April 8th is the Buddha’s Birthday in Mahayana Buddhism, according to the solar calendar, and so I wanted to celebrate by posting one of the Buddha’s most famous teachings, the Maha-Mangala Sutta,1 translation by Narada Thera. 日本語の翻訳はこちらです。
Thus have I heard. On one occasion the Exalted One was dwelling at Anathapindika’s monastery, in Jeta’s Grove, near Savatthi. Now when the night was far spent, a certain deity whose surpassing splendor illuminated the entire Jeta Grove, came to the presence of the Exalted One and, drawing near, respectfully saluted him and stood at one side. Standing thus, he addressed the Exalted One in verse:
“Many deities and men, yearning after good, have pondered on blessings. Pray, tell me the greatest blessing!”
“Not to associate with the foolish, but to associate with the wise; and to honor those who are worthy of honor — this is the greatest blessing.
To reside in a suitable locality, to have done meritorious actions in the past and to set oneself in the right course — this is the greatest blessing.
To have much learning, to be skillful in handicraft, well-trained in discipline, and to be of good speech — 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 be generous in giving, to be righteous in conduct, to help one’s relatives, and to be blameless in action — this is the greatest blessing.
To loathe more evil and abstain from it, to refrain from intoxicants, and to be steadfast in virtue — this is the greatest blessing.
To be respectful, humble, contented and grateful; and to listen to the Dhamma on due occasions — this is the greatest blessing.
To be patient and obedient, to associate with monks and to have religious discussions on due occasions — this is the greatest blessing.
Self-restraint, a holy and chaste life, the perception of the Noble Truths and the realisation of Nibbana — this is the greatest blessing.
A mind unruffled by the vagaries of fortune, from sorrow freed, from defilements cleansed, from fear liberated — this is the greatest blessing.
Those who thus abide, ever remain invincible, in happiness established. These are the greatest blessings.”
Happy 2,576th birthday! 😉
P.S. Photo above is courtesy of Flickr and photographer “MShades”. 🙂
1 Called kisshōkyō (吉祥経) in Japanese, in case you were wondering. ;p