Ja 287 Lābhagarahajātaka
The Story about the Reproach of Gains (3s)

In the present one monk speaks against the qualities one has to develop in order to get material gains. The Buddha remarks that this is not the first time he spoke like this, he did so also in a previous life.

The Bodhisatta = the teacher (ācariya),
the monk who blamed (true) gains = the young brahmin (māṇava).

Keywords: Gains, Bad behaviour.

“He that hath madness.” [2.287] This story the Teacher told at Jetavana, about a fellow monastic of the elder Sāriputta. {2.421} This monk came and greeted the elder, and sitting on one side, he asked him to tell the way in which one could get gains, and how he could get robes and the like. The elder replied, “Friend, there are four qualities which make a man successful in getting gains. He must get rid of modesty from his heart, must resign his orders, must seem to be mad even if he is not; he must speak slander; he must behave like a dancer; he must use unkind words everywhere.” Thus he explained how a man gets great gains. The monk objected to this method, and went away. The elder went to his Teacher, and told him about it. The Teacher said: “This is not the first time that this monk spoke in dispraise of gains; he did the same before,” and then, at the request of the elder, he told a story of the past.

In the past, when Brahmadatta was king of Benares, the Bodhisatta was born in a brahmin family. When he grew up to the age of sixteen years, he had already mastered the three Vedas and the eighteen accomplishments; and he became a far-famed teacher, who educated a body of five hundred young men. One young man, a youth of virtuous life, approached his teacher one day with the question, “How is it these people get gains?

The teacher answered, “My son, there are four qualities which procure gains for those people,” and he repeated the first verse:

1. “He that hath madness, he that slanders well,
That hath an actor’s tricks, ill tales does tell,
Such is the man that wins prosperity
Where all are fools: let this your maxim be.” {2.422}

The pupil, on hearing his master’s words, expressed his disapproval of gain-getting in the two following verses:

2. “Shame upon him that gain or glory wins
By dire destruction and by wicked sins.

3. With bowl in hand a homeless life I’ll lead
Rather than live in wickedness and greed.” {2.423}

Thus did the youth praise the quality of the ascetic life; and straight became an ascetic, and craved alms with righteousness, cultivating the Attainments, until he became destined to the Brahmā Realm.

When the Teacher had ended this discourse he thus identified the Jātaka, “At that time the monk who disapproved of gain was the young man, but his teacher was I myself.”