My teacher told this charming story in class when I was in junior high. And Yasa, the young millionaire, who wore golden shoes, still fascinates me until now. Do you know that supermonk Yasa was the 6th arahant of the Buddha?
Yasa, The Young Millionaire Who Wore Golden Shoes
[Translated from Thai Dhammapada by Dr.Sirikanya Sastri, a surgeon working for the US Air Force]
This is a story of Yasa, the son of Kakandaka a millionaire of Benares and his
mother named Sujata. Yasa was used to a life of luxury. He owned three mansions one
for the summer, one for the winter and one for the fall. He possessed all
worldly goods and beautiful women surrounded him daily. But one day, he fell
asleep while the women were dancing around him and when he awoke from his
slumber, the dancers had fallen asleep appearing as dead bodies on the floor.
This caused him great distress and boredom. So he left the house and went into
the Isipatana forest complaining of his boredom. The Buddha saw him and called
to him, "Come Yasa, here is neither distress nor boredom". Filled with joy, Yasa
took off his golden shoes and sat down. The Buddha preached to him a
dhamma discourse. When he finished teaching the Truths,Yasa attained
Yasa's father became worried unable to find where his son went, so he wandered
in the forest. He met the Buddha who invited him to sit down. Buddha made Yasa
invisible to his father while he preached dhammas to Kakandaka. At the end of
the sermon, Yasa's father attained sotapanna and acknowledged himself as the
Buddha's follower and became the first tevácika upásaka. Yasa, who also had been
listening to the same sermon, became an arahant. When Yasa was visible to his
father, his father asked him to return to his grieving mother. the Buddha
declared that ordinary human life was not suitable for Yasa. The father realized
this and granted his request to be ordained.And Yasa's father invited Buddha and
his son to have food at his mansion.
The next day, the Buddha and bhikkhu Yasa went to the mansion and after
finishing the meal, Buddha preached to Yasa's mother and wife until they both
attained sotapanna and became the first two tevacika upasikas. When Yasa's best
friends, Vimala, Subáhu, Punnaji and Gavampati, heard of Yasa's ordainment, they
followed his example and joined the Order, attaining arahantship. Fifty of Yasa's former friends and
acquaintances followed in their footsteps.
At that time, bhikkhu Yasa became the 6th arahant of Buddha, and fifty four
more friends became arhants too. In less than 2 months since Buddha's
enlightenment, there were sixty arhants from distinguished families.
In the time of Sumedha Buddha, Yasa was a king of the Nágas and invited the
Buddha and his monks to his abode, where he showed them great honour and
hospitality with gifts of luxury.
In the time of Siddhattha Buddha, Yasa was also a Treasurer so he offered the
seven kinds of jewels at the Bodhi tree to the Buddha and his monks.
In the time of Kassapa Buddha Yasa was a monk.
For eighteen thousand kappas, Yasa was a deva king and for one thousand times,
he was king of men. Wherever he went, he had a gold canopy which followed him to
his last life where it hovered over his funeral pyre.
In a past life, Yasa and his four best friends engaged in various acts of
charity. One day, they came across the dead body of a pregnant woman. So, they
carried her body to the cemetery to be cremated. While burning the corpse his
mind was filled with thoughts of the foulness of the human body; he drew the
attention of his friends to this idea, and, later, of his parents and wives, all
of whom approved of what he said. For this reason Yasa felt revulsion against
the household life, and his friends and members of his family were able to
realize the Dhamma early in the Buddha's time.
The ordainment of Yasa was one of the significant events of the Buddha's life so
it was sculpted into the Relic Chamber of the Mahá Thúpa.
Love Buddha's dhamma,