Namo tassa bhagavato arahato sammāsambuddhassa

Introduction to 3.6.4
Kumārakasuttaṃ - Result of Ignorance

This Kumārakasutta presents another short incident from the Buddha’s life when he was staying at Sāvatthi1. He observed some boys who ignorantly were catching and killing small fish with the intention to cook and eat them after that. They are called young (ignorant – bālā) persons from the moment of birth till they turn about 15 years (hi sattā jātadivasato paṭṭhāya2 yāva pañcadasavassakā, tāva ‘‘kumārakā, bālā’’ti ca vuccanti). These boys had drained water from small ponds left over from the rainy season so they could easily take out the fish.3

The Buddha’s approach was to make them aware and sensible of what they were doing by asking them whether they were afraid of pain themselves – “Bhāyatha vo, tumhe kumārakā, dukkhassa, appiyaṃ vo dukkhan”ti. – Such an empathetic action, helping the boys understand how their actions cause suffering for themselves, not only shows the Buddha’s compassion but also reflects his deep knowledge about how beings’ own actions are the origin of so much suffering for themselves because of such actions based in ignorance: …… “atha pana taṃ pāpakammaṃ etarahi karotha, āyatiṃ vā karissatha, nirayādīsu catūsu apāyesu4 manussesu ca tassa phalabhūtaṃ dukkhaṃ ito vā etto vā palāyante amhe nānubandhissatīti adhippāyena5 upecca apecca6 palāyatampi7 tumhākaṃ tato mutti mokkho natthi!” – …… “whatever evil action you perform now, whatever evil action you may perform in the future - even if with the intention and the approach that you will run away from the fruits of suffering – i.e. from hell and so forth; or from the four states of ruin for mankind - there can be no liberation nor release therefrom for you!”8

May the guidance highlighted in the preceding and alerting suttas help all beings to increase their level of ‘satidovāriko’ and ‘to renounce what is unwholesome, pursue the wholesome, renounce what is blamable and pursue the blameless and in this very way preserve themselves and multiply their purity of life: “ariyasāvako akusalaṃ pajahati kusalaṃ bhāveti, sāvajjaṃ pajahati, anavajjaṃ bhāveti, suddhamattānaṃ pariharatī”ti
[1] See also a similar story with young and ignorant boys under 3.5.6 - Daṇḍasuttaṃ.
[2] paṭṭhāya: beginning from, since 
[3] Macchake bādhentīti maggasamīpe ekasmiṃ taḷāke nidāghakāle udake parikkhīṇe ninnaṭṭhāne ṭhitaṃ udakaṃ ussiñcitvā khuddakamacche gaṇhanti ceva hananti ca ‘‘pacitvā khādissāmā’’ti.
[4] catūsu apāyesu: four states of misery: loss; misfortune, ruin, disappearance, 
[5] adhippāyena: with the intention, thought 
[6] upecca apecca: upeti (ger.) apeti (ger.): approaching +  going away 
[7] palāyatampi: palāyati (pp.) + pi: running away
[8] see 3.5.10 verse: Na antalikkhe na samuddamajjhe……
Pāli lesson (with audio) 3.6.4

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Last modified: Tuesday, 9 August 2022, 6:34 PM