Where does the story appear about a monk who was born in a lower realm for breaking a leaf of a tree?

Also there are some related stories (use generally alongside the above) where small transgressions leading to disproportionately large karmic results. What are they and where can I find references?

  • Sankha told that story in this answer but without a reference. – ChrisW Jan 15 '17 at 16:43
  • 1
    This is a popular story in many Dhamma talks. I am trying to trace the source either in the Tipitaka or Commentaries. – Suminda Sirinath S. Dharmasena Jan 15 '17 at 16:49

It's in the commentary to verse 182 of the Dhammapada:

On seeing the Buddha, Erakapatta related to the Buddha how he had been a bhikkhu during the time of Kassapa Buddha, how he had accidentally caused a grass blade to be broken off while travelling in a boat, and how he had worried over that little offence for having failed to do the act of exoneration as prescribed, and finally how he was reborn as a naga.

  • What does it mean by "Having failed to do the act of exoneration as prescribed"? – NuWin Jan 16 '17 at 4:51
  • 1
    Monks have (many) monastic rules: page 272 of this document says, "The damaging of a living plant is to be confessed". So if a monk damages a living plant, they should "confess" that, i.e. tell another monk or tell the whole community of monks that they did that, described on page 161: "This confession is what clears him of the offense". So this act of the confession is what's meant by the "prescribed act of exoneration". – ChrisW Jan 17 '17 at 16:46
  • ah I see now. Thanks for taking the time to explain this. – NuWin Jan 17 '17 at 20:09

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.