Pali text, illustration and English translation of Dhammapada verse 117:
pāpaṃ ce puriso kayirā na taṃ kayirā punappunaṃ |
na tamhi chandaṃ kayirātha dukkho pāpassa uccayo || 117 ||
117. If one should some evil do then do it not again, again. Do not wish for it anew for evil grows to dukkha.
The Story of Venerable Seyyasaka
While residing at the Jetavana Monastery, the Buddha spoke this verse, with reference to the Venerable Seyyasaka. For Venerable Seyyasaka was Venerable Kāludāyi’s fellow-monk. Becoming discontented with the continence required by the Religious Life, he started sexually stimulating himself. Thereafter, as often as he fell into this self-abuse, he broke the same rule. The Buddha heard about his doings, sent for him, and asked him, “Is the report true that you did such and such?” “Yes, Venerable.” “Foolish man,” said the Buddha, “why have you acted in a manner so unbecoming to your state?” In such fashion did the Buddha reprove him. Having so done, he enjoined upon him the observance of the rules. Then he said to him, “Such a course of action inevitably leads to suffering, both in this world and in the world to come.” So saying, the Buddha pronounced this Stanza.
Explanatory Translation (Verse 117)
puriso ce pāpaṃ kayirā taṃ punappunaṃ na kayirā
tamhi chandaṃ na kayirātha pāpassa uccayo dukkho
puriso [purisa]: some person; ce pāpaṃ kayirā: were to commit an evil deed; taṃ: that; punappunaṃ [punappuna]: repeatedly over and over; na kayirā: should not; tamhi: in that; chandaṃ [chanda]: a delight; na kayirātha: do not take; pāpassa: in evil; uccayo [uccaya]: accumulation (of evil); dukkho [dukkha]: is painful
A person may do some evil things. But he should not keep on doing it over and over, repeatedly. He should not take delight in it. Accumulation of evil is painful.
Commentary and exegetical material (Verse 117)
Special Note: Arahat Kāludāyi: the monk who figures in this story is named Seyyasaka. Arahat Kāludāyi was Venerable Seyyasaka’s companion and mentor. Arahat Kāludāyi had to impose disciplinary measures on Seyyasaka. Arahat Kāludāyi, who was charged with correcting Venerable Seyyasaka, is a predominant arahat in the history of Buddhism. This Mahā arahat had the unique honour of being the first in inducing the relations of the Buddha to embrace the faith. He was with King Suddhodana right through the period of six years during the absence of Prince Siddhārtha. He made light the absence of the Prince. After performing many a meritorious deed, he was born at Kapilawastu as a son to a minister of king Suddhodana on the very Wesak Poya day when Prince Siddhārtha was born. He was a close associate of the Prince Siddhārtha.
The Prince had seven treasures by birth, viz.:
- The Bodhi tree under which he received Enlightenment;
- His Queen Yasodharā;
- The Four Great Treasures;
- Arohanīya–the royal elephant;
- Kanthaka the royal horse;
- Channa–the charioteer and
- Companion Kāludāyi.
After Enlightenment, the Buddha was at Veluvanārāma at Rājagaha. King Suddhodana after an absence of over six years was pining to see his son. So he sent minister after minister each with a retinue of one thousand followers requesting the Buddha to return. In all, he sent nine ministers. But none of them returned. One and all sought ordination and became arahats. Yet they forgot their mission. Finally he dispatched Kāludāyi, the most trusted follower. Kāludāyi, and his followers, as others before him, became arahats. The wish of the king was uppermost in his mind. He bided his time for a suitable opportunity. He waited till nature became auspicious for such a journey. Kāludāyi gave the hint and the Buddha was pleased to oblige. The concourse that attended Buddha was about twenty thousand arahats. Kāludāyi, heralded the visit by coming through the air with the bowl in hand. The King was glad at the good news. He got the bowl filled up with exquisite food and requested the Venerable to partake of the food then and there agreeing to offer food to the Buddha.
After the Venerable did so, the King repeated the act. The Venerable agreed to the King’s request that he should come every day and repeat the process until the arrival of the Buddha. And every day the Venerable preached to the King by way of thanks. It was a merit offering (puññaanumodanā)–transfer of merit.
Not long afterwards the Buddha addressing the monks and laity declared Venerable Kāludāyi, was foremost in the Noble Sangha for inducing relations to embrace the faith.
pāpa: unwholesome actions: akusala. Unwholesome are all those karmical volitions and the consciousness and mental concomitants associated therewith, which are accompanied either by greed (lobha) or hate (dosa) or merely delusion (moha); and all these phenomena are causes of unfavourable Kamma results and contain the seeds of unhappy destiny or rebirth.
akusala-sādhārana-cetasika: general unwholesome (pāpa) mental factors associated with all unwholesome actions (volitions), are four: (1) lack of moral shame (ahirika); (2) lack of moral dread (anottappa); (3) restlessness (uddhacca); (4) delusion (moha).
mūla: roots, also called hetu, are those conditions which through their presence determine the actual moral quality of a volitional state (cetanā), and the consciousness and mental factors associated therewith, in other words, the quality of kamma. There are six such roots, three kammically wholesome and three unwholesome roots, viz.: greed, hate, delusion (lobha, dosa, moha) and greedlessness, hatelessness, undeludedness (alobha, adosa, amoha).
Greed arises through unwise reflection on an attractive object, hate through unwise reflection on a repulsive object. Thus, greed (lobha or rāga) comprises all degrees of attractedness towards an object from the faintest trace of a longing thought up to grossest egoism, whilst hatred (dosa) comprises all degrees of repulsion from the faintest trace of illhumour up to the highest pitch of hate and wrath. Those pāpa (unwholesome) actions–killing, stealing, unlawful sexual intercourse, lying, talebearing, harsh language, frivolous talk, covetousness, ill-will and wrong views–these things are either due to greed, or hate, or delusion.
Enraptured with lust (greed), enraged with hate, blinded by delusion, overwhelmed, with mind ensnared, man aims at his own ruin, at others’ ruin, at the ruin of both, and he experiences mental pain and grief. And he follows evil ways in deeds, words and thought and he really knows neither his own welfare, nor the welfare of others, nor the welfare of both. These things make him blind and ignorant, hinder his knowledge, are painful, and do not lead him to peace.