Meththa's Questions - 3

What leads to ruination of a man? - Maj. Gen. Ananda Weerasekera

Meththa was studying in her room during the school vacation. One day, It was around 3.00 p.m. when she heard a police siren and a noise of a large crowd. She ran to the gate at the end of the compound of her house where she saw her new friend, the old man speaking to a police officer. She felt they were friends.

"Why are they dragging those people into the police van?" Meththa asked the old man.

"They are the bad people in society young lady. Come I’ll show you who they are" the police officer held Meththa’s hand and went close to the vehicle. It’s rear door was open.

"That man in a red shirt" the police officer spoke. "Has been taken into custody for robbing a house. That half naked man next to him has taken to drugs and he is not in his senses. The other boy, next to him is only 14 years. He has assaulted his father and he is in hospital".

"Oh! What?" Meththa could not believe her eyes.

"Can you see those three young boys without shirts" the police officer spoke again. "They are caught for gambling".

"They’ll all be put into jail’. The police officer then said "young lady, those people have ruined their lives. This father will tell you more about these types of people." He then saluted the old man and drove off on his motor cycle.

Meththa’s face was gloomy. She looked at the old man’s face.

"Come my dear", he spoke, "let us go and sit near the river. I’ll teach you the causes for ruination of a man’s life".

"There is a word called ‘PARABHAWA’ in Pali language, an ancient language in which scripts of early Buddhism were written".

"One leads to ‘Parabhawa,’ means one leads to

  • disgrace,
  • disrepute,
  • ruination of one’s life,
  • ill-fame,
  • Degradation in life"

Buddha was once living in the city of Savatti at Jetha Grove in Anathapindika’s Park. One day, late in the night certain deity approached the Buddha, illuminating the entire Grove. Having approached, the deity worshipped the Buddha, stood on a side and asked him thus:

"O Gothama, the Great, I have something to ask you, what are the causes which make a man ruin his life?"

Buddha replied :
"A person who is prospering is easily known. A person who is ruining himself is also easily known. A prospering person likes righteousness. One who hates righteousness will ruin his life".

The deity questioned :
"Yes we know the first cause now. Please tell us the second cause"

Buddha replied :
"The bad are dear to him. He does not take delight in the good. He likes the doctrine of the bad. That is a cause for ruination of a man".

Deity :
"Indeed we know the second cause of ruination now. Please tell us the third cause."

Buddha :
"Fond of sleep and fond of loitering at places people gather. That man who is un-energetic and lazy, distinctly known to be a man who gets angry. That is a cause for ruining a man."

Deity :
"Indeed we know the third cause now. Please let us know the fourth cause".

Buddha :
"He, having much, does not look after the old mother and father. That is a cause for ruining a man."

Deity :
"Indeed we know the fourth cause. Please let us know the fifth cause."

Buddha :
"A person who deceives by lying (through un-truth), a sinless person (Brahmana) an ascetic, or another wayfarer. That is a cause for ruining a man."

Deity :
"Indeed we know the fifth cause now. Please let us know the sixth cause"

Buddha :
"A wealthy man who possesses plenty of money and plenty of tasty food, eats alone without giving his wife and children. That is a cause for ruining a man".

Deity :
"Indeed we know the sixth cause now. Please let us know the seventh cause."

Buddha :
"False pride in one’s race, clan and wealth. Despising his own relatives. That is a cause of ruining a man."

Deity :
"Now, we know the seventh cause indeed. Please let us know the eighth cause".

Buddha :
"A person who is a womanizer, drunkard, gambler and one who destroys whatever he gets. That is a cause for ruining a man."

Deity :
"Indeed we know the eighth cause now. Let us know the ninth cause".

Buddha :
"A person who is dissatisfied with his wife, seen in the company of harlots/prostitutes and seen amongst other’s wives. That is a cause for ruining a man".

Deity :
"O Lord, we now know the ninth cause. Please tell us the tenth cause".

Buddha :
"A man gone beyond his youth marries a young girl with small and attractive breasts. Does not sleep due to being possessive of such wife. That is a cause for ruining a man."

Deity :
"Indeed we know the tenth cause now. Please tell us the eleventh cause."

Buddha :
" If a woman or a man addicted to intoxicating drinks, and who spends wealth and resources lavishly on such weakness, is appointed to be in charge of one’s wealth. That is a cause of ruining a man".

Deity :
Indeed we now know the eleventh cause. O Lord, please tell us the twelfth cause.

Buddha :
"One born to the royal clan with little wealth, desires kingship having great craving. That is a cause for ruining a man."Having mentioned the above the Buddha further added,

"A wise noble man having considered these causes of ruining a person endowed with insight associates the safe world."

" My dear daughter" old man turned towards the evening sun trying to hide behind the distant hills. "The brightness of the sky is fading away and it is becoming gloomy."

"This is how the progress of a man fades away and those are the reasons for degradation of one’s life."

The old man kissed Meththa’s forehead "It’s getting dark go home".

Meththa saw a string of birds flying into their nests.

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