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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 execu
ed, 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.