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