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The Discourse on Blessings
Evam me sutaṁ ekaṁ samayaṁ bhagavā sāvatthiyaṁ
viharati jetavane anāthapiṇḍikassa ārāme.
Thus have I heard that on one occasion, the Blessed One was dwelling at
the monastery of Anāthapindika in Jeta’s Grove near Savatthi.
如是我闻 : 一时, 佛在舍卫城，祇树给孤独园。
Athakho aññatarā devatā abhikkantāya rattiyā,
abhikkantavaṇṇā kevalakappaṁ jetavanaṁ obhāsetvā,
yena bhagavā, tenupasaṅkami;
When the night was far spent, a certain deity whose surpassing splendour
illuminated the entire Jeta Grove, came to the presence of the Blessed One,
upasaṅkamitvā bhagavantaṁ abhivādetvā ekamantaṁ aṭṭhāsi.
On approaching, he respectfully saluted the Blessed One and stood to one side.
Ekamantaṁ ṭhitā kho sā devatā bhagavantaṁ gāthāya ajjhabhāsi,
Standing thus, he addressed the Blessed One in verse :
Bahū devā manussā ca maṅgalāni acintayuṁ
Ākaṅkhamānā sotthānaṁ brūhi maṅgalamuttamaṁ.
Many deities and men, have pondered on Blessing and yearning for safety.
Please tell, what are the highest blessings?”
Asevanā ca bālānaṁ paṇḍitānañca sevanā
Pūjā ca pūjanīyānaṁ etammaṅgalamuttamaṁ
” Not to associate with fools, to associate with the wise, and honour those
who are worthy of honour. This is the highest blessing. “
Paṭirūpadesavāso ca pubbe ca katapuññatā
Attasammāpaṇidhi ca etammaṅgalamuttamaṁ
” To live in a suitable locality, to have done meritorious actions in the past,
and to have set oneself on the right course (towards emancipation);
This is the highest blessing.”
Bāhusaccañca sippañca vinayo ca susikkhito
Subhāsitā ca yā vācā etammaṅgalamuttamaṁ.
” Vast-learning, perfect handicraft, a highly trained discipline and
pleasant speech; This is the highest blessing.”
Mātāpitu upaṭṭhānaṁ puttadārassa saṅgaho
Anākulā ca kammantā etammaṅgalamuttamaṁ.
” The support of father and mother, the cherishing of wife and children
and works that brings no conflict; This is the highest blessing.”
Dānañca dhammacariya ca nātakānañca saṅgaho
Anavajjāni kammāni etammaṅgalamuttamaṁ.
“Generosity, righteous conduct, offering help to relatives and blameless
actions. These are the highest blessings.”
Āratī viratī pāpā majjapānā ca saññamo
Appamādo ca dhammesu etammaṅgalamuttamaṁ.
” To cease and abstain from evil, forbearance with respect to intoxicants
and steadfastness in virtue; This is the highest blessing.”
Gāravo ca nivāto ca santuṭṭhī ca kataññutā
Kālena dhammassavanaṁ etammaṅgalamuttamaṁ.
“‘Reverence, humility, contentment, bearing gratitude and opportune
hearing of the Dhamma; This is the highest blessing.”
Khantī ca sovacassatā samaṇānañca dassanaṁ
Kālena dhammasākaccha etammaṅgalamuttamaṁ.
“Patience, being easy to advise, sight of the Samanas (holy men), and
timely discussion of the Dhamma; This is the highest blessing.”
Tapo ca brahmacariyañca ariyasaccāna dassanaṁ
Nibbānasacchikiriyā ca etammaṅgalamuttamaṁ.
“Ardent, living a noble life, realizing the Noble Truths and the attainment
of Nibbāna; This is the highest blessing.”
Phuṭṭhassa lokadhammehi cittaṁ yassa na kampati
Asokaṁ virajaṁ khemaṁ etammaṅgalamuttamaṁ.
“He whose mind does not waver, by contact with worldly contingencies,
sorrowless, stainless and secure; This is the highest blessing..”
Etādisāni katvāna sabbat thama parājitā
Sabbattha sotthiṁ gacchanti tantesaṁ maṅgalamuttamanti.
“They, having fulfilled such as these (action), everywhere undefeated
and in every way secure. This is the highest blessing.”
The Story Behind Mangala Sutta (Discourse on Blessings) 吉祥经
The word “Mangala” literally means “blessings”, “auspicious signs” and “good omen”. Every one including the devas (gods) wants to know what constitutes a “blessing”. For twelve years they argued about it and could not come to an agreement. Some thought that “blessing” refers to what is pleasurable to the senses- things that are pleasing to the eyes, ears, nose, taste and touch, but not all of them are of the same opinion.
The devas of Tavatimsa heaven then approached Sakka, King of Devas, for a solution. Sakka suggested that the Buddha be consulted. Consequently, in the middle of the night, a deva with his retinues, came to visit the Buddha at Jetavana monastery. He asked the Buddha for the meaning of “blessing”. In response, the Buddha delivered a discourse known as Mangala Sutta in which 38 highest blessings are enumerated.
Though the Mangala Sutta was not delivered as protective discourse, all Buddhists hold it high esteem and it is the first sutta to be recited in any paritta recital for a very special reason. Different from the conventional ideas of blessing, these thirty eight blessings are ethical and spiritual in nature. When a person applies them to his daily life he will see the rich result immediately. What greater blessings can one ask for?
This discourse is found in the Sutta-nipata, Khuddakapatha and is normally chanted for blessings and prosperity.