Dhammapada Verse 286
Idha vassam vasissami
iti balo vicinteti
antarayam na bujjhati.
Verse 286: "Here will I live in the rainy season; here will I live in
the cold season and the hot season", so imagines the fool, not realizing
the danger (of approaching death).
The Story of Mahadhana, a Merchant
While residing at the Jetavana monastery, the Buddha uttered Verse (286) of
this book, with reference to Mahadhana, a merchant from Baranasi.
Once, a merchant from Baranasi came to a festival in Savatthi with five
hundred carts fully loaded with textiles and other merchandise. When he reached
a river bank near Savatthi the river was in spate; so he could not cross the
river. He was held up for seven days as it was raining hard and the water did
not subside. By that time, he was already late for the festival, and there was
no need for him to cross the river.
Since he had come from a long distance he did not want to return home with
his full load of merchandise. So he decided to spend the rainy season, the cold
season and the hot season in that place and said so to his assistants. The
Buddha while going on an alms-round knew the decision of the merchant and he
smiled. Ananda asked the Buddha why he smiled and the Buddha replied,
"Ananda, do you see that merchant? He is thinking that he would stay here
and sell his goods the whole year. He is not aware that he would die here in
seven days' time. What should be done should be done today. Who would know that
one would die tomorrow? We have no date fixed with the King of Death. For one
who is mindful by day or by night, who is not disturbed by moral defilements and
is energetic, to live for just one night is a well-spent life."
Then the Buddha sent Ananda to Mahadhana, the merchant. Ananda explained to
Mahadhana that time was running out for him, and that he should practise
mindfulness instead of being negligent. On learning about his impending death,
Mahadhana was alarmed and frightened. So, for seven days, he invited the Buddha
and other bhikkhus for alms-food. On the seventh day, the Buddha expounded a
discourse in appreciation (anumodana).
Then the Buddha spoke in verse as follows:
|Verse 286: "Here will I live in the rainy season;
here will I live in the cold season and the hot season", so
imagines the fool, not realizing the danger (of approaching death).
At the end of the discourse Mahadhana the merchant attained Sotapatti
Fruition. He followed the Buddha for some distance and returned. On his return,
he had a severe headache and passed away soon after. Mahadhana was reborn in the
Tusita deva world.