Verse 121. Take Not Evil Lightly

Think lightly not of evil,
‘It will not come to me’,
for by the falling of water drops
a water jar is filled.
The fool with evil fills himself,
he soaks up little by little.

Explanation: Some tend to believe that evil can be taken lightly. There attitude to wrong-doing is that they can get away with anything whatsoever. They say in effect: “I will behave in the way I want. Evil results will never come my way.” But evil accumulates little by little – very much like a water-pot being filled drop by drop. Little by little the evil accumulates, until he is filled with it.

 The Story of a Careless Monk (Verse 121)

While residing at the Jetavana Monastery, the Buddha spoke this verse, with reference to a monk who was careless in the use of furniture belonging to the monastery.

This monk, after using any piece of furniture (such as a couch, bench or stool) belonging to the monastery, would leave it outside in the compound, thus exposing it to rain, sun and white ants. When other monks chided him for his irresponsible behaviour, he would retort, “I do not have the intention to destroy those things; after all, very little damage has been done” and so on and so forth and he continued to behave in the same way. When the Buddha came to know about this, he sent for the monk and said to him, “Monk, you should not behave in this way; you should not think lightly of an evil act, however small it may be; because, it will grow big if you do it habitually”.

Treasury of Truth: Illustrated Dhammapada – 423 Verses

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