Standing thus, he addressed the Exalted One in verse: "Many deities and men, yearning after good, have pondered on blessings. 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 loathe more evil and abstain from it, to refrain from intoxicants,  and to be steadfast in virtue — this is the greatest blessing.
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Each group reflects the personal and spiritual evolution of each individual, and the qualities needed for further progress. This teaching is thus a very detailed guide for individual development. It is set out in a logical and well structured sequence such that each group of blessings helps to lay the foundations for further blessings. This is the main purpose and objective of the Mangala Sutta.
Part 1: The Essential Blessings: 1. To avoid the company of fools 2. To associate with the wise 3. To live in a suitable place 5. To have done good deeds in the past 6. To be on the right path The Essential Blessings consists of the most basic and fundamental qualities that everyone should have. The elements of this group must be established to obtain both worldly and spiritual progress.
They are not concerned with basic morality as they do not care very much about the consequences of their actions.
By associating unmindfully with such people, it will be difficult to make any kind of material or spiritual progress as there is always the tendency to behave in a similar manner. Furthermore, there will be hardly any desire or motivation to do good deeds or improve oneself. However, we must be prepared to lend assistance if it is needed and also help others to improve themselves. Thus we should not totally avoid the fools.
What is important is that we remain mindful at all times and never allow ourselves to be adversely influenced by them. They are aware that their actions have consequences on not only their present life, but in their future lives too. They discourage wrong-doing and encourage doing good deeds.
We should always try to associate with such upright and virtuous people as proper friendships are of absolute importance in our lives, no matter what stage of progress we have reached. We can respect them materially or through our conduct. By giving them due respect and honour, we can benefit from their guidance and continue to learn from them. Materially, it means a peaceful place where life and property are reasonably secure. Spiritually, it means a place and time where the teachings of the Buddha are known, and where one is able to learn and practice the teachings in peace.
The blessing of living in a suitable place allows for both material and spiritual progress. For example, if we had helped many people in the past, it is likely that when we require help ourselves, we will have the aid of some of the people whom we had previously helped.
In the same way, if we continue to help others now, it is likely that in the future we will have the assistance of someone we had just helped. Thus, we must continue doing good deeds for the future. It is a twin blessing to have done good deeds in the past, and to be able to continue to do good deeds for the future.
The wrong path is that of immorality, greed and ignorance. The right path is that of virtue, generosity and wisdom. It is thus a great blessing to know the right path, and to set oneself on this path of material and spiritual progress. Part 2: The Supporting Blessings: 7.
To have a good education 8. To be proficient at work 9. To follow a code of discipline To practice pleasant speech To support our parents To take care of our spouse and children To have occupations which do not cause harm This group of blessings relate to our preparations for adult and family life and are the factors necessary for a successful, balanced and wholesome material life. Having these Supporting Blessings allows for further progress towards higher ideals.
To have a good education This refers to both a general as well as a moral education. To be proficient at work We must be able to support ourselves and our family and in order to do so, we have to be able to earn a decent living. We must have the necessary skills and qualifications and apply them properly to our work. Being able to earn a proper living, and not having to struggle to survive or resort to dishonesty or crime, is essential for both material and spiritual advancement.
To follow a code of discipline Observing the Five Precepts strengthens our resolve and ability to avoid immoral and harmful actions. Following such a code of discipline will keep us from the trouble and difficulties that such negative actions eventually bring.
The Five Precepts 1. To abstain from killing any living beings. To abstain from taking what is not given. To abstain from sexual misconduct. To abstain from lying and false speech. To abstain from the abusive consumption of intoxicants and drugs. To practice pleasant speech Speech is our main form of interaction with others in society. If we were to always lie, gossip, scold or speak ill of others, we will have many enemies and people will dislike and distrust us.
This will hinder greatly the material and spiritual progress we hope to achieve. We should thus always speak what is true, meaningful, pleasant and beneficial for the good of ourselves and others too. To support our parents Our parents brought us into this world and cared for us from birth.
It is only the most heartless and uncaring individuals who will not help their own parents. We must show gratitude by supporting them materially and physically when it is required, and by always returning their love and care. The Buddha said that the only way we can ever fully repay our parents is to share and instil them in the Dhamma.
To take care of our spouse and children Although this seems obvious enough, there are people who do not fulfil this basic duty towards their families. We must support and remain faithful to our spouse, and provide for our children with material needs, parental support and a good education. This would include the crucial duty of teaching them the Dhamma for their own long-lasting peace and happiness.
Taking proper care of our family means that we have a household with peace and harmony and is another important factor necessary for spiritual development. To have occupations which do not cause harm According to the Noble Eightfold Path, we should avoid occupations that involve killing, the sale of animal flesh, the trading of humans, weapons, poisons and intoxicants.
Occupations which are unethical, immoral and illegal should also be avoided. Engaging in any work which causes harm to others will never allow anyone the true peace of mind essential for spiritual development. It is thus a great blessing if we can earn a living by means which are free from unwholesome activities. You might also like.
Sutras – Mangala sutta
Four Discourses of the Buddha The Discourse on Blessings  This famous text, cherished highly in all Buddhist lands, is a terse but comprehensive summary of Buddhist ethics, individual and social. 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. Here in this sutta we find family morality expressed in most elegant verses. We can imagine the happy blissful state household life fattained as a result of following these injunctions. Tachibana, Colombo , Bauddha Sahitya Sabha. Maha-Mangala Sutta Thus have I heard.
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