Discourse on the Greatest Blessings
(Maha Mangala Sutta, Suttanipata, 258-269)

Introduction: This famous text, cherished highly in all Buddhist lands, is a terse but comprehensive summary of Buddhist ethics, individual and social. The thirty-eight blessings enumerated in it, are an unfailing guide on life's journey. Rightly starting with "avoidance of bad company" which is basic to all moral and spiritual progress, the Blessings culminate in the achievement of a passion-free mind, unshakable in its serenity. To follow the ideals set forth in these verses, is the sure way to harmony and progress for the individual as well as for society, nation and mankind. (Narada Maha Thera)

Thus have I heard. On one occasion the Exalted One was dwelling at Anathapindika's monastery, in Jeta's Grove, near Savatthi. Now when the night was far spent, a certain deity whose surpassing splendour illuminated the entire Jeta Grove, came to the presence of the Exalted One and, drawing near, respectfully saluted him and stood at one side. Standing thus, he addressed the Exalted

One in verse:

"Many deities and men,
yearning after good,
have pondered on blessings.
Pray, tell me the greatest blessing!"

(The Exalted One answered:)
"Not to associate with the foolish,
but to associate with the wise;
and to honour those who are worthy of honour
-- This is the greatest blessing.

"To reside in a suitable locality,
to have done meritorious actions in the past
and to set oneself in the right course
-- This is the greatest blessing.

"To have much learning,
to be skillful in handicraft,
well-trained in discipline,
and to be of good speech
-- This is the greatest blessing.

"To support mother and father,
to cherish wife and children,
and to be engaged in peaceful occupation
-- This is the greatest blessing.

"To be generous in giving,
to be righteous in conduct,
to help one's relatives,
and to be blameless in action
-- This is the greatest blessing.

"To loathe more evil and abstain from it,
to refrain from intoxicants,
and to be steadfast in virtue
-- This is the greatest blessing.

"To be respectful, humble,
contented and grateful;
and to listen to the Dhamma
on due occasions
-- This is the greatest blessing.

"To be patient and obedient,
to associate with monks
and to have religious discussions
on due occasions
-- This is the greatest blessing.

"Self-restraint, a holy and chaste life,
the perception of the Noble Truths
and the realisation of Nibbana
-- This is the greatest blessing.

"A mind unruffled by the vagaries of fortune,
from sorrow freed, from defilements cleansed,
from fear liberated
-- This is the greatest blessing.

"Those who thus abide,
ever remain invincible,
in happiness established.
These are the greatest blessings."

(based on the English translation by Narada Maha Thera)

Source:  www.budsas.org   Jun 5, 2006


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