Saturday, October 26, 2013

Spirituality: 10 things to make you happier

Narada Thera (trans), Dhr. Seven, Amber Larson, Wisdom Quarterly, Great Mangala Sutta, "Discourse on Blessings" (Sn 2.4; Khp 5) from Everyman's Ethics (BPS Wheel 14)
"Those who abide in this way ever remain invincible and established in happiness."
Deva full of splendor visits the forest grove
SAVATTHI, ancient India - Thus have I heard. Once upon a time a being of light, who illuminated the entire Jeta Grove around Anathapindika's monastery where the Buddha was staying, came to ask a question. 
The night was far spent, and this deva of surpassing splendor came before the Exalted One, saluted him, and respectfully stood to one side. He addressed the Exalted One in verse:
"Many devas and humans, yearning after good, have pondered happiness. [Commentary: mangala, or "blessings," means what is conducive to happiness and prosperity.] Tell me, what leads to the greatest blessing!"

(Treasures of Wisdom/earth-spirit/
[The Buddha answered the deva's question in 10 ways:] 1. "Not to associate with fools, to associate with the wise, to honor those worthy of honor — this is the greatest blessing.
2. To reside in a suitable place [not too noisy, crowded, or distracting, where good people are bent on the performance of the Ten Meritorious Deeds*, and where the Dharma exists as a living principle], to have made merit [profitable karma, good deeds] beforehand, and to set oneself in the right course [making the resolve to abandon immorality for virtue, doubt for confidence, selfishness for generosity] — this is the greatest blessing.
  • *10 Wholesome Actions (kusala-kammapatha) in thought, word, deed: freeing the mind/heart of greed, anger, wrong views; avoiding speech that is untruthful, slanderous, abusive, or frivolous; avoiding killing, stealing, sexual misconduct.
3. To have much learning, to be skilled [in harmless crafts], well-trained in discipline [self-discipline in thought, word, and deed. Commentary: there are two kinds of discipline — that of the householder, which is abstaining from ten unwholesome actions and that of the monastic, which is the non-transgression of the offenses enumerated in the Path to Liberation (patimokkha, the monastic code)], and to be of good speech [speaking what is opportune, truthful, friendly, profitable, and uttered with thoughts of loving-kindness] — this is the greatest blessing.

4. To support mother and father, to cherish spouse and children, and to be engaged in a harmless livelihood — this is the greatest blessing.
5. To be generous in giving, to be upright in conduct, to help one's relatives, and to be blameless in action — this is the greatest blessing.
6. To be averse to any more unwholesomeness and to abstain from it, to refrain from intoxicants, and to be steadfast in virtue — this is the greatest blessing.
7. To be respectful, humble, contented, grateful, and to listen to the Dharma on suitable occasions [such as when one is harassed by unwholesome thoughts] — this is the greatest blessing.
8. To be patient and behaved, to associate with inspiring teachers [ascetics], and to have uplifting discussions on suitable occasions — this is the greatest blessing.
9. Self-restraint [suppressing greed and aversion by guarding the senses, abandoning indolence by rousing energy], a wholesome and beneficial life, the perception of the Four Noble Truths [which represent Buddhism in a nutshell], and the realization of nirvana — this is the greatest blessing.
10. A heart/mind undisturbed by good and ill fortune [loka-dhamma: "worldly things," conditions connected with this world, such as these eight: gain and loss, honor and dishonor, praise and blame, pain and joy], from sorrow freed, from defilements cleansed, from fear liberated — this is the greatest blessing.
  • Each of these three expressions refers to the mind of a fully enlightened individual: sorrowless, stainless (free of lust, hate, delusion), security from the bonds of sensual cravings, rebirth, wrong views, and ignorance.
Those who abide in this way ever remain invincible and established in happiness. These are life's greatest blessings."

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