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The Despot

King Brahmadatta happened to see a beautiful woman, the wife of a
Brahman merchant, and, conceiving a passion for her ordered a
precious jewel secretly to be dropped into the merchant's
carriage. The jewel was missed, searched for, and found. The
merchant was arrested on the charge of stealing, and the king
pretended to listen with great attention to the defence, and with
seeming regret ordered the merchant to be executed, while his
wife was consigned to the royal harem.

Brahmadatta attended the execution in person, for such sights
were wont to give him pleasure, but when the doomed man looked
with deep compassion at his infamous judge, a flash of the
Buddha's wisdom lit up the king's passion-beclouded mind; and
while the executioner raised the sword for the fatal stroke,
Brahmadatta felt the effect in his own mind, and he imagined he
saw himself on the block. "Hold, executioner!" shouted
Brahmadatta, "it is the king whom thou slayest!" But it was too
late! The executioner had done the bloody deed.

The king fell back in a swoon, and when he awoke a change had
come over him. He had ceased to be the cruel despot and
henceforth led a life of holiness and rectitude. The people said
that the character of the Brahman had been impressed into his

O ye who commit murders and robberies! The veil of self-delusion
covers your eyes. If ye could see things as they are, not as they
appear, ye would no longer inflict injuries and pain on your own
selves. Ye see not that ye will have to atone for your evil
deeds, for what ye sow that will ye reap.

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Previous: The Hungry Dog

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