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Udāna

Udāna
4.3 Gopāla Sutta
The Cowherd

We have the power to protect our minds.

This is as I heard from the Blessed One. Those days, the Blessed One was travelling in the province of Kosala with a large community of monks. Then, coming down from the road, the Buddha went to a certain tree, and sat down on a seat laid out. A certain cowherd then went to the Blessed One and, having bowed down to him, sat to one side. As he was sitting there, the Blessed One instructed, urged, roused and encouraged him with Dhamma-talk. The cowherd being instructed, urged, roused and encouraged by the Blessed One’s talk on Dhamma, said to the Buddha, “Bhante, may the Blessed One, together with the community of monks, accept my offer of tomorrow’s meal.”

The Blessed One accepted with silence.

Then the cowherd, understanding the Blessed One’s acceptance, got up from his seat, bowed down to the Blessed One and left, circling him to the right.

Then, after the night had passed, the cowherd, having prepared in his own home a great deal of thick milk-rice and fresh ghee, announced the time of the meal to the Blessed One, “It’s time, Bhante. The meal is ready.”

So the Blessed One early in the morning wore his robe and, carrying his bowl and double-layered robe, went together with the community of monks to the cowherd’s home. On arrival, the Buddha sat down on a seat laid out. The cowherd, with his own hand, served and satisfied the community of monks headed by the Blessed One with thick milk-rice and fresh ghee. Then, when the Blessed One had eaten and had removed his hand from his bowl, the cowherd, taking a lower seat, sat down to one side. As he was sitting there, the Blessed One instructed, urged, roused and encouraged him with Dhamma-talk, then got up from his seat and left.

Not long after the Blessed One’s departure, the cowherd was killed by a certain man between the boundaries of two villages. A large number of monks then went to the Blessed One and, having bowed down to him, sat to one side. As they were sitting there, they told the Buddha, “Bhante, the cowherd who today served and satisfied the community of monks headed by the Blessed One with thick milk-rice and fresh ghee, has been killed, it is said, by a certain man between the boundaries of two villages.”

Then, on realizing the power of bad kamma, the Blessed One spoke the following inspired verse:

“Whatever an enemy might do to an enemy, or a foe to a foe, the ill-directed mind can do to you even worse.”

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Udāna 4.3 Gopāla Sutta: The Cowherd

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