Taking what is not given willingly by bodily gesture, by word, or by writing, by stealing, robbing, by cheating, by using trick, or taking others’ properties by trading with false weight, false measuring basket, or false scales, or shortchanging or similarities are “Adinnadana Kamma”. All Buddhists should know detailed factors of judgment concerned with “Adinnadana” hence most Buddhists know only generally.
Five Factors of “Adinnadana”
(1) The thing stolen is possessed by others.
(2) One knows that it is others’ property.
(3) One has the intention to steal it.
(4) One makes bodily or verbal actions and efforts to steal it.
(5) One steals it.
Any action accompanied by these five factors is called Adinnadana Kamma. One who commits stealing will suffer the evil consequences in this life and he will also be reborn in Apaya when he dies.
Grave or Minor Offence
The offence of theft may be great or minor depending on the morality and virtue of the owner and the value of the stolen properties. Stealing things from one who is endowed with morality and virtue is a great offence whereas stealing things from one who lacks morality and virtue is a minor offence.
The Consequences of Stealing
Stealing includes taking others’ things without the permission of the owner, and taking others’ properties by force or by cheating or by trick. Whosoever commits stealing will be reborn in one of the four lower abodes when he dies. Even when he is free from there and is again reborn as a man, he will encounter the following evil consequences:
(1) Being poor,
(2) Having to suffer bodily and mentally for a living,
(3) Being tortured by hunger and starvation,
(4) Having unfulfilled wishes,
(5) Having unstable and easily perishable fortune,
(6) Having properties destroyed by the five enemies, namely flood, fire, thieves, bad inheritors and bad rulers.
On the other hand the one who abstains from stealing will enjoy the benefits which are the opposite of the above consequences.
The Benefits of Abstaining from Stealing
One who abstains from stealing others’ properties will be reborn in a celestial abode after his death, and in whatever existence he may be, he will enjoy the following benefits:
(1) He is wealthy.
(2) He does not have to work hard for a living.
(3) He has plenty of foods and drinks (avoid starvation).
(4) He easily gets what he wants.
(5) He is prosperous.
(6) His wealth is not destroyed by the five enemies namely, flood, conflagration, tyrant, thief, sons and daughters who are unworthy heirs.
Title- The Stories Demonstrating The Evil Consequences of Breaking Precepts (2)
The Story Illustrating The Consequences of Stealing Others’ Properties
Once upon a time, four women in Rajagaha amassed riches through malpractice of shortchanging and adulteration in selling their goods. They died in their prime of life and became petas, miserable beings, outside the city. At night they entered the city looking for scattered food remnants or saliva or phlegm spat out by human beings. As they went along one street after another they came to their former houses and saw their husbands enjoying with new wives. They felt so painful that they cried out, “We have been suffering miserably for having amassed wealth unlawfully while our husbands are enjoying to their heart’s content with their new wives with the belongings we left”.
Title-The Story Illustrating The Benefits of Keeping The Five Precepts
The Story of Dhammapala
Once in a village in Kasi Province, all the villagers gave charity, maintained good morality and observed the moral precepts on Uposatha days. Consequently they never died young; they usually died in their old age.
The son of the headman in that village went to study at Takkasila City. While he was studying there, a young son of the professor died. The young Dhammapala inquired why the professor’s son died young. The others asked him: “Don’t you know that everyone must die one day either in the early age or in the old age? Doesn’t anyone die young in your village?” The young Dhammapala replied, “Of course, they die, but they never die young”.
When the professor heard the strange words of the young Dhammapala, he was surprised and he wanted to find out what the young Dhammapala said was true or not. So he left the youth to look over his pupils while he himself went to the Dhammapala Village, taking along some bones of a goat. On reaching there, he went to Dhammapala’s father and showing the bones, said, “Your son Dhammapala had passed away and had been cremated. Here are his bones”.
His father and other relatives replied, laughing: “These bones cannot be my son’s. They must be the bones of a goat or a dog”. “Although every man is subject to death at any age, why are you an exception to this rule?” asked the professor.
The headman explained thus: “Here in our village of Dhammapala, all the villagers usually give charity and keep the precepts; we abstain from all evil deeds. Besides the youths usually obey the elders. We all perform voluntary work for the welfare of our community. Thus no one dies young in our village”.
Then the professor paid obeisance to the headman and admitted: “Your son didn’t die. I come here to inquire the truthfulness of your son’s remark that no one dies young in this village”. The professor inquired about the meritorious deeds performed by the Dhammapala villagers in further detail and returned home.
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