Having Made Merit in the Past (Maṅgala Sutta – Protection with Blessing)

By Venerable Uttamo Thera(尊者 鄔達摩 長老)

Someone is intelligent, wise, an encounter with good things and suitable situations, etc. because he or she had made merits in the past life. People had wholesome merits in their past lives, mostly had success whatever kind of endeavor they were in. In the Buddha time, the billionaire Jotika was a very good example. In modern-day, the Hong Kong business tycoon Mr. Li is also very good evidence. He came from Mainland China into Hong Kong and met a Feng-Sui master.

He asked him about his future. He predicted that Mr. Li would make a lot of money. And also whatever business he would do with success. These later became true. With the success of his business and always donates a lot of money. Therefore, he is a well-known philanthropist. How to use money is more important than to make money. Most people, instead of using the money in better ways, just waste them; and even sometimes using them in unwholesome ways.

Do we believe in the law of Kamma? Just think about it. Two persons, even they have the same effort the results are different. These differences are connecting with their past kammas. And the old saying was; “Even though intelligent without past merit is always poor.” Sometimes we may meet an intelligent person, but whatever he tries to do something he does not get the result. This is the cause of lacking good conducts (caraṇa). The law of kamma is profound and complex. Most people know about it superficially. Even the Buddha mentioned it as one of the inconceivable subjects.

There was an interesting jataka story on this point. A woodcutter went into a forest for fire woods. He came back late, and the city gate was closed. He had to sleep outside the city. The place he slept was near a tree, and two wild cocks also slept on the branches of that tree. At night some noises made him woke up. The cocks were in a quarrel because the cock on the upper branch shat on the cock at the lower branch.

The lower cock said to the upper cock with conceit; “If someone roasts my flesh and eats will get 1,000 coins.” The upper cock retorted as; “If someone eats my inner organs will become a king, on my flesh will become a field marshal, and if she a woman becomes a queen. Someone eats the flesh sticks to the bones and becomes the king’s treasurer or the teacher of the king.”

The woodcutter killed the upper cock, took it at home and asked his wife to cook for him. After finished, he put it in a basket and both of them brought it to the Ganges River. They planned to eat it after bathing. Suddenly a strong wind came and blew away the basket into the river. The basket was floating down the river and arriving at a place where the king’s elephant trainer bathed the elephants.

He wanted to share the food with his wife and brought it back home. At the same time, his teacher, the hermit knew everything with his psychic power. He waited for him at his home and arranged for them. The hermit asked the elephant trainer to eat the inner organs, to the wife the flesh and for himself the other. He predicted him as would become the king after three days. By that time, another king came and made war with this country.

Without any other reason, the king put the elephant trainer like a king on the elephant to fight the war. The real king died in the war. But the elephant trainer was a good planner and leading the battle with success and became a king. We do not know our past kammas. Therefore to have merits for the future, in this life, we should develop wholesome or good kammas. Another important point on kamma is wholesome, and unwholesome kammic results (or energies) are following us all the times.

Therefore in every moment to have wholesome thoughts and actions are very important. Negative and positive results are looking for chances to come in at any time. If we only know the benefits or values of merits (meritorious deeds) that are wanting to perform it. Only then we will have the number 5th blessing. Also, we should very often reflect on the result of the merits. The merits we should perform are: giving (dāna), precepts (sīla), with care to look after our speech, look after our sense faculties, etc. (dāna, sīla, samādhi and paññā).

This is like buried gold, gems, and treasures in the ground. No-one can take away from you and become your properties. It will follow behind us all the time like a shadow. The Buddha gave a dhamma talk on the four treasure pots – Nitidāna Sutta. It was about dāna, sīla, samādhi, and paññā.

The results of these merits are:

(1) fair complexion
(2) pleasant voice
(3) having a good bodily structure
(4) good looking face
(5) having power and influence
(6) with many companions and servants
(7) having the human happiness
(8) having the celestial happiness
(9) can realize Nibbāna.

All these wholesome Dhammas were praised by the wise and noble person. It could lead to becoming great disciples, chief disciples, Solitary-buddha (Pacceka-buddha) and Sammā-sambuddha. Therefore we must perform merits for this life and future lives to come. We should do it better and better.

revised on 2019-12-03; cited from https://oba.org.tw/viewtopic.php?f=22&t=4702&p=36785#p36785 (posted on 2019-09-17)

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