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Verses 119 and 120: The Story of Anathapindika

While residing at the Jetavana monastery, the Buddha uttered Verses (119) and (120) of this
book, with reference to Anathapindika, the famous rich man of Savatthi.

Anathapindika was the donor of the Jetavana monastery, which was built at a cost of fifty-
four crores. He was not only generous, but also truly devoted to the Buddha. He would go to
the Jetavana monastery and pay homage to the Buddha thrice daily. In the mornings he would
bring along rice gruel, in the day-time some suitable rich food or medicine and in the evenings
some flowers and incense. After some time Anathapindika became poor, but being a sotapanna,
he was not shaken by misfortune, and he continued to do his daily acts of charity.
One night, the spirit guarding the gate to the house of Anathapindika appeared to him in
person, and said, "I am the guardian of your gate. You have been offering your property to
Samana Gotama with no thoughts of your future. That is why you are now a poor man.
Therefore, you should make no more offerings to Samana Gotama and should look after your
own business affairs and get rich again"

Anathapindika drove the guardian spirit out of his house for saying such things, and as
Anathapindika was a sotapanna the guardian spirit could not disobey him and so had to leave
the premises. He had nowhere to go and wanted to return, but was afraid of Anathapindika.
So, he approached Sakka, king of the devas. Sakka advised him first to do a good turn to
Anathapindika, and after that, to ask his pardon. Then Sakka continued, "There are about
eighteen crores taken as loans by some traders ,which are not yet repaid to Anathapindika;
another eighteen crores buried by the ancestors of Anathapindika, which have been washed
away into the ocean, and another eighteen crores, which belong to no one, buried in a certain
place. Go and recover all these wealth by your supernatural power and fill up the rooms of
Anathapindika. Having done so, you may ask his pardon". The guardian spirit did as instructed
by Sakka, and Anathapindika again became rich.

When the guardian spirit told Anathapindika about the information and instructions given by
Sakka, about the recovery of his riches from underneath the earth, from within the ocean
and from the debtors, he was struck with awe. Then Anathapindika took the guardian spirit
to the Buddha. To both of them the Buddha said, "One may not enjoy the benefits of a good
deed, or suffer the consequences of a bad deed for a long time; but time will surely come
when his good or bad deed will bear fruit and ripen".

Then the Buddha spoke in verse as follows:

Verse 119. Even an evil person may still find happiness so long as his evil deed does not bear fruit;
but when his evil deed does bear fruit he will meet with painful consequences.

Verse 120. Even a good person may still meet with suffering so long as his good deed does not
bear fruit: but when it does bear fruit he will enjoy the benefits & happiness of his good deed.

At the end of the discourse, the guardian spirit of the gate of Anathapindika's house
attained Sotapatti Fruition.

Translated by Daw Mya Tin, M.A.,
Burma Pitaka Association, Rangoon, Burma 1986.


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