Monday, July 7, 2008

Life's Highest Blessings (Mangala Sutra)

Mangala means a "lucky sign," a mark of good fortune. The Mangala Sutra, the "Discourse on Life's Highest Blessings," is enormously popular because of its wide range of teachings -- outlining thirty-eight of life's highest blessings -- within a few memorable verses.
Thus have I heard. Once, while the Blessed One was staying in the vicinity of Savatthi, in Jeta's Grove, in Anathapindika's monastery, a certain deity, whose surpassing brilliance and beauty illumined the entire Jeta Grove, late one night came into the presence of the Blessed One. Having come and saluted him, he stood to one side and spoke to him reverently in verse:
I. Many deities and human beings
Have pondered the blessings
They hope will bring them safety:
Declare to them, Sir, the highest blessing.
(To this the Blessed One replied):

II. With fools no company keeping,
With the wise ever consorting,
To the worthy homage paying:
This is the highest blessing.
III. A congenial place to dwell,
In the past merits made,
One self-directed well:
This is the highest blessing.

IV. Ample learning, in crafts able,
With well-trained discipline,
Well-spoken words, civility:
This is the highest blessing.
V. Mother and father supporting,
Spouse and children duly cherishing,
Type of work unconflicting:
This is the highest blessing.

VI. Free in giving, rightly living,
Kith and kin supporting,
Blameless actions pursuing:
This is the highest blessing.

VII. From all bad abstaining,
From besotting drinks refraining,
Diligence in Dharma doing:
This is the highest blessing.

VIII. Right reverence and humility
Contentment and a grateful bearing,
Hearing Dharma when it's timely:
This is the highest blessing.

IX. Patience, meekness when corrected,
Seeing monastics then discussing
The Dharma when it's timely:
This is the highest blessing.

X. Self-restraint and higher living,
The Four Noble Truths seeing,
Realization of Nirvana:
This is the highest blessing.

XI. Though touched by worldly circumstances,
Never one's mind is wavering,
Sorrowless, stainless, and secure:
This is the highest blessing.

XII. Since by acting in this way,
They are everywhere unvanquished,
And everywhere they go in safety:
Theirs are the highest blessings.
Here ends the discourse on blessings.
See detailed explanation by Dr. R.L. Soni here.

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