robertk wrote:this is from the Dhammapada commentary (taken from an old post by Ven. Dhammanando).
In the time of the Sammāsambuddha a village near the gate of Sāvatthī was burnt down, a blazing wisp of hay rose up from the flames and alighted on the neck of a crow flying in the sky. The crow, screeching, fell to the ground and died.
In the ocean, too, a certain ship got aground. The sailors, not seeing any obstruction from below, cast lots; the unlucky number fell into the hand of the captain’s wife. They then said: ‘Let not all of us perish on account of one woman; we must throw her into the sea.’ The captain, saying, ‘I cannot bear to see her floating in the water,’ tied a bag of sand to her neck and had her thrown in. At that moment the ship moved off like an arrow shot from a bow.
A certain bhikkhu lived in a cave. A huge mountain peak fell and closed up the entrance. On the seventh day it moved away of itself.
They told these three stories to the Sammāsambuddha, as he sat in Jeta’s Grove teaching the Dhamma. The Teacher said: ‘This kamma was not the work of others; it was done by the crow itself,’ etc., and he showed the related past:
The crow in a previous existence was a man, who, being unable to tame a vicious ox, tied a bundle of straw to its neck and set it on fire, causing the ox’s death. Now that action did not allow the crow to escape even though he flew into the sky.
The woman who was thrown into the sea was also a woman in a previous existence. A certain dog was devoted to her, and whenever she went to the forest he would go and come back with her. Men would mock her, saying: ‘Here comes the dog with his bítch!’ She felt embarrassed and being unable to prevent the dog, tied a bag of sand around his neck and threw him into the water. That kamma did not allow the woman to escape even in mid-ocean.
The bhikkhu in a previous existence was a cowherd. A certain iguana entered a hole and the cowherd closed the entrance with a handful of broken twigs. Seven days later he came and opened it and the iguana came out trembling. Out of pity he spared its life. That kamma did not allow the bhikkhu to escape even while seated in a mountain cave.
Connecting these three stories the Sammāsambuddha then spoke this verse:
na antalikkhe na samuddamajjhe,
na pabbatānaṃ vivaraṃ pavissa.
na vijjate so jagatippadeso,
yatthaṭṭhito mucceyya pāpakammā ti.
“Not in the sky, nor in mid-ocean, nor yet in the clefts of mountains — nowhere in the world is there any place where, having entered, one will escape from the result of an evil deed.”
How sad that beings treat each other with cruelty, on occasion. I know from my side, that I have mostly done away with cruelty, I don't wish harm even on those who have wronged me. But it still gets heaped on me, fairly regularly. There must be a reason for that, and kamma-vipaka is the only one I can think of. I must have created the causes for it in a previous existence, otherwise I don't get why someone who mostly wishes everyone well, could cop so much meanness from others in one lifetime. But as I said, I don't wish those (who put me down) any harm, it just makes me feel a little sad...that's all. (On a positive note, I am finding that the more metta I radiate - and, the better I feel about myself - the less people tend to put me down...so even in the short term, the Dhamma is helping me to overcome it).