep an eye on her. His intention was to kill her should she return home early on learning about the theft at her house. Her maid, left behind to guard the house, went to the pavilion to inform her about the theft, but the lady only said, 'Let the thieves take all my money, I don't care. But don't come and disturb me while I am listening to the Dhamma.' She sent the maid home.
The leader of the thieves, who was sitting close to her, heard these remarks. Her words also kept him thinking, 'If we take away the property of this wise and noble lady, we will surely be punished. We might even be struck by lightning.' The leader got alarmed, hurried back to her house and ordered his thieves to return all the things they had taken. The gang of thieves then went to the pavilion to listen to the Dhamma.
Sona finished his exposition of the Dhamma at the crack of dawn. Then, the leader and all the thieves admitted their mistakes and requested for her forgiveness. Being a kind and devout lady she pardoned them all. Realising the evil of their ways, all the thieves joined the Holy Order. After receiving instructions from Sona, the new bhikkhus went into the forest to practise meditation. The Buddha knowing their mental attitudes sent forth his radiance and exhorted them on the way to gain Purity.
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