1-25 The Story of the Man Who Threw His Treasures into the River


Once upon a time, in ancient India, there lived a man named Warata. Warata’s parents were very wealthy, and their home was filled with treasures, leaving them with no sense of lack.

Warata was deeply spiritual and desired to renounce the world and become a disciple of Buddha. He asked his parents for permission, but they refused. Warata then declared, “If I am not allowed to become a monk, I will die.” For three days, he lay without eating or drinking. This continued for five days, and then seven days. “He must be close to death,” someone informed his parents.

Someone advised Warata’s parents, “Warata has not eaten for seven days and is intent on dying. It is better to allow him to become a monk than to regret his death later.” His parents followed this advice and granted him permission to become a monk. Upon receiving their consent, Warata rose and began eating and drinking as he used to. After his meal, he said, “I will become a monk and go to the Buddha.” His parents responded, “Even as a disciple of the Buddha, you must return home three times a year. Just being apart for a short while makes our hearts feel like they will break.”

After renouncing the world, Warata did not return home. Two, three years passed, and eventually, twelve years elapsed. Warata cut off all worldly attachments and attained the state of an arhat (a saint). He then told Buddha, “I wish to visit my parents’ home.” Buddha replied, “Go immediately.”

Warata visited the gate of his father’s house and begged for alms. His father had completely forgotten about his son and said, “Which monk has come here?” and chased him away. Warata fled.

Warata repeatedly stood at his father’s gate. A maidservant cleaning the yard said, “Monk, aren’t you Warata?” “Yes,” he replied. The maid quickly went inside and informed the master, “The monk at the gate is Warata. How did you not recognize him?”

His parents, shedding tears, welcomed him in, dressed him in fine clothes, and offered him a sumptuous meal. “You must have fulfilled your wish. Now, stay home and take over the family business. I have accumulated much wealth for you,” his father said, showing him heaps of gold, silver, and other treasures. His father continued, “Your wife is beautiful and graceful like a bodhisattva. She has been longing for you. She has come from the inner quarters to meet you. You should see her. All these thousands of treasures are entrusted to you.” “Are you giving me all these treasures?” Warata asked. “Yes, take them in a cart,” his father replied, preparing a cart.

“The people of this world cannot escape the three evil paths because of wealth,” Warata said, and then he threw all the treasures into the Ganges River. After that, he ascended into the sky, performed eighteen transformations, and disappeared.

Sangam-Allahabad (the Ganges)

Later, as Warata was sitting under a tree using the branches as his seat, he encountered the king of a neighboring country who was out hunting. The king’s retainers said, “Isn’t the monk sitting under the tree Warata, your childhood friend?” The king dismounted and asked, “Why did you renounce the world?” Warata replied, “There are three reasons.” “What are they?” the king asked.

“First, can you take the place of your parents when they fall ill?” Warata asked. The king answered, “No, I cannot.” “Second, can you take the place of an old person when they die?” The king responded, “No, I cannot.” “Third, can you take the place of a being suffering in hell and endure their suffering?” The king replied, “No, I cannot.” “That’s all there is to it. Knowing this, I renounced the world,” Warata explained.

The king then said, “You were my childhood friend. I have twenty thousand wives. I will give you the foremost among them. Moreover, I will grant you half of my kingdom. Please return to lay life.” Warata replied, “I do not need twenty thousand wives or a thousand kingdoms. I only wish to become a Buddha and save people from suffering. I want to make everyone a Buddha.”

With these words, Warata ascended into the sky and disappeared, as the story goes.

Siro Inuzuka

This text was created by using ChatGPT-4o to translate a modern Japanese translation into English, and then making some modifications. There may be errors in the English expressions. Please correct any mistakes.

Shinichi Kusano / Siro Inuzuka

In Buddhism, the term “Buddha” does not specifically refer to Shakyamuni (Gautama Buddha). Buddhism is a teaching aimed at becoming a Buddha, and Shakyamuni is one who achieved this. After completing his training, Warata demonstrated superhuman abilities. Compared to what he learned, these abilities are quite trivial.

Shinichi Kusano


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