ONE IS NOT ONE'S OWN
Putta m'atthi dhanamatthi' iti balo vihannati
atta hi attano natthi kuto putta kuto dhanam.
'I have sons, I have wealth.' The ignorant man thus thinks he is secured. Indeed, he himself is not his own. How can sons or wealth be his?
There was once a very wealthy man named Ananda in Savatthi. Although he was wealthy, he was very reluctant to give anything in charity. To his son, Mulasiri, he used to say, 'Don't think we are wealthy. We should not be spendthrift. We should always acquire more wealth. Otherwise our wealth will dwindle away.' The rich man buried five pots of gold in his house and he died without revealing their location to his son.
This man was reborn in a village of beggars, not far from Savatthi. From the time his mother was pregnant, the income of the beggars decreased and they thought there must be an unlucky one amongst them. By dividing themselves up into groups and by the process of elimination, they came to the conclusion that the pregnant woman must be the cause of their misfortune. Thus, she was driven out of the village. Finally she gave birth to a son who was ugly and repulsive. If she went out begging by herself, she would get what she had obtained as before, but if she went out with her son she would get nothing. So, when the boy was big enough, her mother sent him out alone to beg. As he wandered about in Savatthi, he entered his old house in the previous life. When the sons of Mulasiri saw him they were frightened by his ugly looks and ordered their servants to throw him out of the house.
The Buddha who was on his almsround saw the incident and asked the Venerable Ananda to fetch Mulasiri. When he came, the Buddha revealed that the young beggar was none other than Mulasiri's own dead father. But Mulasiri could not believe it. So, the Buddha directed the young beggar to show where he had buried his five pots of gold. Only then did Mulasiri accept the truth and from that time he became a devoted lay-disciple of the Buddha.