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Mahādhana

1. Mahādhana.– The son of the Treasurer of Bārāṇasī. His parents possessed eight hundred million, and, for all education, he learnt music and singing. He married the daughter of an equally rich family and of similar education. After the death of their parents, they were very rich. One night, as the husband was on his way from the palace, some knaves tempted him to drink. He soon fell a victim to the habit and all his wealth was squandered. Then he spent his wife’s money, and finally sold all his belongings, and used to go about begging, a potsherd in his hand. One day the Buddha, seeing him waiting outside the refectory for leavings of food, smiled. In answer to Ānanda, who asked him the reason for his smile, the Buddha said that there was a man who had had the power of becoming chief Treasurer or attaining Arahantship, if he did but use his opportunities, but he was now reduced to beggary, like a heron in a dried up pond. DhA.iii.129 ff.

2. Mahādhana.– A merchant of Sāvatthi. Five hundred thieves once attempted unsuccessfully to enter his house, but hearing that he was about to travel through a forest with five hundred carts laden with goods, they lay in wait for him. The merchant took with him five hundred monks and entertained them in a village at the entrance to the forest. As he tarried there several days, the thieves sent a man to find out when he might be setting out, which he learnt would be soon. The villagers warned the merchant of the thieves’ intention, and he gave up the idea of the journey and decided to return home. However, on hearing that the thieves were lying in ambush on tile homeward road, he stayed in the village. The monks returned to Jetavana and told the Buddha, who taught them that men should avoid evil even as Mahādhana avoided thieves. DhA.iii.21 f.

3. Mahādhana.– A merchant of Bārāṇasī. On his way to Sāvatthi with five hundred carts filled with cloth of the colour of safflower, he came to the river and unyoked his oxen, thinking to cross on the morrow. In the night it rained and there was a flood. For seven days the rain continued, and Mahādhana decided to stay until his wares were sold and then return home. The Buddha, on his begging rounds, saw him and smiled. When asked the reason by Ānanda, he said that the man, in spite of all his plans, had only seven days to live. With the Buddha’s permission, Ānanda warned Mahādhana, who thereupon invited the Buddha and his monks and entertained them. At the end of the meal the Buddha taught him and he became a Sotāpanna. Shortly after he was seized with pain in the head and died immediately, to be re born in Tusita. DhA.iii.429 f.

4. Mahādhana.– A very rich man of Rājagaha. He had only one son, to whom he taught nothing, in case he should weary of learning. The boy, when grown up, married a woman likewise of no education. After the death of his father, he squandered all his wealth and sought refuge in a destitute’s home (anāthasālā). Thieves saw him there, and as he was young and strong enlisted his services. One night the thieves broke into a house, but the owner awoke and pursued them, catching Mahādhana’s son, who was brought before the king. The king ordered him to be beheaded. The courtesan of the city, Sulasā, saw him being led to execution, and remembering their past friendship, gave him sweetmeats and drink, bribing the guard to let him have them. At that moment Mahā-Moggallāna, seeing the youth’s fate with his divine-eye, appeared before him and was given some sweetmeats. After execution, the man was born as a tree sprite, and one day carried Sulasā off as she was walking in the park and kept her for a week. Sulasā’s mother consulted Mahā-Moggallāna on her disappearance, and was told she would return to Veḷuvana at the end of a week, When the time came, the sprite brought Sulasā back and left her on the edge of the crowd which was listening to the Buddha’s teaching at Veḷuvana. Sulasā was recognised, and recounted what had happened. The Buddha made this a topic for a discourse, which benefited many beings. Pv.i.1; PvA.3 ff.

5. Mahādhana.– Sixty-five world-cycles ago there were four kings of this name, all previous births of Tiṇasantharadāyaka Thera. Ap.i.198.

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