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Mayhaka Jātaka (No.390)

The Bodhisatta was once born in a very wealthy family, and he built an alms hall and gave away generously. He married, and, on the birth of a son, he entrusted wife and child to his younger brother and became an ascetic. When the boy began to grow up, the brother drowned him in the river lest he should claim half the estate. The Bodhisatta saw this with his divine-eye and called on his brother, to whom he pointed out the folly of covetousness — “You are like the bird, Mayhaka, who sits on the pipal tree and keeps on crying ’Mine, mine,’ while the other birds eat the fruit.”

The story was told in reference to a wealthy man of Sāvatthi, a stranger who settled down there. He neither enjoyed his wealth nor gave it to others, living in poverty, eating rice dust and sour gruel, and travelling in a broken down chariot with a parasol of leaves. He died without issue and his money, passed to the king. When the king told the Buddha of this, the Buddha explained to him that the miser had, in a previous birth, met the Pacceka Buddha Tagarasikhī begging for alms and had sent word to his wife to give the food prepared for himself. This the wife gladly did. However, the man saw Tagarasikhī with his bowl full of sweet foods and repented of his generosity. Therefore, in this birth, though possessing much wealth, he never enjoyed it. He was childless because he was the very man who had drowned the Bodhisatta’s son. J.iii.299‑303.

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