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Mangala Sutta

Background Story

The word “Mangala” means “blessing”, “auspicious sign” or “good omen”. In ancient India, people wanted to know what constituted a real blessing that makes life happy for them. This issue was even raised among deities (devas) in the heavenly planes. For twelve years the deities argued, debated and discussed about it. Some referred “blessing” as what is pleasurable to the senses – things that are pleasing to the eyes, ears, nose, tongue and body. However, no satisfactory answer could be obtained.

Then devas of Tavatimsa heavenly realm approached Sakka, the leader of the devas, for his views. Sakka advised the devas to consult the Buddha. Thus in the middle of the night, a certain deity with his surpassing splendour, came to visit the Buddha at the monastery of Anāthapindika in Jeta’s Grove near Sāvatthi. He asked the Buddha for the true meaning of “blessing”. In response, the Buddha delivered a discourse known as Mangala Sutta, in which thirty-eight highest blessings were enumerated.

Mangala Sutta is customarily chanted for blessings on auspicious occasions. Besides, these thirty-eight blessings are ethical and spiritual in nature, providing a step-by-step training on the journey of life. It contains Buddha’s advice and guidance for the ‘novice’ of life, and ultimately leads one to liberation from suffering.

Mangala Sutta

Evam me sutam
Ekam samayam Bhagavā
Sāvatthiyam viharati
Jetavane Anāthapindikassa ārāme
Atha kho aññātarā devatā
Abhikkantāya rattiyā abhikkanta vannā
Kevala kappam Jetavanam obhāsetvā
Yena Bhagavā tenupasamkami
Upasamkamitvā bhagavantam
Abhivādetvā ekamantam atthāsi
Ekamantam thitā kho sā devatā
Bhagavantam gāthāya ajjhabhāsi
Thus have I heard :
On one occasion, the Blessed One
was dwelling at the monastery of
Anāthapindika in Jeta’s Grove near Savatthi.
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,
and drawing near, respectfully saluted the Lord
and stood to one side.
Standing thus,
he addressed the Blessed One in verse :
Bahū devā manussā ca
Mangalāni acintayum
Ākankhamānā sotthānam
Brūhi mangala muttamam
Many deities and men, yearning after good,
have pondered on Blessings.
Pray, tell me the Supreme Blessing.
Asevanā ca bālānam
Panditānañ ca sevanā
Pūjā ca pūjanīyānam
Etam mangala muttamam
Not to associate with fools,
to associate with the wise,
and honour those who are worthy of honour;
this is Blessing Supreme.
Patirūpa-desa vāso ca
Pubbe ca katapuññatā
Atta sammā panidhi ca
Etam mangala muttamam
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 Blessing Supreme.
Bāhu saccañ ca sippañ ca
Vinayo ca susikkhito
Subhāsitā ca yā vācā
Etam mangala muttamam
Vast-learning, perfect handicraft,
a highly trained discipline
and pleasant speech;
this is Blessing Supreme.
Mātā pitu upatthānam
Puttadārassa sangaho
Anākulā ca kammantā
Etam mangala muttamam
The support of father and mother,
the cherishing of wife and children
and peaceful occupations;
this is Blessing Supreme.
Dānañ ca dhammacariyā ca
Ñātakānañ ca sangaho
Anavajjāni kammāni
Etam mangala muttamam
Liberal giving, righteous conduct,
the helping of relatives
and blameless actions;
this is Blessing Supreme.
Ārati virati pāpā
Majjapānā ca samyamo
Appamādo ca dhammesu
Etam mangala muttamam
To cease and abstain from evil,
forbearance with respect to intoxicants
and steadfastness in virtue;
this is Blessing Supreme.
Gāravo ca nivāto ca
Santutthī ca kataññutā
Kālena dhamma savanam
Etam mangala muttamam
Reverence, humility,
contentment, bearing gratitude and
opportune hearing of the Dhamma;
this is Blessing Supreme.
Khanti ca sovacassatā
Samanānañ ca dassanam
Kālena dhamma sākacchā
Etam mangala muttamam
Patience, being easy to advise,
sight of the Samanas (holy men),
and timely discussion of the Dhamma;
this is Blessing Supreme.
Tapo ca brahmacariyāñ ca
Ariyasaccāna dassanam
Nibbāna sacchikiriyā ca
Etam mangala muttamam
Self-control, living a noble life,
realizing the Noble Truths
and the attainment of Nibbāna;
this is Blessing Supreme.
Phutthassa loka dhammehi
Cittam yassa na kampati
Asokam virajam khemam
Etam mangala muttamam
He whose mind does not waver,
by contact with worldly contingencies,
sorrowless, stainless and secure;
this is Blessing Supreme.
Etādisāni katvāna
Sabbattha maparājitā
Sabbattha sotthim gacchanti
Tam tesam mangala-muttamam ti
To them, fulfilling matters such as these,
everywhere invincible,
in every way secure;
these are Blessings Supreme.