Pali text, illustration and English translation of Dhammapada verse 127:
na antalikkhe na samuddamajajhe |
na pabbatānaṃ vivaraṃ pavissa |
na vijjatī so jagatippadeso |
yatthaṭthito mucceyya pāpakammā || 127 ||
127. Neither in sky nor surrounded by sea, nor by dwelling in a mountain cave, nowhere is found that place on earth where one’s from evil kamma free.
The Story of Three Groups of Persons
A group of monks were on their way to pay homage to the Buddha and they stopped at a village on the way. Some people were cooking alms-food for those monks, when one of the houses caught fire and a ring of fire flew up into the air. At that moment, a crow came flying, got caught in the ring of fire and dropped dead in the central part of the village. The monks, seeing the dead crow, observed that only the Buddha would be able to explain for what evil deed this crow had to die in this manner. After taking alms-food, they went to the Buddha, to ask about the crow. Another group of monks were on their way to pay homage to the Buddha. When they were in the middle of the ocean, the boat could not be moved. So, lots were drawn to find out who the unlucky one was. Three times the lot fell on the wife of the skipper. Then the skipper said sorrowfully, “Many people should not die on account of this unlucky woman; tie a pot of sand to her neck and throw her into the water.” The woman was thrown into the sea and the ship started to move. On arrival at their destination, the monks disembarked and continued on their way to the Buddha. They also intended to ask the Buddha due to what evil kamma the unfortunate woman was thrown overboard.
A group of seven monks also went to pay homage to the Buddha. On the way, they enquired at a monastery and they were directed to a cave, and there they spent the night; but in the middle of the night, a large boulder slipped off from above and closed the entrance. In the morning, the monks from the nearby monastery coming to the cave, saw that and they went to bring people from seven villages. With the help of these people they tried to move the boulder, but the seven monks were trapped in the cave without food or water for seven days. On the seventh day, the boulder moved miraculously by itself, and the monks came out and continued their way to the Buddha. They also intended to ask the Buddha due to what previous evil deed they were thus shut up for seven days in a cave.
The three groups of travelling monks went to the Buddha. Each group related to the Buddha what they had seen on their way and the Buddha answered their questions.
The Buddha’s answer to the first group: “Monks, once there was a farmer who had a very lazy and stubborn ox. The farmer, in anger, tied a straw rope round the neck of the ox and set fire to it, and the ox died. On account of this evil deed, the farmer had suffered for a long time in Hell (Niraya) He had been burnt to death in the last seven existences.” The past actions brought on the present suffering.
The Buddha’s answer to the second group: “Monks, once there was a woman who had a dog. Whatever she did and wherever she went the dog always followed her. As a result, some young boys would poke fun at her. She was very angry and felt so ashamed that she planned to kill the dog. She filled a pot with sand, tied it round the neck of the dog and threw it into the water;and the dog was drowned. On account of this evil deed, that woman had suffered for a long time and, in serving the remaining part of the effect, she had been thrown into the water to be drowned.”
The Buddha’s answer to the third group: “Monks, once, seven cowherds saw an iguana going into a mound and, for fun, they closed all the outlets of the mound. After completely forgetting the iguana that was trapped in the mound. Only after seven days did they remember what they had done and hurried to the scene of their mischief to let the iguana out. On account of this evil deed, you seven have been imprisoned together for seven days without any food.”
The Buddha replied, “Even in the sky or anywhere else, there is no place which is beyond the reach of the consequences of evil.”
Explanatory Translation (Verse 127)
yatthaṭṭito pāpakammā muñceyya so jagatippadeso
na vijjati antalikkhe na samuddamajjhe
na pabbatānaṃ vivaraṃ pavissa na
yattha: somewhere; ṭhito [ṭhita]: taking shelter; pāpakammā: from the results of evil actions; muñceyya: (one could) escape; so: that kind of; jagatippadeso [jagatippadesa]: spot on earth; na vijjati: is not seen; antalikkhe: out in space; na: there is no such place; samuddamajjhe na: nor (is there such a place) in the middle of the ocean; pabbatānaṃ [pabbatāna]: of mountains; vivaraṃ [vivara]: cleft, crevice or opening; pavissa: having entered: na: (one cannot escape)
There is no single spot on Earth an evil-doer can take shelter in to escape the results of his evil actions. No such place is seen out there in space, or in the middle of the ocean. Neither in an opening, a cleft or a crevice in a rocky mountain can he take shelter to escape the results of his evil action.
Commentary and exegetical material (Verse 127)
na vijjati so jagatippadeso: there is no place. The implication here is that there is no place either on land, in the sea or in the sky where an evil-doer can escape the consequences of his misdeeds. The stanza mentions some of the places which might be considered safe: antalikkhe (space; sky); samuddamajjhe (in the middle of the sea); pabbatānaṃ vivaraṃ (crevices of a rock).