One of the Buddha’s great Dharma protectors, Anāthapiṇḍika, had a nephew. This young man had squandered an inheritance of forty thousand pieces of gold. Then he visited his uncle, who gave him a thousand pieces, and bade him trade with it.
The man squandered this, and then came again; and once more was given five hundred.
Having squandered this like the rest, next time his uncle gave him two coarse garments. When he had worn these out, he again appealed for assistance. His uncle had him taken by the neck and turned out of doors. The fellow was helpless, and fell down by a side-wall and died. People dragged him outside the city walls and threw his body into a ditch.
Anāthapiṇḍika went and told the Buddha what had happened to his nephew. The World Honored One said: “How could you expect to satisfy the man whom I long ago failed to satisfy, even when I gave him the Wishing Cup?”
Once upon a time, the Buddha was born as a rich merchant’s son. After his father’s death, he took his place. In his house was buried a treasure of four hundred million pieces of gold. He had an only son. The Buddha gave alms and did good until he died. He then was born as Shakra, king of the gods.
His son proceeded to make a pavilion across the road, and sat down with many friends round him, to drink. He paid a thousand pieces to runners and tumblers, singers and dancers, and passed his time in drinking, gluttony, and debauchery. He wandered about, seeking song, music, and dancing, devoted to his parasite companions, sunk in sloth. So in no time, he squandered all his inheritance of four hundred millions, all his property, goods, and furniture. He got so poor and miserable that he had to go about clad in rags.
Shakra, as he meditated, became aware how poor his son was. Overcome with love for his son, he gave him a Wishing Cup, with these words: “Son, take care not to break this cup. As long as you keep it, your wealth will never come to an end. So take good care of it!” and then he returned to heaven.
After that, the man did nothing but drink out of it. One day, he was drunk, and threw the cup into the air, catching it as it fell. But he missed it. Down it fell upon the earth, and smashed! Then he got poor again, and went about in rags, begging until at last he lay down by a wall, and died.
The Buddha then explained that the foolish son was later born as Anāthapiṇḍika’s nephew.
Sometimes, leaving assets as inheritance is not helpful to the unwise. It is better to impart wisdom and help them plant blessings, especially the non-outflow kinds of blessings with Mahayana.