Two) 7. The Buddha and the Millionaire
millionaire Anathapindika was born as Sadaria. As a result of
his great generosity, he was given the name Anathapindika which
meant "feeder of the helpless".
wanted to purchase a magnificent park for the Buddha but it belonged
to Prince Jeta, who was reluctant to part with it. By covering
the grounds of the park with gold coins Anathapindika eventually
persuaded the Prince to sell. He then built a monastery in which
the Buddha was to spend many rainy seasons and which came
to be known as the Jetavana Monastery. The Buddha spent the major
part of his life in these quiet surroundings and most of his discourses
were delivered there. All in all, the Buddha spent twenty-four
rainy seasons at the Jetavana Monastery.
of the discourses the Buddha delivered to Anathapindika were
intended for lay people. Two of them were on generosity and
the Four Kinds of Bliss. In the discourse on generosity, the
Buddha advised that the first stage of the Buddhist life is
to practice generosity, such as giving alms to monks and building
monasteries. More important than being generous though, is taking
refuge in the Triple Gem (Buddha, Dharma and Sangha) and observing the Five Precepts, the
five rules that help discipline words and deeds. More important
again than the observation of the Five Precepts is the regular
practice of meditation on loving-kindness (metta-bhavana).
But the most meritorious act, said the Buddha, is to develop
insight into the fleeting nature of things.
the discourse telling of the four kinds of bliss a layman can
enjoy, the Buddha mentioned the bliss of ownership, the bliss
of wealth, the bliss of being debtless and the bliss of blamelessness.
bliss of ownership means the satisfaction in gaining wealth
by honest means and hard work. The bliss of wealth is the satisfaction
of enjoying one's wealth while fulfilling all one's duties.
The bliss of being debtless is the satisfaction that a layman
enjoys whenever he knows that he does not incur a debt, great
or small, to anyone.
The bliss of blamelessness is the satisfaction derived by a
person whose actions of body, speech and thought do not
cause harm to others and are free from any blame.
Anathapindika first met the Buddha at the Sitavana forest near
Rajagaha, his confidence was so strong that an aura glowed from
his body. On hearing the Dharma for the first time Anathapindika
became a sotapanna (first stage of sainthood).