...And shortly after this, the government collapsed due to fiscal irresponsibility.Then King Mahasudassana thought: "Suppose I were to construct lotus-ponds between the palm-trees, a hundred bow lengths apart. And he did so. The lotus-ponds were lined with four-colored tiles, gold, silver, beryl and crystal, each pond between approached by four staircases, one gold, one silver, one beryl and one crystal. And the gold staircase had gold posts with silver railings and banisters, the silver had silver posts with gold railings and banisters, and so on. And the lotus-ponds were provided with two kinds of parapet, gold and silver - the gold parapets having gold posts, silver railings and banisters, and the silver parapets having silver posts, gold railings, and banisters.
Then the King thought: "Suppose I were to provide each pond with suitable flowers for garlands - blue, yellow, red and white lotuses which will last through all seasons without fading?" And he did so. Then he thought: "Suppose I were to place bathmen on the banks of these ponds, to bathe those who come there?" And he did so. Then he thought: "Suppose I were to establish charitable posts on the banks of these ponds, so that those who want food can get it, those who want drink can get it, those who want a wife can get one, and those who want gold coin can get it?" And he did so.
Seriously, does this seem skillful to ANYONE? Look at the situation from the standpoint of the bathman who has to just sit out in the woods all day, waiting to give any strangers that come by a bath.
The sutta continues:
The suttas do not depict any realistic economic or political conditions... at least, not any conditions that are comparable to our current world. The government can't just fund limitless social welfare and expect the revenue to keep coming, nor are any politicians as humble and honest as King Mahasudassana.Then the Brahmins and householders took great wealth and went to the King, saying: "Sire, here is wealth that we have gathered together especially for Your Majesty, please accept it!" "Thank you, friends, but I have enough wealth from legitimate revenues. Let this be yours, and take away more besides!"
With metta ,