Pali text, illustration and English translation of Dhammapada verse 67:
na taṃ kammaṃ kataṃ sādhu yaṃ katvā nānutappati |
yassa assumukho rodaṃ vipākaṃ paṭisevati || 67 ||
67. That kamma’s not well-made from which there is remorse, of which one senses the result with weeping and a tear-stained face.
The Story of a Farmer
While residing at the Jetavana Monastery, the Buddha spoke this verse, with reference to a farmer who handled poison.
A farmer tilled a field not far from Sāvatthi. One day some thieves robbed the house of a rich man. One of the thieves outwitted his companions and secretly put away a purse containing a thousand pieces of money in a fold of his garment. As the thief departed with his share, the purse dropped out of the fold of his garment, but he did not notice his loss.
That day, early in the morning, the Buddha surveyed the world, and seeing that a certain farmer had entered his net of vision, he considered within himself what would happen.
Early in the morning the farmer went to till his field. The Buddha was also there with the Venerable Ānanda. Seeing the Buddha, the farmer went and paid obeisance to the Buddha, and then resumed tilling his field. The Buddha said nothing to him. Going to the place where the purse had fallen and seeing it, he said to the Venerable Ānanda, “See, Ānanda, a poisonous snake!” “I see, Venerable, a deadly, poisonous snake!” The farmer heard their conversation and said to himself, “I will kill the snake.” So saying, he took a goad-stick, went to the spot, and discovered the purse. “The Buddha must have referred to this purse,” thought he. Not knowing exactly what to do about it, he laid the purse aside, covered it with dust, and resumed his plowing.
Later men discovered the theft, and trailed the thieves to the field, and coming to the spot where they had divided their spoils, saw the foot-prints of the farmer. Following his footsteps to the spot where the purse was buried, they removed the earth and picked up the purse. Thereupon they reviled him, saying, “So you robbed the house, and here you are plowing the field!” And having given him a good beating, they took him and censured him before the king.
When the king heard what had happened, he ordered the farmer to be put to death. As the farmer walked along and the king’s men lashed him with whips, he kept repeating the words, “See, Ānanda, a poisonous snake!” “I see, Venerable, a deadly, poisonous snake!” Not another word did he utter. The king’s men asked him, “You are repeating words of the Buddha and of the Venerable Ānanda. What does this mean?” The farmer replied, “I will say, if I am permitted to see the king.”
He told the king, “I am not a thief, your majesty.” The farmer told him the whole story. The king took the farmer to the Buddha, and asked him about this. The Buddha said, “Yes, your majesty, I said just that when I went there. A wise man should not do a deed of which he must afterwards repent.”
Explanatory Translation (Verse 67)
yaṃ katvā anutappati yassa vipākaṃ assumukho
rodaṃ paṭisevati, taṃ kammaṃ kataṃ na sādhu
yaṃ: some actions; katvā: having done; anutappati: one regrets; yassa: of some actions; vipākaṃ [vipāka]: results; assumukho [assumukha]: with tear-smeared face; rodaṃ [roda]: and weeping; paṭisevati: one has to suffer; taṃ kammaṃ [kamma]: that kind of action; kataṃ na sādhu: is not good to be done
It is good if one were to avoid committing such actions which would later lead to regret. When one regrets one weeps.
Commentary and exegetical material (Verse 67)
assumukho rodaṃ: weeping with tear smeared face. This has been indicated as the result of action, having done which one repents. The admonition here is to avoid those actions which lead to remorse later.
anutappati: repents. Repentance is thought of as the result of action which had been committed with no idea at all about later repercussions.