Chapter 08: A Millionaire Reborn to Become the Son of a Beggar
This is a true story which happened more than thirty years ago when I was still residing at Phromburi Monastery.
There was a family of a certain millionaire who had five children and over three thousand “rai” of land, as well as many other material possession and property. This particular millionaire persevered to teach and remind his children and grandchildren not to give alms to beggars, especially those who did not suffer from any physical defects. He even instructed his children and grandchildren not to waste their food on monks and that they should by no means go to the monastery to make such merit as offering food to monks. To him giving food to monks would be a sheer waste of money and time. Should any beggar or monk happen to enter his house, he would have the beggar or the monk chased out mercilessly. His children and grandchildren were told that beggars and monks were too lazy to work to support their own lives ; thus, they did not deserve any pity or generosity.
Later the miserly millionaire divided his wealth and distributed it among his five children. It was said that he had a lot of his money and gold buried in the ground behind his house, which was situated to the east of Wat Ambavana at a place called Khok Yai Morn, which was some little distance beyond Wat Maprang.
After some years, both the millionaire and his wife died. The old woman died before the old millionaire. It was not known where she was reborn after her death, but the millionaire himself was reborn to become the son of a beggar. He had to go begging for alms with his father from house to house.
From a village called Huay Slang he walked around begging until eventually he entered a house that was his own home in the previous life. When he entered the house, the owner of the house, who was actually his own son, could not recognize that this beggar was actually his own father. Thus, the son chased away the father and released fierce dogs to drive the miserable beggar away. So, you see, a rich but miserly millionaire who disliked beggars was finally reborn to become a beggar himself. He was fourteen years old when he could recollect his previous life. It was so ironical that he would some day step into his own house as a beggar to beg food or money from his own son, who, of course, did not know that this shabby beggar-boy was actually his own father who had died some years ago.
The beggar boy told the owner of the house (i.e., his own son ) as he was going out of the house that some treasures had been buried at Khok Yai Morn and urged the latter to go there to dig up the hidden treasures. The owner of the house would not believe the beggar’s words. He would never believe that his own father was reborn the son of a poor beggar.
Finally, probably out of curiosity, he did actual go out digging in search of the hidden treasures. They were found and recovered, but the beggar – boy was not well – rewarded at all. He was left to continue begging until his final day, when he fainted and died by the roadside at Bang Kham, which was some distance away from Wat Lai. This event took place when I was not yet ordained as a monk. I have told people about this real – life story many times already. Don’t forget that there are still many of us here who may some day be reborn children of beggars too. I assure you that I am a true witness to this seemingly impossible real – life episode. Today the spot where the treasures were buried is being overlaid by a well – paved road.
Anger or displeasure drags people to hell. Some people may try to do good deeds or perform whatever meritorious acts they can in the hope of “lessening” or “washing away” their sins, or just to make them feel better after having done something bad, but I tell you, no one can escape from tasting the fruit of their own karma or action.
Ignorance is another factor leading people to wrong thinking and wrong deeds. It reduces people to such lowly or base status, like that of wild beasts which act upon impulses, lacking any mindfulness and wisdom.
hope you will apply wisdom in solving your daily problems whenever you encounter beggars, exercise your compassion and wisdom. Help if you can. If you cannot give the beggar any help, at least do not be so mean as to chase away the beggar just as you would do to a street dog.
Lastly, I wish all of you happiness and prosperity. May the serious efforts you put into this meditation practice and may all the merit that you have been accumulating lead you to a total extinguishing of defilements and craving so that you will be in a position to face the challenges of life with the greatest of wisdom and achieve the much – needed peace of mind.
Credit: eBooks. Wat Amphawan.