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Aputtaka

A wealthy burgess of Sāvatthi who died intestate. In the Saṃyutta­nikāya ¹ we find Pasenadi, King of Kosala, visiting the Buddha at noon and telling him that he had just finished having the banker’s wealth removed to the royal coffers, “eight millions of gold to say nothing of silver.” And yet Aputtaka ate nothing except sour husk-gruel left over from the previous day and wore only hempen garments.

In the next Sutta of the same Nikāya ² the Buddha is reported as revealing the banker’s past. In a former birth he had given alms to a Pacceka Buddha, Tagarasikhī, but later he repented and wished that he had given the food to slaves and workmen.

He had, in the same birth, slain the only son of his brother for the sake of his fortune.

As a result of the alms he was born seven times in the deva-worlds and seven times as a rich man of Sāvatthi. His repentance made him inclined to deny himself enjoyment of sense-desires. Owing to the murder of his nephew in his previous birth, he was childless in this, and he died intestate. After this life he was born in Mahāroruva hell

¹ S.i.89‑91. ² S.i.91‑3.

³ The Mayhaka Jātaka (J.iii.299 f ), contains the whole story of the banker’s past and present, giving many graphic details not found in the Saṃyuttanikāya account, but it does not mention the seven births in heaven or in Sāvatthi. It adds that the king’s men took seven days and nights to remove the treasure. Aputtaka is there referred to not as Aputtaka but as Āgantuka (Strange). See also DhA.iv.76‑80.

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