Translation of BZA 004. First version published in Buddhist Studies Review vol. 23-1 (2006).
Thus have I heard, once, the Buddha was staying at Sāvatthī at the Jeta Grove in the Anāthapiṇḍika Park. At that time, when the hour to go on almsround had come, a number of monks took their robes and begging bowls and entered the town to beg for food. There the monks heard that the monk ‘Elephant-head’ , a member of the Sakyā clan, had fallen ill in the town and died. Having finished their meals they returned, went to the Buddha, paid homage to his feet and sat to one side. They told the Buddha: ‘World-honored One, this morning we took our robes and begging bowls and entered the town to beg for food. There we heard that the monk ‘Elephant-head’ had died. We now wish the World-honored One would explain to us where the monk ‘Elephant-head’ will be reborn, what karmic fruit he will obtain?’.
The Buddha said to the monks: ‘Those that cause to increase the three negative factors, must, after the body fails and life comes to an end, fall into hell. What are the three negative factors? They are known as the increase of greed, of ignorance and of hate. Now this monk has committed the increase of the three negative factors. Understand, you monks, that he will fall into hell’.
At that time the Buddha spoke this verse:
If one gives rise to an unwholesome mind / effecting greed, ignorance and anger,//
does evil with one’s body / one will harm oneself,//
like the banana plant when bearing fruit / harms its own body//
The absence of greed, anger and ignorance / is called wisdom.//
Those who do not harm their own bodies / are called victors.//
By this one should cut off / the great suffering of greed, anger, and ignorance.//
There the monks, having listened to what the Buddha had said, were happy and practised accordingly.
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