"Mendaka was a rich merchant in a previous life.
In the face of a famine,
his stock of provisions gradually ran out
and at last he had to send away his attendants
and was left with his wife, a son,
his daughter-in-law and a slave.
His wife had cooked rice
that was barely enough for their consumption,
and they were about to eat it
when a paccekabuddha appeared to receive food.
At the sight of the paccekabuddha,
the merchant thought of his bad kamma,
that is, lack of dana in a previous life
that had now brought about his starvation.
He then offered his share of rice to the paccekabuddha
and prayed for abundant supply of food
and reunion with the members of his household in his future lives.
His wife too donated her share of rice
and expressed a similar wish in her prayer.
The son and his wife followed suit
and prayed in the same vein,
that is, for unlimited supply of food and money
as well as reunion with the same wife, husband,
parents and slaves.
The prayers of the merchant and his family
clearly point to the powerful influence
of upadana in the sensual sphere
and most people today are no less subject
to the same kind of attachment.
But more appalling is the upadana of the slave Punna.
After offering his share of rice,
he prayed for abundance of food
and rebirth as the slave of the same family!
It never occurred to him
to pray for rebirth as a king or a merchant;
his attachment to his masters and mistresses was so strong
that he wanted only to be their slave hereafter.
The paccekabuddha blessed them and departed.
By means of his psychic power
they saw him fly back to the Himalayas
and share the food with five hundred other fellow buddhas.
On that very day, the merchant and his family
found their acts of dana bearing fruit wonderfully.
They found the rice pot full of rice.
They ate to their hearts' content,
but the pot was always full of rice.
They found their granaries, too, overflowing with grains.
Their prayers were fulfilled in the lifetime of the Buddha-Gotama
for they became members of the same household
in Baddiya, a city of the Magadha country.
The news of the fulfilment of their prayers
was so unusual and amazing
that the king made an inquiry through a minister
and found that it was indeed true.
This story is mentioned in Vinaya pitaka."
From: A Discourse on Paticcasamuppada
Or The Doctrine of Dependent Origination
By Venerable Mahasi Sayadaw
Translated by U Aye Maung
Published by U Min Swe
Buddhasasana Nuggaha Organization