Not Consorting with Fools (Maṅgala Sutta – Protection with Blessing)

By Venerable Uttamo Thera(尊者 鄔達摩 長老)

In the suttas, firstly, the Buddha talked about what should not be done. After that, we continued to talk about what should be done. Someone will has problems and suffering if he acts something which should not be done. Therefore it is more important. This is not difficult to understand, but if we observe the current world situations in every aspect of it, something is going wrong. A sentient being after taking birth into the human world he or she is not alone and with family members surrounding them.

So man has companions. Each family is the smallest part of the society. Not only human but also animal is the same. The differences between them are a man who has knowledge. Every man has two kinds of companion. Natural selection or send by the law of kamma and later with one's own choice or selection. By the law of kamma, you meet this or that family member. With one of the past kammas, someone was born into the family of fishing village, into a Buddhist family, etc.…Later in life one makes one's own choice and consorting with drunkards, drug addicts, gamblers, etc., and with Buddhists who are practicing Dhamma, etc…. There is a lot to say and contemplate about for these two kinds of companions. And then we will see the importance of the law of kamma and the wholesome educations.

Blessing (maṅgala) has the meaning of the cause for progress or success. Not consorting with fools was so important that the Buddha described it first as a foundation. Without following this instruction and other blessings are also out of reach. What is a fool (bāla)? Someone has unwholesome thoughts, speech, and action is bāla. It leads to bad results. Therefore he is a fool. Unwholesome energy or element can spread like a disease. This is the nature of energy. Element also has the nature of the combination. For example, Ven. Sāriputta was foremost in wisdom, and his energy spread to his students, who also had wisdom. The monk Devadatta was a renegade to the Buddha, and his students also like him. The negative element or energy not only affected human beings but also to nature, such as animals, trees, fruits, weather, etc.

Positive or wholesome energy is also in the same way. If there are more fools in the world, and it will lead to destruction. Living together with fools is like living with enemies. The Buddha even mentioned that fools made sufferings. If we contemplate the current situations around the world will appreciate this point. Someone consorts with fools not only without benefits in his life but also next life to come. For example, prince Ajātasattu was consorting with the renegade monk Devadatta, later killed his father King Bimbisāra and after death fell into hell. Consuming of unwholesome things such as drugs, alcohol, polluted media, etc. is making a person becoming a fool. At last at the dhammic level, association with the unwholesome dhamma (greed, aversion, delusion, etc.) is foolish and with the wholesome dhamma is wise.

revised on 2019-12-03; cited from (posted on 2019-09-12)

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