A minister named Koliya saw a ghost while travelling in a ship and questioned,
Hey ghost, you move through the river Ganges without creating any ripples in the water. Even though you are naked you are wearing flowers and garlands on the upper part of your body unlike a ghost. Where do you live, and where are you going?
I am going to the village of Cundatthika, located between the city of Vasabha and the province of Benares.
With the intention to help the ghost, the famous minister Koliya donated some food and clothes to a barber who was on the ship, and shared the merit with the ghost. Immediately after the donation was given, the ghost received fine clothes and jewelry.
The ghost appeared wearing beautiful clothes, flowers, and garlands. Since the ghost was fortunate enough to be able to receive the merit, he benefited from it. Therefore, people should share merits with their departed relatives repeatedly.
Some ghosts cover their bodies with ragged clothing and some are covered by their hair. They travel in all directions in search of food. Some ghosts will travel for a very long distance only to come back without gaining anything. They are starving and exhausted, so much so that they would collapse on the ground from their suffering. They suffer as though they are being burned by fire because they did not do good deeds when they were in the human world.
We were evil housewives and mothers in the human world. We had plenty of wealth that we could have used to do good deeds, but we were foolish and did not protect ourselves from dangers in our future lives. We had lots of food and drink but we hid it and did not give anything to good monks. We were very lazy and did not have any desire to collect merit. We spent all our time eating and only desired the enjoyment of luxuries. Even when we did give a very small amount of food, we would insult the receiver while we gave it.
Now the houses, servants, and jewelry we had are no longer with us. They belong to somebody else now. The only thing we have now is suffering.
Even if we are born in the human world again, we will be born in very poor, low class families, struggling with great hardship.
In the human world people like us will be poor basket makers and chariot makers doing inferior, low-paying jobs.
Those who are unselfish and generous will be reborn in heaven, in Nandana Park, where they will shine in all the directions and enjoy themselves with all the divine pleasures in Vejayanta Palace. After passing away from there, they will be reborn as humans in very rich, high-class families.
They will be born in families who have all the world’s comforts and live in multi-story mansions. They will be cooled by fans made of peacock feathers while sitting on a very comfortable couch. As babies they will be treated very well by many nurses. People decorate the babies with flowers and never let them go from their hands.
This type of life is only for those who were generous in their previous lives. These good-doers rejoice in Nandana Park in the Tavatimsa Heaven without any sorrow.
For those who are selfish, there is no happiness now or in the future, while those who are generous will gain happiness now and in their future lives.
Therefore, those who would like to join these gods should collect lots of merit. Truly they are reborn in heaven and will enjoy happiness there for a very long time.