Introduction A Eva. The history behind this short sentence is as follows. Some three months after the final Nibbaana of the Buddha, when King Ajaatasattu had been on the throne already for about eight years, the First Great Council was held under royal patronage at the Sattapanni Cave in Raajagaha, the capital, where arahants assembled to recite, classify and group together the Teachings of the Master. Venerable Mahaa Kassapa presided, while the Venerables Upaali and AAnanda rehearsed the Vinaya monastic discipline and the suttas or discourses respectively. The Council finished its work after seven months during which time they arranged the entire Teachings of the Master, that is, the collections of the Vinaya rules and the suttas.

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Introduction A Eva. The history behind this short sentence is as follows. Some three months after the final Nibbaana of the Buddha, when King Ajaatasattu had been on the throne already for about eight years, the First Great Council was held under royal patronage at the Sattapanni Cave in Raajagaha, the capital, where arahants assembled to recite, classify and group together the Teachings of the Master. Venerable Mahaa Kassapa presided, while the Venerables Upaali and AAnanda rehearsed the Vinaya monastic discipline and the suttas or discourses respectively.

The Council finished its work after seven months during which time they arranged the entire Teachings of the Master, that is, the collections of the Vinaya rules and the suttas. He prefixed each discourse with the expression "Eva. The Council was held at the capital of Anuraadhapura with its conclusion, the writing down of the Suttas, Vinaya and Abhidhamma, at Aluvihaare. The Council was necessary for safeguarding the texts from loss through invasions, famines, and the whims of kings; also from serious alterations and interpolations by unscrupulous people.

There is a legend that the Tipitaka was inscribed on gold sheets which were said to have been deposited in the rocks at Aluvihaare. Considering the amount of gold which would be needed, this seems very unlikely, though some condensed passages may have been inscribed in this way and enshrined.

As the Venerable AAnanda was a stream-winner [6] who had seen Dhamma himself, as well as being a devoted attendant of the Buddha, his words "Thus have I heard" prefixed to the Mahaa Mangala Sutta, as to most other suttas, invest these texts with the seal of authenticity. B Bhagavaa: As one of the epithets of the Buddha, it occurs frequently in the scriptures meaning "having good luck" i.

It is generally translated as "the Blessed One" or "the Exalted One," though the full meaning of "One who apportions" the Dhamma with the knowledge of what is exactly suitable to them, cannot be conveyed in English. The term "Buddha" itself is not a name but means "the Enlightened One," "the Awakened One" which signifies the zenith of perfection, supreme and final release from all types of existence or being, and the actual attainment of Nibbaana during life.

See also: stanza X on Nibbaana. C Saavatthi, Jetavana, Anaathapi. Sraavasti was an ancient city which is identified with the village of Sahet-mahet in the present-day Indian state of Uttar Pradesh. It was the capital of the powerful kingdom of Kosala in the 6th century B.

The great merchant and benefactor Anaathapi. The monastery was called Anaathapi. Here the Buddha stayed for twenty-four rainy seasons and gave many important discourses. The Mahaa Mangala Sutta is one of them. D Devataa: In Buddhist teachings there are six realms of celestial beings devaloka superior to the human world, which together comprise the "happy states" in the world of sensual desire or kaamaloka.

These beings are of greater or lesser splendor and brilliance and they live very long lives enjoying the happy fruits of their past good kamma. On the expiry of this, however, they gravitate to a rebirth in accordance with their residual merit, for the devas make little new good kamma and can be compared to rich people living on their capital, which will run out sooner or later.

And their new rebirth is not necessarily a better one, it may well be worse and even below the human state. Though short-lived and having a coarse body, man is in a way superior to these celestials, as he can increase his merits by further wholesome actions and can even attain to the highest goal, Nibbaana.

That is why even celestial beings look to the Buddha for guidance and to Noble Ones for assistance. At the time when the Buddha was teaching in India, it is said that not only human beings were divided about what was an omen, what was lucky or auspicious and what were really blessings, but also celestials were confused on the subject.

As no one could decide this matter, an assembly of celestials deputed one of their number to visit the Buddha to get his views to clarify their doubts. There are many stories of heavenly messengers visiting the Buddha. They usually visited him late at night, as the accounts say, "when the night was far spent," or just before dawn.

Sometimes, they visited him in human form and at other times, they went in celestial form. Sometimes the designation "devataa" is even used for forest-dwelling spirits who also visited the Buddha. In this particular case it was a radiant being from a celestial abode whose presence filled the entire grove with splendor, turning the darkest hour of night into more than the brilliance of day.

Materialists may consider such a being to be imagination but there are people with personal experience of such forms of existence. These heavens have other states superior to them, two more spheres, namely the world of subtle form ruupaloka and the formless world aruupaloka.

The former have sixteen realms while in the latter the inhabitants are super-celestial and even longer lived, their life span running into thousands of aeons.

Still, they are also subject to change. These celestial and super-celestial regions together with the human realms and the four subhuman planes or the evil states duggati , in all totaling 31 planes of existence, comprise the range of phenomenal existence termed sa. They are alike too in that all are subject to the same law of impermanence anicca , suffering dukkha and not-self anattaa , the difference being in the quality of their lives, with more or less of happiness and suffering, opportunities for development or lack of them.

These are the fruits of kamma made in past and present lives. All these beings, high and low, are bound by themselves to the incessantly moving wheel of sa. If there were no way out, each individual would go on forever because of intoxication with greed lobha , hatred dosa and delusion moha and so suffering here, suffering there and suffering everywhere — it would have no end.

The way beyond what is marked by impermanence, suffering and non-self was pointed out by the Buddha, who after his supreme awakening to truth, showed the path which leads to the final release of Nibbaana.

Thus each human being has the potential to become an arahant or a Buddha: though not everyone, of course, has golden chances and magnificent opportunities, still, all are capable of raising themselves to some extent, and some to heights far above the range of even the highest gods. It depends on how each person avails himself of the opportunities. The Buddha shows the way: the pilgrim has to walk that way himself.

The Buddha is called the "Light of the Three Worlds" and any of their inhabitants, even the gods, may approach him for everyday guidance or spiritual instruction. Usually people go to the gods or to one of them, God for guidance, but it is the various gods who came to the Buddha with their problems.

Stanza I: "Many deities and human beings The question is put by a deva, the accredited spokesman of the deva-world. The deva presents to the Buddha not only the contentions about "blessings" prevalent in the heavens but also those in the human world, thus covering the seven happy planes sugati of the sensual world kaamaloka , and perhaps more. The points mentioned or implied are: That the inhabitants of the deva and human worlds desired happiness and safety, which was connected, they thought, with what they considered "auspicious" or "lucky.

That their reflection was rooted in a strong desire for personal welfare, safety and subjective happiness. That in spite of their sincere and persistent efforts, they could not agree regarding the real nature of ma"ngalam-uttama. That only the Buddha, the embodiment of Supreme Wisdom, could throw proper light on the subject.

That, therefore, the deva approached the Buddha with the question troubling the human and deva worlds. That the Blessed One was earnestly implored to clearly expound the truth on the subject, for the welfare of gods and men.

From the above, two distinct issues emerge: That happiness in the human and deva worlds leaves much to be desired. That the inhabitants of these planes have an intense desire to attain to perfection of happiness.

In the world of sensual desire, happiness is conditioned by subjective desire, efficiency of the senses and the existence of suitable objects. As all these are subject to incessant change, the consequent happiness of the senses is transient cf. Sensual gratification is in fact a deception, though if it is understood, this may lead to the path of deliverance. This is the escape from sense-desires. But when gratification is not understood, it may intensify desire for sense pleasures, with dissatisfaction, regret or sorrow, which are the danger in them, following sooner or later.

The Buddha has many times spoken about sense-desire, gratification, danger and escape: With these clear facts, one must draw the following conclusions: That in the human and deva worlds beings desire to perfect their happiness. That their happiness, when it is rooted in desire for sensual gratification, can never reach perfection. So happiness in the world of sensual desire is, at best, only relative and therefore subject to constant change.

The Buddha immediately realized both the relative and the supramundane importance of this question concerning the acts of blessedness or true omens. He gave a reply in which both these aspects were thoroughly considered. By reinterpretation the Buddha boldly by-passed the superstitious meaning of the word "mangala," looking at auspiciousness from the practical viewpoint. Beginning his answer in a very down-to-earth way, he gradually described in a steadily rising scale blessings or omens leading higher and higher, finally to the supramundane state of Nibbaana.

Stanza II: "With fools no company keeping One waxes or wanes in good qualities according to whom one associates with. Baala originally meant "children," and hence weak persons and then foolish and stupid people, the opposite of the wise, people with minds undeveloped, those whose behavior is coarse and rough, trouble-makers who tend to give advice which is unwholesome and evil.

They lack discrimination and a sense of judgment, and are heedless of Dhamma, reckless in action and regardless of the consequences. These people are undesirable company. This interpretation of baala does not include children who are on the whole good and graceful.

The emphasis is on keeping away from and not getting entangled with people who, though grown up in years, have none of the graces of children but all their failings and shortcomings; these are the people possessing the characteristics of "fools.

They certainly are very unfortunate, but association with them is not auspicious and their mental and emotional constitution is such that they do not profit from beneficial guidance. Far from gaining anything themselves, they will rather drag even a good man into trouble and danger.

The suttas warn one against companionship with bad people in this way: because of bad company one gives ear to evil advice; because of such advice evil reflections occupy the mind; because of such reflections mental confusion prevails and the senses are uncontrolled; as a result of this, actions of body and speech are faulty and the five hindrances [9] gain strength holding one to sensual cravings and resulting in sufferings.

On the other hand, through companionship with the wise the sequence is: listening to good advice, rational faith, noble thoughts, clear thinking, self-control, good conduct, conquest of the hindrances, gaining of wisdom and the consequent liberation.

It should be said here that while it is essential for an ordinary person to keep away from bad company, one who is advanced in self-control, full of loving-kindness and compassion and thus immune to the evils of such association, may live in the midst of such persons for the noble purpose of leading them to a better understanding while all the time on guard against evil influences. Though his body moves with them, his mind should be beyond their influence. If he is not certain of his own self-control, he should avoid the company of such people.

He may associate with them only when he is sure that his good influence is flowing to them, and not their evil influence to him. The advice of the Buddha is that there should not be any entanglement with fools, from which one can neither extricate oneself nor them. Puujaa and puujaniiyaana. Some people do not like to show respect, or to express reverence, even when it is quite proper to do so in the presence of those who have greater and purer conduct in mind, speech and body, than they have.

Such people suffer from pride, they estimate themselves too highly and do not want to admit that others could have achieved more than themselves. They are, so to speak, "standing in their own light" and they will not be able to see the right way to go. Their pride will only lead them to the strengthening of other defilements of mind, and so they go from bad to worse.

They have shut the door in their own faces and can go no further. And how they quarrel with others! Respectful persons are not like this. They are a pleasure to live and associate with, unlike people with much pride. They not only "fit" well into whatever society they are in, they also have the ability to learn more since they recognize that others know more than they do.


Maṅgala Sutta

This sutta is manhala of the suttas at the preaching of which countless devas were present and countless beings realized the Truth. These are the greatest blessings. After his conversion to Buddhism, he bought the grove belonging to the Prince Jeta, and established a monastery which was subsequently named Jetavana. Suthrayw can imagine the happy blissful state household life fattained as a result of following these injunctions. King [Dutugemnu] once attempted to preach the Mangala Sutta at the Lohapasadabut he was too nervous to proceed. To have it written down in a book is considered an act of great merit.



This is the highest protection. A mind that, when touched by the ways of the world, is unshaken, sorrow-less, dustless, at rest: This is the highest protection. Everywhere undefeated when acting in this way, people go everywhere in well being: This is their highest protection. On arrival there, the deity made an obeisance to the Exalted One and stood on one side.


Thus have I heard. 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, [6] to have done meritorious actions in the past and to set oneself in the right course [7] — this is the greatest blessing. To have much learning, to be skillful in handicraft, [8] well-trained in discipline, [9] and to be of good speech [10] — 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, [12] and to be steadfast in virtue — this is the greatest blessing.

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