Monday, July 9, 2012

Buddhism by Numbers: 38 Highest Blessings


Ajahn Sumedho has said that he is deeply grateful for so many blessings that he has had in the forty-odd years of his monastic life, including great teachers, the generosity of many laypeople, living with the forest Sangha, and having the opportunity to practice the Dharma. Regarding such blessings, in the Maha Mangala Sutta, the Lord Buddha lists the thirty-eight highest blessings for a Buddhist. We can use this sutta as something to reflect on, realizing how fortunate we are to have those blessings that we do, and contemplate how we can gain those blessings that we do not. Here are the highest blessings, first in Pali, and then in translation:
  1. Bala-asevana – not to associate with fools
  2. Panditasevcana – to associate with the wise
  3. Pujaneyyapuja – honoring those who are honorable
  4. Patirupadesavasa – living in a suitable region for safe practice
  5. Pubbekatapunnata – having done meritorious deeds
  6. Attasammapanidhi – right self-guidance
  7. Bahusacca – Extensive learning
  8. Sippa – knowledge of the arts and sciences
  9. Vinaya – to be highly restrained by a moral code
  10. Subhasitavaca – to be well-spoken
  11. Matapitu-upatthana – to support one’s parents
  12. Puttasangaha – to cherish one’s children
  13. Darasangaha – to cherish one’s wife (or partner)
  14. Anakulakammanta – to make one’s livelihood wholesomely
  15. Dana – to be generous, charitable
  16. Dhammacariya – to behave in line with the Dharma
  17. Natakasangaha – to cherish one’s family
  18. Anavajjakamma – to act blamelessly
  19. Papavirati – abstinence from evil
  20. Majjapanasannama – abstinence from intoxicants
  21. Appamada – heedfulness in the Dharma
  22. Garava – to be respectful
  23. Nivata – to be humble
  24. Santutthi – contentment with what one has
  25. Katannuta- gratitude
  26. Dhammassavana – the opportunity to hear the Dharma
  27. Khanti – patience; forbearance
  28. Sovacassata – easily corrected
  29. Samana-dassana – to see monks and nuns
  30. Dhammasakaccha – the opportunity to discuss the Dharma
  31. Tapa – self-restraint; austerities
  32. Brahmacariya – to live the holy life
  33. Ariyasacca-dassana – to see the Noble Truths
  34. Nibbana-sacchikiriya – to realize nirvana
  35. Akampitacitta – having a mind unshaken by worldly events
  36. Asokacitta – having a mind free from sorrow
  37. Virajacitta – having an undefiled mind
  38. Khemacitta – having a secure mind
The Maha Mangala Sutta concludes with the following utterance of the Buddha:

“Those who live following this path
Know victory wherever they go,
And every place for them is safe.
These are the highest blessings.”

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