Directing Oneself Rightly (Maṅgala Sutta – Protection with Blessing)

By Venerable Uttamo Thera(尊者 鄔達摩 長老)

For setting up oneself in the right course; if someone does not have faith (saddhā), develops it and makes it strong. If no sīla-morality follows the percept and practicing it, etc. Atta-sammā-panidhi is let the mind in the wholesome and good direction. Therefore speech and actions also include. Tha-pye-kan Sayadaw took it as a very important blessing.

In the Dhammapada, the Buddha taught us that the unwholesome mind brought sufferings, and the wholesome mind brought happiness. Unwholesome mind brings more sufferings to oneself than one’s enemies. The wholesome mind brings happiness to oneself, which others cannot give. A negative mind is an untrained mind and without protection. If we look at the world situations, a lot of social problems, natural disasters, and other sufferings come from this mind.

For directing oneself rightly, Sayadaw told us to follow the instructions and practice accordingly to the Ambalatthikā-rāhulovada Sutta in the Majjhima Nikāya. The gist of the instruction and practice is: Before our mental, verbal, and bodily actions, firstly we must reflect that it has the benefit to oneself and others or not harmful to oneself and others. It also has reflected in this way during the actions and after the actions.

It has three stages. We should admit it if we do something wrong. And then decide not to do it again. It will bring happiness if the actions are good and right, and we should take joy in it. This instruction was the Buddha given to his seven years old son, novice Rāhula. It is good to train or educate our children with this sutta.

There was another sutta in the Aṅguttara Nikāya called Cakka Sutta-The Wheels.

There are four wheels:

(1) living in a civilized land
(2) associating with people of Integrity (wise and noble)
(3) rightly directing oneself
(4) Having done merit in the past.

They are mutually conditioning and supporting each other. Therefore these are like wheels. Human beings will achieve greatness (status, honor, etc.), abundance in terms of wealth and happiness if they are endowed with them. Most Buddhists have the chances and opportunity to develop them because more or less we have it. Only we do not know the suttas or educate with the suttas that not doing it rightly or properly. Instead, we waste our times with worthless worldly matters.

We can give a very good example of the importance of the (3) wheel with the renegade = the monk Devadatta. He had the wheels of (1), (2), and (4). He could not direct himself rightly that, and at last, fell into the Great Hell (mahā-avīci hell – the most severe and terrible one).

If we want to progress and happiness, we need these four conditioned cycles or wheels. In the past, if we had the 4th wheel and in this life, we have the chances of (1), (2), and (3) wheels. In this life, if we have (1), (2), and (3) wheels and will do the (4) again. Therefore it is like a cycle and very important for every human being. By study and understanding the Buddha's teaching clearly, and we know how to use this life properly and wisely. Human beings are using their lives; foolishly that many problems and sufferings arise in societies.

revised on 2019-12-03; cited from (posted on 2019-09-20)

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