Verse 62. Ignorance Brings Suffering

“Sons have I, wealth have I”,
thus the fool is fretful.
He himself is not his own,
how then are sons, how wealth?

Explanation: The fool worries “I have sons,” “I have wealth.” When the self is not his own, then how can he claim, “I have sons,” “I have wealth”?

The Story of Ananda, the Rich Man (Verse 62)

While residing at the Jetavana Monastery, the Buddha spoke this verse, with reference to a miserly rich man, named Ananda.

There was once a very wealthy man named Ananda in Savatthi. Although he possessed eighty billion, he was very reluctant to give anything in charity To his son, Mulasiri, he used to say, “Don’t think the wealth we have now is very much. Do not give away anything from what you have, for you must make it grow. Otherwise, your wealth will dwindle” This rich man had five pots of gold buried in his house and he died without revealing their location to his son. Ananda, the rich man, was reborn in a village of beggars, not far from Savatthi. From the time his mother was pregnant, the income of the beggars decreased; the villagers thought there must be a wicked and unlucky one amongst them. By dividing themselves up into groups and by the process of elimination, they came to the conclusion that the pregnant beggar woman must be the unfortunate one. Thus, she was driven out of the village.

When her son was born, the son proved to be extremely ugly and repulsive. His hands and feet and eyes and ears and nose and mouth were not where they should have been. Terrible looking that he was, he looked like a mud spirit. In spite of this, however, his mother did not abandon him, for great is the love of a mother for the child she has carried in her womb. If she went out begging by herself, she would get alms as before, but if she went out with her son she would get nothing. So, when the boy could go out by himself, his mother placed a plate in his hand and left him, saying, “Dear son, because of you we have been brought to great distress. Now we can support you no longer. In this city meals are provided for poor folk and travellers. Get your living by begging for alms in this town” As he wandered about in Savatthi, he remembered his old house and his past existence. So he went into the house. When the sons of his son Mulasiri saw him, they were frightened by his ugly looks and began to cry. The servants then beat him and threw him out of the house.

The Buddha who was on his alms-round saw the incident and asked Venerable Ananda to fetch Mulasiri. When Mulasiri came, the Buddha told him that the young beggar was his own father in his previous existence. But Mulasiri could not believe it. So, the Buddha directed the beggar boy to show where he had buried his five pots of gold. Then only, Mulasiri accepted the truth and from that time he became a devoted lay-disciple of the Buddha.


Treasury of Truth: Illustrated Dhammapada – 423 Verses

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