A setthi of Kosambī. Being born as the
son of a courtesan, he is cast away on a refuse heap. A passer-by takes him
home, but the Treasurer of Kosambī, knowing from an astrologer that the stars
showed the birth of a very lucky boy, seeks him out and adopts him. A few days
after, the Treasurer's wife bears him a son, and he therefore plans to kill Ghosaka with the help of a slave woman,
Kālī. All his attempts having failed, he
promises a potter one thousand pieces if he will kill the boy. Ghosita is sent
to the potter with a message; on the way he meets his foster-brother, and gives
him the message, promising to win for him a game of marbles. The foster-brother
goes to the potter and is killed. The Treasurer then sends Ghosaka to the
superintendent of his hundred villages with a letter ordering that he be killed.
The letter is fastened to the boy's garment. On the way he stops for a meal at
the house of a country-treasurer whose beautiful daughter falls in love with
him. Discovering the letter, she substitutes another to the effect that Ghosaka
should be married to her with great festivity and that a two-storied house
should be built for them. The superintendent carries out these orders and the
Treasurer falls ill on receiving the news. He is visited on his death-bed by
Ghosaka and his wife, and while trying with his dying breath to say "I do not
give him my wealth," by a slip of the tongue he says "I do." Ghosaka becomes a
very pious man and is made the Treasurer of King Udena. Later he meets
daughter of his friend Bhaddavatiya, adopts her as his daughter and, when the
time comes, gives her in marriage to Udena.
In a past life Ghosaka had been
Kotūhalaka of Addilarattha, but left there with his wife and child on account of
great poverty. On the way he cast off the child on account of its being too
heavy, but rescued it later in answer to his wife's importunities. It was as a
result of that act that he was cast away in this birth. Later he was born as a
dog and then as Ghosakadevaputta (DhA.i.169ff; PsA.504ff) (q.v.).
Ghosaka had two colleagues in Kosambī,
Kukkuta and Pavāriya. For a number of years they entertained five hundred
ascetics from Himavā, during the rainy season, until one year the ascetics,
hearing from a tree-sprite, who had been one of Anāthapindika's labourers, of
the arising of the Buddha, informed Ghosaka and his friends of their
determination to see the Buddha at Sāvatthi. The ascetics went on ahead,
followed by Ghosaka and the others, bearing all kinds of gifts. They all heard
the Buddha preach, became sotāpannas, and invited the Buddha to Kosambī. On the
invitation being accepted, they built residences for the Buddha and the monks at
Kosambī, that built by Ghosaka being called Ghositārāma (DhA.i.203ff;
AA.i.234f.; MA.i.539f; PsA.414, etc.).
Mitta (DhA.i.189) was the householder in
charge of the refectory from which Ghosaka had food daily distributed to the
needy, and Sumana was Ghosaka's gardener (DhA.i.208).
Ghosaka is mentioned as an example of a
man possessing puññiddhi. He could not have been killed even if stabbed in seven
See also Ghosita Sutta.