A question. Which sutta contains the following story?

  • It starts with a monk who will travel to a far land (perhaps to a state on the west coast of what's now India, and perhaps as a missionary). The Buddha asks, how will he react if he's attacked?
  • It ends with the monk's saying that he will reflect that death is something which some (other) people seek, that these people have to arrange to find a murderer who will kill them, and that the people killing him have saved him this trouble! And in that way, he'll keep a mind of good-will.
  • The Buddha approves.

I remember it as similar to the parable of the saw; perhaps a much shorter sutta.

1 Answer 1


It is the Punna Sutta: To Punna (SN 35.88)

In a nutshell the story goes like this.....There was a rural village called Sunāparanta. No one went to this village because the people of Sunāparanta were fierce and rough, but a Bhikkhu volunteered himself to go visit that village. That Bhikkhu’s name was Punhnha. He requested the Buddha’s permission to go to that village. The Buddha told him the nature of the villagers in Sunāparanta. The Buddha showed him that if he goes to that village, even his life could be in danger. Punhnha Thero happily accepted that challenge and went to that village. After only few days, the whole village was changed. Those dangerous villagers took refuge in the Triple Gem. Some of them entered the monkhood and developed virtuous qualities… How did that happen? Even though those villagers were known to be vicious people, they had skills in them. When they started to listen to the Dhamma, those skills started to develop in them. If someone realizes the Dhamma after listening to it one day, that person’s skills start to develop gradually. This Sunāparanta could be the present day Saudi Arabia.

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