When thinking about studying a person’s biography, we prefer to acquire certain good points capable of creating the best inspiration for us. Likewise, to the story of Jotika, the millionaire, he was an amazing person to be studied in his biography as he was the wealthiest person in that era. Moreover, his story teaches us clearly how to become a millionaire in accordance with the Buddhist way of life.
This is our great fortune. Without the Lord Buddha, who recalled past lives and said about them as recorded in the Tripitaka, we would have not known these occurrences at all. From this moment forth, an intensive Jotika’s biography is awaiting to be discovered and to inspire one to do good deeds endlessly.
Best Wishes from
Mind…Stillness 24 hours
Jotika, the Millionaire Who Possessed Inexhaustible Wealth
Miraculous treasures are extremely rare and they can happen only to amazing individuals who have accumulated merit in an amazing manner. Such miraculous and stupendous treasures are also inexhaustible and have already been manifested for merit-filled individuals like the one in the following story.
During the time of our Lord Buddha, there was a millionaire by the name of “Jotika”. He could easily be the wealthiest man on earth before and during the Lord Buddha’s time. His wealth was inexhaustible. He did not have to earn a living. He lived the life of luxury akin to that of celestial beings. His wealth came to him easily as a result of the merit which he had accumulated in the past.
In this existence, he was born to a wealthy family in the city of Rajagarh. On the day that he was born, all the weapons in the city glowed brightly. So did all the clothes that the people were wearing. Therefore, his birth had caused the entire city to glow radiantly.
On that day his father went to see the king early in the morning. The king wanted to know if he knew what was causing the entire city to glow brightly. The millionaire told the king that it was his son’s birth which gave rise to the miraculous phenomenon.
He explained further that his son had to have accumulated tremendous merit in his previous lives. The king was so pleased to hear the good news that he gave 1,000 each day to go toward the infant’s care.
The people named the infant “Jotika” which meant radiance for the very reason that his birth caused the entire city to glow brightly. When he grew up, as the workers were getting ready to build a house for him, his merit caused King Sakka’s marble throne to become warm.
King Sakka thought that he needed to descend to earth to create a jeweled castle which had seven stories and seven concentric walls made of seven kinds of gems. He also created a large number of wishing trees and a treasure trove at each of the castle’s four corners.
There were 7 arches altogether. The first arch was guarded by a Yakkha and 1,000 attendants. The second arch was guarded by a Yakkha and 2,000 attendants. So on and so forth such that the seventh arch was guarded by a Yakkha and 7,000 attendants. The castle was heavily guarded both on the inside and the outside.
King Bimbisara heard that a seven-storied castle made of seven kinds of gems along with 7 jeweled walls and 7 arches and 4 treasure troves had appeared for Jotika. Therefore, the king sent the state umbrella to Jotika and appointed him as the Millionaire of the City.
His wife and former merit partner was brought to him from Utarakuru Continent by celestial beings. She brought with her 1 liter of rice and three hot stones to use as a stove. The rice was inexhaustible in that it could replenish itself to the point of filling 100 wagons.
To cook the rice, the servants would put it in a pot and cook it over the three hot stones. The stones would give out flames which went out by themselves as soon as the rice was cooked. The hot stones could be used to do all kinds of cooking as well. At night the castle glowed with the light from the gems and there was no need for other light sources.
The news of the miraculous wealth spread everywhere. People traveled from different places to come and admire it everyday. Jotika had the visitors fed with the rice which his wife had brought from Utarakuru Continent. He told them to help themselves to the cloths and ornaments provided by the wishing tree.
He also had his servants unveil one treasure trove which covered an area of four square kilometers. He gave the visitors permission to take what they needed to provide for their livelihood. This miraculous treasure trove could replenish itself constantly.
As time went by, more and more people from every cardinal point came and took whatever they needed. Even King Bimbisara wished to take a look at Jotika’s miraculous treasures but he had to wait his turn.
After some time, King Bimbisara went with his courtiers to admire Jotika’s treasures. When he reached the first arch, a maid welcomed him by giving him her hand in order to lead him inside. King Bimbisara felt embarrassed thinking that she was Jotika’s wife and did not put his hand on her arm.
He was greeted in the same manner in subsequent arches and he thought the maids were the millionaire’s wives and did not put his hand on their arm.
When the king arrived at the front of the castle, Jotika came out to personally welcome him. The floor of the castle had been covered with crystal spheres which made it look like a chasm. The king felt suspicious thinking that it was a trap and would not go forward. The millionaire told the king that it was safe to go forward and asked the king to follow him.
At the time, the young prince Ajatasattu had also accompanied his father. He saw Jotika’s treasures and thought how his father was such a fool for being a king but living in a palace made of wood while this millionaire got to live in a jeweled castle. He thought further that when he became king he would confiscate the castle and live in it himself.
The millionaire invited the king to dine at his castle. One servant put some hot rice in a gold platter and placed it in front of the king. The king was getting ready to eat the rice when the millionaire interrupted him. “Your Majesty, this hot rice is not for consumption but for keeping the food warm.”
Later, the man-servants put food in a gold plate and placed it on top of the platter. It was then that the millionaire invited the king to eat. The food was so exotic that the king kept on eating. The millionaire had to ask the king to stop eating for fear that he would feel ill from indigestion.
After the king and his entourage had enjoyed their meal king Bimbisara asked the millionaire if he was married. When the millionaire said that he was, the king wanted to know where his wife was. The millionaire answered that she was resting because she did not know of the king’s visit.
Jotika could tell that the king wished to see his wife, so he went to her bedchamber to ask her to come out and visit with the king. His wife asked him what a king was. And the millionaire answered that the king was above them.
She felt uncomfortable to find that someone else was above them. She lamented the fact that they had to not have accumulated enough merit or had done so without enough faith to be living in a place where there was someone else above them.
She felt highly uncomfortable and asked her husband what she ought to do next. The millionaire advised his wife to take a fan with her so that she could offer to fan the king.
While she was fanning the king, the smell wafted from his turban and caused her eyes to water. The king thought that she was crying because she feared that the king might confiscate her husband’s treasures so he said to her that he had no desire for their wealth.
The millionaire told the king that his wife was not crying but the smell of smoke on the king’s clothes had irritated his wife’s eyes. He explained further that his wife had never been exposed to other light sources except for the light from the crystal spheres. Naturally the smoke smell which resulted from burning fats used in lamps and torches caused his wife’s eyes to become irritated.
The millionaire told the king that, he could from then on enjoy the light provided by the crystal sphere and gave the king a bright crystal sphere the size of a watermelon. After a good visit, the king returned to the palace.
On the part of Prince Ajatasattu, he had never forgotten how he would eventually seize Jotika’s jeweled castle. He grew up to be a very strong man and had befriended Phra Devadat who talked him into killing his own father, King Bimbisara.
As soon as he assumed the throne, he made plans to seize all of Jotika’s miraculous treasures. One day, he led a large army and marched toward Jotika’s jeweled castle. When he got there, the clear crystal concentric wall reflected back to him an image of his own army. Upon seeing the image, King Ajatasattu thought that what he saw was the millionaire’s army mustered to protect the castle.
The Yakkha that guarded the first arch transformed himself into a huge Yakkha and proceeded to chase away King Ajatasattu and his large army and they were forced to retreat. In that same morning, Jotika had his breakfast at dawn before he went to the temple to see the Lord Buddha.
King Ajatasattu followed the millionaire to the temple with the intention of letting the millionaire know that he was about to seize all of his treasures. The millionaire saw the king and wanted to know if the king had any urgent business with him.
The king accused the millionaire of mustering an army against him. The millionaire said to the king, “Your Majesty went to my castle in order to seize it, did you not? Well, your majesty should know that not even 1,000 powerful kings can take any of my treasures not even a thread at the hem of my cloak if I do not expressly permit it. It is also a fact that my treasures can never be stolen from me.
The millionaire subsequently told the king to try and remove the rings from his fingers. Although King Ajatasattu possessed enormous strength, he could not remove a single ring from the millionaire’s fingers. It was said that when the king jumped from a sitting position, he could go as high as 9 meters. From a standing position, he could jump as high as 40 meters. Albeit his enormous strength and his kingship, King Ajatasattu could never remove anything which belonged to the millionaire.
Later, the millionaire told the king to lay a piece of fine cloth on the floor. He then held out one hand with his fingers pointing down and miraculously all the rings simply fell off his fingers. Having witnessed the king’s greed, the millionaire was struck at the core with deep sadness and he had the strongest wish to ordain. Therefore, he asked the king for permission to ordain.
The king immediately granted the millionaire permission thinking that all the miraculous treasures would then become his. Soon after the millionaire ordained, he was able to attain Arahatship. In the meantime, the jeweled castle and all of the miraculous treasures, which occurred as a result of the millionaire’s accumulated merit, had all disappeared from sight. Even his wife was escorted back to Utarakuru Continent by celestial beings.
Having owned inexhaustible wealth, having practically lived the life of a celestial being in ways which were incomparable, the millionaire easily left everything behind in order to enter monkhood. He is an example of someone who has both worldly wealth and Dhamma wealth in the extreme.
All of Jotika’s miraculous treasures occurred as a result of the vast merit which had been accumulated over many previous lifetimes. In one previous existence during an age where the Lord Buddha did not happen, Jotika was a farmer who lived with his older brother in the city of Benares. They were sugar cane farmers.
The sugar cane juice in those days was incredibly fragrant and sweet. Moreover, when the stem was cut, the juice would flow out automatically and it was unnecessary to crush the cane stem for its juice. One day the younger brother went to have a look around his plantation and had cut two sugar cane stalks which were tied with a vine, to take home with him, one for his older brother and one for himself.
On that same morning, a Pacceka-Buddha had just emerged from the bliss of meditative attainments. As the Pacceka-Buddha employed the Buddha-Insight to see who deserved to be blessed on that day, the image of the farmer who was the younger brother appeared to Him. Carrying an alms-bowl and a robe, the Pacceka-Buddha traveled through the air from where He was and came to stand in front of the farmer as he was walking home.
At the sight of the Pacceka-Buddha, the farmer felt highly inspired. He hurried to prepare a seat for the Pacceka-Buddha. Once the Pacceka-Buddha sat down, the farmer loosened the vine and poured the juice from his cane stem into the alms-bowl. As he watched the Pacceka-Buddha drink the cane juice, he was overwhelmed with joy and wanted to offer the juice from his brother’s portion to Him thinking that he wanted his brother to make merit as well. Somehow, if his brother would like money in replacement to the cane juice he would pay for it but if his brother would like a share of merit he would share the merit to him.
Therefore, he offered the Pacceka-Buddha his brother’s portion of cane juice. He made the deliberate wish to be reborn in the Celestial Realm and the Human Realm and to attain Enlightenment. The Pacceka-Buddha told him that his wishes would be fulfilled.
Afterward, the Pacceka-Buddha traveled through the air back to Gandhamad Mountain. He made it possible for the farmer to see Him offer the cane juice to 500 Pacceka-Buddhas there. The farmer was overjoyed. He brought the great news to his older brother and his brother also made the wish to attain Enlightenment.
This merit-making activity caused both men to be reborn after they died in the different celestial realms for an entire Buddha-Eon. During the time of the Lord Vipassi Buddha, they were born as brothers again this time to a wealthy family in the city of Bandhumadi. The older brother’s name was Sena. The younger brother, who once offered cane juice to the Pacceka-Buddha, was called Aparajita.
After their parents passed away, the older brother heard one day from a lay supporter that the Triple Gem; the Buddha, the Dhamma and the Sangha had happened on earth. He saw so many people carrying flowers and perfumed articles as they headed toward the temple and he decided to follow them. Lord Buddha knew of his character then gave sermon about generosity, precepts, heaven, forfeit of sensual defilement and fruit of ordination.
He listened to a Dhamma lecture which to him was most lovely and made all the sense in the world. As joy filled his heart, he decided to ordain as a monk under the Lord Vipassi Buddha. After having practiced meditation for a short while, he was able to attain Arahatship. When the younger brother heard that his older brother had ordained, he honored his brother by offering alms to the Lord Vipassi Buddha and the entire company of monks for seven consecutive days.
On the last day, he paid homage to his Arahat brother and said, “Venerable Sir, you’ve already attained Enlightenment but I’m still bound to sensual pleasure and cannot yet ordain. Will you please advise me as to what kind of merit a householder like me should make?” The Arahat Sena answered, “Aparajita, you should have the perfumed dwelling built for the Lord Buddha.
Aparajita immediately donated a great deal of money to have the perfumed dwelling built by using seven kinds of gems. Every part of the dwelling from the pillars to the tiles on the roof was built using 7 kinds of exquisite gemstones. During the construction, his nephew wished to make merit and begged the uncle to let him take part in the merit-making activity.
But no amount of begging could convince the uncle to let the nephew share in the merit-making activity. The nephew came up with the idea that there should be a few pavilions in front of the perfumed dwelling. He then hired craftsmen to build small pavilions in the front of the perfumed dwelling by using seven kinds of gems. That merit-making event caused the nephew to be reborn on earth as the millionaire, Mendaka.
After Aparajita had the perfumed dwelling built, he had 3 scent ponds dug and had a park built in which grew plants that gave five different color flowers as well as sweet-smelling flowers. With a heart filled with compassion for his fellow beings, Jotika had 7 kinds of gems piled knee high all around the perfumed dwelling with the thought that “People who are already believers will come for Dhamma lectures. But non-believers will see no reason to come and listen to the Dhamma lectures. But if I offer anyone that comes to attend the Dhamma lectures a portion of the gems, non-believers will be motivated to come and be able to benefit from the lectures.
For this reason, so many people had come for Dhamma lectures. On their way out, they scooped up the gems with both hands. When the gems were all gone, Jotika would replenish them. He did this three times altogether. In addition, Aparajita had placed a crystal sphere the size of a watermelon in the Dhamma Hall with the thought that the crystal sphere’s brightness could only enhance the Lord Buddha’s golden radiance and inspire deep admiration in people.
But then something bad happened. A wrong-viewed man had decided to steal the crystal sphere. His act deeply appalled Aparajita and he said to the Lord Buddha, “Most Exalted One, I’ve given away a huge amount of precious gems three different times already with a heart filled with joy. But when someone stole the crystal sphere from here, his act leaves me in dismay”.
The Lord Vipassi Buddha hinted, “But you do know how to prevent your possessions from being stolen.” Aparajita understood immediately. Therefore, he offered alms to the Lord Buddha for seven consecutive days and on the 7th day he made a deliberate wish, “Let not a king or 100 thieves ever offend me or be able to remove a thread from the hem of my cloak without my express consent. And from this day onward, let not fire or water can ever do damage to my possessions.”
After Aparajita had made his wish, the Lord Vipassi Buddha said, “Your wish will be fulfilled”. As a result of that deliberate wish, all of Aparajita’s possessions had been kept safe for him. Aparajita continued to amass merit by supporting the Buddhist Cause for the rest of his life.
After he died, he was reborn in the Celestial Realm. He enjoyed rebirths within the States of Happiness for a total of 91 Kappas. During the time of our Lord Gautama Buddha, he was born to a wealthy family as Jotika in the city of Rajagarh and became the owner of miraculous and inexhaustible treasures. He had been given the title of ‘Millionaire of the City.’ His miraculous treasures had brought delight to all the people everywhere. When he decided to ordain, he could easily attain Arahatship.
This amazing but true story showed us that before Jotika could come to possess miraculous treasures, he had amassed merit by supporting the Buddhist Faith for many lifetimes. He had offered alms to the Lord Buddhas, the Pacceka-Buddhas, and the Arahats, etc. His accumulated merit eventually yielded him miraculous treasures.
Moreover, Jotika had the heart of a virtuous friend and joyfully shared his wealth with those who came to listen to the Lord Buddha’s Dhamma lectures. Giving them opportunity to come and listen to Lord Buddha’s Teachings in order to gain spiritual wealth over lifetimes.
As for us, we may not be wealthy just yet but we should continue to accumulate merit so that one day when our merit reaches perfection, we will most definitely be able to own inexhaustible wealth and can continue to amass merit as we work toward The Uttermost of Dhamma.