Chapter III - CITTA VAGGA Mind

control his mind

AN ILL-DISPOSED MIND IS THE GREATEST ENEMY

Diso disam yam tam kayira veri va pana verinam
Miccha panihitam cittam papiyo nam tato kare.


Whatever (harm) a foe may do to a foe, or a hater to a hater, yet anill-directed mind1can do oneself far greater (harm).



III:08 Nanda, the herdsman

Nanda was a herdsman who looked after the cows of a rich man. Although only a herdsman, he saved whatever he could. Occasionally, he would go to the house of his master and there he sometimes met the Buddha and listened to his discourses. Nanda invited the Buddha to pay a visit to his house. But the Buddha did not go to Nanda's house immediately, saying that it was not yet time.


After some time, while travelling with his bhikkhus, the Buddha made a detour to visit Nanda, knowing that the time was ripe for him to comprehend his Teaching properly. Nanda respectfully received the Buddha and his bhikkhus and he served them food for several days. On the last day, after hearing the discourse given by the Buddha, Nanda attained the first stage of Sainthood. As the Buddha was leaving that day, he followed him for some distance, carrying the bowl of the Buddha. Then he paid homage to the Blessed One and turned back to go home.


At that instant, a hunter, who was an old enemy of Nanda, shot him dead. The bhikkhus, who were following after the Buddha, came upon the body of the dead Nanda. They reported the matter to the Buddha, saying, 'Venerable Sir, because you came here, Nanda who made great offerings to you and accompanied you on your return was killed as he was turning back to go home.' The Buddha replied, 'Bhikkhus, whether I came here or not, there would have been no escape from death for him, because of his previous kamma. Therefore you must reflect that a wrongly directed mind can do oneself much greater harm than an enemy or a thief can. A well directed mind is the only security one can have against danger.

Notes:

1That is, the mind directed towards the ten kinds of evil-deeds - namely, 1. killing 2. stealing 3. sexual misconduct 4. lying 5. slandering 6. harsh speech 7. vain talk 8. covetousness 9. ill-will and 10. false belief.