Pali Text

Untimely Death

In today’s Pali exercise, the great Nagasena Bhikkhu explains to king Milinda that not all deaths are the result of one’s kamma. But visiting such deaths on others will cause one to suffer the same fate:

Tatra, mahārāja, yadidaṃ kammavipākena kālaṅkiriyā, sā yeva tattha sāmayikā kālaṅkiriyā, avasesā asāmayikā kālaṅkiriyāti. Bhavati ca —

“‘Jighacchāya pipāsāya, ahidaṭṭhā visena ca.
Aggiudakasattīhi, akāle tattha mīyati.
Vātapittena semhena, sannipātenutūhi ca.
Visamopakkamakammehi, akāle tattha mīyatī’ti.

“Keci, mahārāja, sattā pubbe katena tena tena akusalakammavipākena maranti. Idha, mahārāja, yo pubbe pare jighacchāya māreti, so bahūni vassasatasahassāni jighacchāya paripīḷito chāto parikilanto sukkhamilātahadayo bubhukkhito visukkhito jhāyanto abbhantaraṃ pariḍayhanto jighacchāya yeva marati daharopi majjhimopi mahallakopi, idampi tassa sāmayikamaraṇaṃ.

So, great king, whomever [dies as] the fruit of one’s kamma, having fulfilled their time, that one indeed [dies] in due season, with no remaining time left to fulfill. It’s like this:

From hunger, from thirst, from snakebite or poison,
From fire, water or dagger, such ones die at the wrong time.
From wind, bile or phlegm, or from the action of all three, or from menstruation,
From inequity or from malpractice, such ones die at the wrong time.

However, great king, some die from those seven causes as the fruit of their past unskillful kamma. For instance, one who has caused others to die from hunger, he, after being oppressed by many hundreds of thousands of years of hunger, exhausted from hunger, with a withered heart, parched and burning inside from the thought of food, even so he will die of hunger, either as a boy, a middle-aged man or an old man, and that death will be at the appropriate time.
Mil 6.3.6

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