The Thirty-Eight Supreme Blessings

The Buddha was once asked by a deva what constituted the highest blessings. His answer provides a checklist of what is most valuable in this life.

1  Not to associate with fools.
Those who drag us down with their foolishness; drunkards, layabouts etc.
2  To associate with the wise.
Those who encourage us to grow spiritually. The Buddha emphasized the importance of good companionship in many ways; when Ananda remarked that good friends were half of the Holy Life, He replied " Say not so! Good friends are the whole of the Holy Life!"
3  To pay repects where they are due.
Making puja to the Triple Jewel, honouring our teachers and elders; to have this opportunity is a blessing not to be missed!
4  To reside in a suitable location.
A place congenial to life, peaceful and with such a society and economy that we can live free from want and fear.
5  To have previously done meritorious deeds.
Thus, we can enjoy the fruit now. But don't be one who just lives off her capital! Invest in yourself by making more good merit now.
6  To be heading in the right direction.
If we are advancing spiritually, growing in wisdom and compassion, then we are surely blessed.
7  To have much learning.
Being well educated in the broadest sense; a well-rounded individual. In particular to have knowledge of the Dhamma is to possess a jewel beyond price.
8  To be skilled and knowledgeable.
Every useful skill we possess, crafts, trades, special knowledge can be of some use in improving life for ourselves and others.
9  To be restrained by a moral code.
A sound morality is the basis of peace and happiness.
10  To have beautiful speech.
That is; truthful, timely, pleasant speech connected with meaning. Such speech that others are delighted and improved by hearing.
11  To be a support for your parents.
The opportunity to repay the enormous debt we owe to our mother and father should be seen as a blessing and not as a burden.
12 & 13  The cherishing of wife and child.
A happy family life.
14  To make one's livelihood without difficulty.
A wholesome occupation that one does well and enjoys.
15  To make gifts.
Giving is a source of joy for both giver and receiver. Be one blessed with a generous spirit.
16  To live in accord with the Dhamma.
To have heard the Holy dhamma in this life and to have the capacity and opportunity to practice is a rare and wonderful thing.
17  To cherish one's relatives.
To have a functioning extended family (clan) either in the traditional sense or a community of friends and colleagues.
18  To do blameless actions.
Living one's life in an unreproachable way. Nothing to hide, nothing to fear, nothing to regret.
19  To cease and abstain from evil.
Having the inclination of mind that instinctively recoils from evil as if from a red hot iron ball.
20  To refrain from intoxicants.
Not to need those substances which dull our precious human consciousness.
21  Not to be heedless of the Dhamma.
Being mindful and compassionate; going through life with eyes and heart open . Attention to details!
22  To be respectful.
Respect for the conventions is to make the life into a beautiful dance. Respect for the Buddha nature of all beings is the root of refined manners.
23  To be humble.
Pride goeth before a fall and the meek shall inherit the earth.
24  To be content.
Contentment with little is the magical wish-fulfilling gem! Its also a healthy attitude for our planet right now.
25  To have gratitude.
The Buddha said that gratitude is rare to find in this world. Remember always that you never would have gotten this far without a lot of help!
26  To hear the Dhamma at the right time.
Everyone who has experienced a word of teaching that touched the heart at just the right moment knows what a precious gift this can be.
27  To have patience.
Patience is a virtue but also a blessing. Just think how much suffering comes from impatience.
28  To be easy to admonish.
Make yourself amenable to teaching and those with something to teach will be ready to help you.
29   The sight of monks.
The robed figure of the recluse is an archetypal call to consciousness; together with the dead man, the sick man and the old man they are called the four divine messengers.
30   To discuss the Dhamma at a suitable time.
Speaking of the Holy Dhamma is the noblest use of the human power of speech. To be blessed with time and companions with which to speak of things tending to liberation is amazing grace indeed.
31   To practice austerities.
In the buddhist context this means the practising of meditation; a daily practice and regular retreats.
32  To lead the Holy Life.
To live devoted to the Eightfold Path and the seeking of Liberation.

(The blessings which follow are supramundane.)

33  Seeing the Noble Truths.
Opening of the Dhamma Eye. This refers to a level of direct penetration well beyond the intellectual.
34  The realization of Nibbana.
Going through the gateless gate. The treasure beyond any price in heaven and earth.

( The blessings which follow are the fruits of the supramundane )

35  A mind unshaken by contact with the world.
Being in the world but not of it.
36  Sorrowlessness.
Beyond the realms of suffering.
37  Stainlessness.
The end of the obscuring defilements.
38  Secure.
Once found it cannot be lost.

These are the highest blessings!
Having accomplished this
one is always unconquered,
one goes everywhere in peace.
These are the blessings supreme!

Based on the Mangala Sutta from the Sutta Nipata.

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