တရားေတာ္မ်ား ကို Media Stream ေအာက္က အကြက္မ်ား ကို ႏိွပ္၍ ျပန္လည္နာယူႏိုင္ပါသည္

Search This Blog

Loading...

Saturday, December 26, 2009

38 Highest Blessings in Life ( Mangala Sutta )

1. To avoid the company of fools
2. To associate with the wise
3. To honour those who are worthy of honour
4. To live in a suitable place
5. To have done good deeds in the past
6. To be on the right path
7. To have a good education
8. To be proficient at work
9. To follow a code of discipline
10. To practice pleasant speech
11. To support our parents
12. To take care of our spouse and children
13. To have occupations which do not cause harm
14. To be charitable
15. To practice virtuous conduct
16. To be of help to relatives and friends
17. To do social services
18. To abstain from evil
19. To have no desire for evil
20. To refrain from intoxicants
21. To be diligent in wholesome practice
22. To have reverence
23. To be humble
24. To be content
25. To be grateful
26. To hear the Dhamma at the right time
27. To have patience
28. To listen to advice
29. To associate with monks and spiritual teachers
30. To discuss and talk about the Dhamma
31. To practice self-restraint
32. To live according to the Noble Eight-Fold Path
33. To understand the Four Noble Truths
34. To attain Nibbana
35. To be unaffected by worldly conditions
36. To be free from sorrow
37. To be free from defilements
38. To have lasting peace and security


1. To avoid the company of fools

Fools are people who are unable to tell right from wrong, and as a result cause harm to others through their actions. 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. This blessing is right at the top of the Buddha’s list and is clearly the single most important blessing for any individual to have, because without this blessing there will be none to follow.

2. To associate with the wise

The wise are those who have acquired the wisdom to tell right from wrong and thus avoid causing harm to others. 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.

3. To respect those who are worthy of respect
Our parents, elders and teachers are the people we should honour and respect. 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.

4. To live in a suitable place

A suitable place has both a material and spiritual meaning. 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.

5. To have done good deeds in the past

We are continually reaping the results of our past actions. 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.

6. To be on the right path

Most people do not even know that they are on the wrong path, much less being aware of the right path that they should take. 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.

7. To have a good education

This refers to both a general as well as a moral education. A good general education is essential for our material welfare and a good moral education, such as learning the Buddha’s teachings, is important for our spiritual welfare.

8. 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.

9. 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.
2. To abstain from taking what is not given.
3. To abstain from sexual misconduct.
4. To abstain from lying and false speech.
5. To abstain from the abusive consumption of intoxicants and drugs.

10. 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.

11. 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 encourage them to practice the Dhamma.

12. 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.

13. 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.

14. To be charitable

Greed, craving and excessive attachment are causes of misery and suffering. By practicing charity, we weaken these negative traits and instead cultivate compassion, generosity and selflessness. We can help others materially through our efforts or donations, or spiritually by sharing the Dhamma. Charity should be practiced without regret, discrimination or ulterior motives. Genuine kindness to others brings much love and goodwill for ourselves and also for our family. It is a great blessing to be in the fortunate position of being able to help others. And by doing so we ensure ourselves of more blessings in the future too.

15. To practice virtuous conduct

Instead of just following a code of discipline and avoiding negative actions, we can go on to a higher level of practice. A good way of doing this is to observe the positive aspects of the Five Precepts. This will lead to even greater spiritual progress.
The Five Positive Precepts
1. The practice of harmlessness and compassion.
2. The practice of kindness and generosity.
3. The practice of faithfulness and responsibility.
4. The practice of truthfulness and pleasant speech.
5. The practice of self-control and mindfulness.

16. To be of help to relatives and friends

Beyond providing for our immediate family, we should also help our relatives and friends if they are in need. As we provide assistance to one another when the need arises, we create goodwill among the people around us, and this further supports our spiritual progress.

17. To do social services

An even higher expression of generosity would be to assist the community in general. This can be done by helping to build, or making donations towards the building of schools, hospitals, shelters, roads, etc. which are of benefit to everyone. Even the planting of gardens and trees can improve our environment and the ecology of our planet. Just as important is extending our help to the needy, sick and old. If we have the inclination and the means for any kind of social services, we are indeed blessed as we have already developed much generosity and compassion.

18. To abstain from evil

Evil in the Buddhist context means any act which harms ourselves, others, or both. We should always abstain from all such negative actions.

The Ten Unwholesome Actions

The three bodily actions of :
1. Killing
2. Stealing
3. Sexual misconduct

The four verbal actions of :

4. Lying
5. Slandering
6. Harsh speech
7. Gossip

The three mental actions of :

8. Covetousness
9. Ill-will
10. Wrong view (eg. not accepting kamma and rebirth)

19. To have no desire for evil

When we have become firm in observing the Five Precepts and abstaining from the Ten Unwholesome Actions, we will find that we no longer have the desire to commit any of these harmful actions. We begin to truly realize that as we ourselves do not wish to be victims of such harmful actions, we should thus avoid doing such actions to others. It is a great blessing to naturally shy away from doing any harm to others.

20. To refrain from intoxicants

The Buddha emphasized this point in many teachings, and as one of the Five Precepts, it is the one that 'protects' the other four Precepts. He strongly advised against taking intoxicants because once we come under their influence, we become capable of committing any harmful acts that we would otherwise not have done. It would be a great waste to have come this far in our personal development only to have it all go to ruin because of drinking or drugs. Avoiding intoxicants is another great blessing.

21. To be diligent in wholesome practice

We have understood and now follow what is required for our personal development. The next step is to consolidate our practice and not let it deteriorate because of carelesness, or slip away because of complacency. We should continue to be mindful of keeping up and enhancing our wholesome practices even more. By practicing the Ten Wholesome Actions, we will then find it much easier to go on to the Higher Blessings.

The Ten Wholesome Actions

The three bodily actions of :

1. Compassion
2. Generosity
3. Self-control

The four verbal actions of :

4. Truthful speech
5. Kind speech
6. Pleasant speech
7. Meaningful speech

The three mental actions of :

8. Sympathetic joy
9. Loving-kindness
10. Right view

22. To have reverence

We can show reverence to the Triple Gem of the Buddha, Dhamma and Sangha by reflecting on their sublime qualities. Having reverence for elders, monks and spiritual teachers allows for our continued learning and guidance. We can show our reverence by respectful behaviour and careful attendance to them. In addition, showing reverence to the Buddha helps to put us in a good state of mind to learn and practice the Dhamma. Practicing reverence also increases our humility and gratitude.

23. To be humble

Some who have succeeded in making good progress may start to believe that they already know everything and are better than everyone else. If this happens, it becomes difficult to maintain the right attitude and an open mind to learn from others and accept deeper teachings. Here the Buddha reminds us that pride and conceit are two of the biggest obstacles to sustained spiritual development. It is therefore a great blessing to always remain humble.

24. To be content

Different people have different requirements in life and being content does not mean that we should not work hard or strive to improve ourselves. While material things are necessary for survival and comfort, the key is knowing when one has enough. There are many with immense fortunes who are unhappy because they think they still do not have enough wealth. The wise realize that the constant desire to fulfil material cravings is like drinking salt water to satisfy thirst, and this inevitably leads to dissatisfaction, frustration and suffering. To have found our own level of contentment is to have found true peace of mind. Contentment is the greatest wealth.

25. To be grateful

It is said that in this world, there are few who will go out of their way to help another. Even fewer still are those who are grateful for the help given to them. Gratitude is usually accompanied by thanks and appreciation, and also by the desire to return any favours done. All this leads to reciprocal kindness and goodwill, and brings even more blessings in the future too.

26. To hear the Dhamma at the right time

Any time is the right time to read or listen to the Dhamma. However, a good time would be when we are troubled, upset or in doubt. This brings calm, assurance and confidence when we need it the most. Not everyone has the opportunity or the means to be able to hear and learn the Dhamma. We should try to always be in touch with it and not let this great blessing go to waste.

27. To have patience

It is said that patience is the highest virtue, and it is certainly one of the most difficult qualities to attain. We will always be subject to changing conditions and the vagaries of the people around us. Most of these things are beyond our control and if we allow ourselves to be overly affected by them, we will suffer unnecessary stress, unhappiness and anger. We also need to be patient with ourselves when we make mistakes or slip back on the spiritual path, and to keep on trying our best. Patience is a great blessing as it leads to forbearance, forgiveness and tolerance. It allows us to be calm and serene, and to maintain a cool head and a clear mind in any situation.

28. To listen to advice

Many people find it very difficult to listen to advice, much less accept criticism or have their faults and mistakes pointed out to them. However, we cannot acquire deeper knowledge and make true progress if pride and stubbornness stand in our way. Openness, acceptance and humility when corrected are necessary because we are not perfect and always have more to learn from others.

29. To associate with monks and spiritual teachers

Meeting such people gives us the opportunity to learn from them and to derive encouragement and inspiration from their wisdom and serenity. It also reminds us that there is more to this world than just the sensual and material, and shows us that there are many who are already well on the spiritual path.

Being with such people should motivate us to practice the Four Brahmaviharas, also known as the Four Heavenly Abodes because cultivating these noble qualities will bring our minds to a spiritual and heavenly state.

The Four Brahmaviharas

1. Loving-kindness
2. Compassion
3. Sympathetic joy
4. Equanimity

30. To discuss and talk about the Dhamma

To further support the blessing of hearing and learning the Dhamma is to discuss and talk about it. By doing so, we have the blessing of associating with spiritual friends who are on the same path as ourselves. We also have the opportunity to share what we have learned with others and continue to increase our knowledge and understanding of the Buddha’s teachings. In this way, we are frequently in touch with the Dhamma and this is the factor that leads directly to the Supreme Blessings.

31. To practice self-restraint

We have now entered the highest stage where a greater effort is needed for further progress. We should no longer be easily swayed by sensual desires or physical discomforts. We must train ourselves to remain focused on the path. The most basic way is by the strict observance of the Five Precepts, or better still by observing the Eight Precepts. For many practicing Buddhists, it is a tradition to observe the Eight Precepts on new and full moon days, but they can be observed on other days as well.

A good way of training ourselves in self-restraint is to attend meditation retreats where we can practice the Eight Precepts over an extended period of time. This also allows us to lead a simple life of voluntary austerity, providing us the mental and bodily discipline to follow closely to the Eight-Fold Path. Meditation, particularly Vipassana or Insight Meditation, also trains us in the best way of self-restraint, which is constant mindfulness.
The Eight Precepts

1. To abstain from killing any living beings.
2. To abstain from taking what is not given.
3. To abstain from sexual activity.
4. To abstain from lying and false speech.
5. To abstain from the consumption of intoxicants and drugs.
6. To abstain from eating after noon.
7. To abstain from singing, dancing, music, shows, perfume, cosmetics and decorative accessories.
8. To abstain from using high or luxurious seats or beds.

32. To live according to the Noble Eight-Fold Path

At this level of spiritual maturity, this blessing does not simply mean a superficial observance of the Eight-Fold Path. At this level, it means a serious and mindful adherence to each and every factor of the Path. All the previous blessings are the preparations for us to follow this path with determination and diligence. The Eight-Fold Path can be summarized into its three aspects of sila (morality), samadhi (mental development), and panna (wisdom).

The Noble Eight-Fold Path
Morality group

1. Right Speech

To refrain from lying, slander, harsh words and gossip. To cultivate truthful,
peaceful, kind and meaningful speech.

2. Right Action

To abstain from killing, stealing and sexual misconduct. To cultivate
harmlessness, honesty and faithfulness.

3. Right Livelihood

To avoid occupations involving killing (of both humans and animals), the sale of animal flesh, the trading of humans, weapons, poisons and intoxicants.
Occupations which are unethical, immoral and illegal should also be avoided.
Mental development group

4. Right Effort

To apply mental discipline to prevent unwholesome thoughts from arising, and to
dispel unwholesome thoughts that have arisen. To develop wholesome thoughts,
and to maintain those wholesome thoughts that have arisen.

5. Right Mindfulness

To be aware of the body, and bodily postures and sensations. To be aware of
the mind and its thoughts, emotions and feelings.

6. Right Concentration

To practice meditation to train the mind to be focused and disciplined in order to cultivate and acquire wisdom.

Wisdom group

7. Right Understanding

To understand and accept the Four Noble Truths.

8. Right Thought

To cultivate thoughts of generosity, loving-kindness and compassion.

33. To understand the Four Noble Truths

By following the Eight-Fold Path, true understanding of the Four Noble Truths will arise. This is different from academic knowledge based on studies, or understanding coming from mere thinking. It is the deep and experiential realization of the truths of reality and existence, arising from the careful practice of morality, mental development and wisdom.

Each aspect of the Eight-Fold Path supports the cultivation and development of the other aspects. For example, observing morality is the foundation necessary for mental development, which leads to wisdom. Wisdom enables us to see the benefits of morality, which we will be more attentive in observing.

A higher standard of morality allows for a greater level of mental development which results in an even deeper penetration of wisdom. And this cycle of spiritual growth continues as an upward spiral towards true understanding of the Four Noble Truths and the eventual attainment of Nibbana.

The Four Noble Truths

1. All beings are subject to Dukkha

Dukkha is usually translated as suffering but it actually encompasses a wide range of negative feelings including stress, dissatisfaction and physical suffering.

Dukkha exists as all beings are subject to illness, separation from loved ones,
not getting their desires, aging and death.

2. Dukkha arises from desire and craving

All beings crave pleasant sensations, and also desire to avoid unpleasant
sensations. These sensations can be physical or psychological, and dukkha
arises when these desires and cravings are not met.
3. Dukkha can be overcome by the elimination of desire and craving
Nibbana is the state of peace where all greed, hatred and delusion, and thereby
dukkha, have been eradicated.

4. There is a way out of dukkha, which is the Noble Eightfold Path
Dukkha can be reduced, weakened and finally eradicated and Nibbana thereby
attained, by following this path as taught by the Buddha.


34. To attain Nibbana

All of us are capable of attaining Nibbana. We may not get enlightened straight away but it is possible for us to attain a level from which Nibbana is assured. Enlightenment is not necessarily realized suddenly or completely. For most people, it will come in gradual stages.

There are four stages leading to enlightenment which are Stream-Entering, Once-Returning, Non-Returning and Full Enlightenment. Anyone who has attained the first three stages can advance to higher stages depending on their practice. To attain full enlightenment, ten fetters or obstructions, must be overcome.
The Ten Fetters

1. Belief that nothing survives the body after death, at one extreme.
Or belief in a permanent unchanging entity (immortal soul) that survives after
death, at the other extreme. *
2. Sceptical or irrational doubts regarding the teachings of the Buddha,
in particular the teachings on kamma and rebirth.

3. Belief that one can be purified through sacrifices, rituals or ceremonies.

4. Attachment to sense pleasures.

5. Anger and ill-will.

6. Desiring existence in a fine-material realm (a heavenly existence).

7. Desiring existence in a formless realm (an even more refined heavenly

existence).

8. Conceit and pride.

9. Restlessness and discontent.

10. Ignorance and delusion.

* This should not be confused with the delusion of self which is completely
overcome only by Arahants when they attain full enlightenment.

Stream-Enterers are those who have at most seven more lifetimes to go before attaining full enlightenment. They have ‘entered the stream’ to Nibbana. During their remaining lives, they will be reborn only in the human or a heavenly realm, and never in a lower realm. Stream-Enterers have eradicated the first three fetters. However, they still have a long way to go as they have yet to weaken the next two fetters (4 & 5) or fully eradicate all the remaining fetters.

A characteristic of Stream-Enterers is that they observe the Five Precepts strictly but easily, and are extremely averse to committing harmful actions of any kind. Their other characteristic is an unshakeable confidence in the Buddha, the Dhamma and the (noble) Sangha. These characteristics may have arisen naturally, possibly carried over from a past life, or developed in the present life through the serious practice of the Eight-Fold Path.

Once-Returners will have only one more life in the human or a heavenly realm before attaining full enlightenment. They have eradicated the first three fetters and weakened, but not yet completely eradicated the next two (4 & 5). Non-Returners will have a final life in a very high and refined heavenly realm and will gain full enlightenment in that realm. They have eradicated the first five fetters. Arahants have successfully eradicated all ten fetters and have become fully enlightened. They have freed themselves from rebirth and attained Nibbana.
All of us should strive hard to become at least Stream-Enterers. It is well within the reach of all sincere Buddhists, whether they are monks, nuns or lay people, who accept and have confidence in the Dhamma and live according to the Eight-Fold Path. With commitment and sincerity, it is very much achievable in the present life. Attaining Nibbana then becomes just a matter of time.

The Fruits of the Path
The following are the Fruits of the Path, or the Supreme Blessings attained by the enlightened. While we may not yet be able to achieve all the following blessings in full, we will be able to at least experience and taste these Fruits of the Path to Nibbana. Having had even a small taste of Nibbana will encourage us to strive on.

35. To be unaffected by worldly conditions
There will always be changes in our lives, some which cause happiness while others bring sadness. It is the nature of existence that change is always taking place and the changes relating to our lives are always fluctuating between extremes. Realizing the ever-changing nature of our existence and practicing equanimity enables one to be unaffected by these worldly conditions.

The Eight Worldly Conditions

Gain and loss
Honour and disgrace
Praise and blame
Pleasure and pain

36. To be free from sorrow

Sorrow, distress, grief and worry are part of our lives and stem from clinging and attachment to the things we desire and love. The enlightened realize the truth of impermanence that whatever arises must also one day cease to exist. By facing this truth directly and understanding it, one will be free from sorrow.

37. To be free from defilements
 The defilements of greed, hatred and delusion are the root causes of all suffering and unsatisfactoriness. Even the most subtle aspects of the defilements should be eradicated. These subtle aspects include desire and clinging, aversion and irritation, and disinterest and ignorance. The enlightened are totally free from all of these defilements.

38. To have lasting peace and security

Unlike the ever-changing and unsatisfactory nature of our mundane existence, the peace and happiness of Nibbana is permanent. Even the slightest taste of Nibbana can never be lost. Thus to have attained Nibbana is to have attained the ultimate blessing of perfect peace and absolute security.

In Summary :
For those who abide by this teaching,

They will have established complete safety,

And attained unending happiness wherever they are.

These are the 38 Highest Blessings.

2 comments:

  1. အရမ္းေကာင္းပါတယ္ဗ်ာ။ အဂၤလိပ္ဘာသာနဲ႔ပါသိရေတာ႔ ပိုေကာင္းတာေပါ့
    ေနာက္ထပ္ရွိေသးရင္ထပ္တင္ေပးပါခင္ဗ်ာ။

    ေက်းဇူးတင္လ်က္
    ထူးသက္ေဇာ္
    ့htoothetzaw20@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete