At the city of Sāvatthī…
One day, King Pasenadi went up to the Buddha in the middle of the day … The Buddha said to him, “So, great king, where are you coming from in the middle of the day?”
“Bhante, here in this city of Sāvatthī, a rich man has passed away. Since he died childless, I have come after transferring his wealth to the royal treasury. There was eight million in gold, not to mention the silver.
“Bhante, I learned that the rich man didn’t spend money on delicious food. Unfortunately, he ate meals of rough gruel with pickles. He didn’t spend money on good clothing. He wore a rag cloth which he made by sewing three pieces of hemp together. He didn’t spend money on comfortable vehicles. He traveled around in a very old, little cart, holding an old umbrella as a sunshade.”
“That’s so true, great king! That’s so true! Once upon a time, great king, that rich man ordered his servants to give some food to the Private Buddha named Tagarasikhī. He instructed: ‘Give food to this monk,’ and left for his own business. But after giving, he regretted it, thinking, ‘It would have been better to feed my servants or workers with that food.’ He also murdered his brother’s only child for the sake of his wealth.
“By the result of the good kamma from the rich man ordering his servants to give food to the Private Buddha Tagarasikhī , he was reborn in heaven seven times. And as a remaining result of that same good kamma, he held the position of financier seven times right here in this city of Sāvatthī. By the result of the bad kamma from the rich man regretting giving the food, his mind wasn’t inclined to enjoy nice food, clothes, vehicles, or any worldly pleasures.
“As a result of the bad kamma the rich man received for murdering his brother’s only child for the sake of his wealth, he burned in hell for many hundreds, many thousands, many hundreds of thousands of years. And as a remaining result of that same bad kamma for the seventh time, he is childless and his fortune ends up in the royal treasury. Now the old merit of that rich man has been used up, and he hasn’t collected new merit. Today, great king, that rich man burns in the Great Hell called Rourava.”
“So, bhante, that rich man has been reborn in the Great Hell called Rourava?”
“Yes he has, great king.”
“Properties, wealth, silver, and gold,
or whatever other possessions there are;
servants, workers, employees,
and everything you use,
you must leave this world without taking any of these,
all of them are left behind.
“But the kamma you do
by body, speech, and mind—
that’s what you can call your own.
That’s what you take when you go to the next life.
That’s what goes with you,
like a shadow that never leaves you.
“That’s why you should do good,
which will benefit your future lives.
Only the merit of beings
support them in the next world.”