Secure (Maṅgala Sutta – Protection with Blessing)

revised on 2020-05-29

By Venerable Uttamo Thera(尊者 鄔達摩 長老)

Before understanding secure or security, we need to understand what insecure or insecurity is. The Pāli word khema is for secure. Something secure is safety or protected from dangers and harms. So, insecure is not safe or not protected from dangers and harms. Man has body and mind. For ordinary people, the body affects the mind and vice versa.

If we have the physical body, it will never be secure. At least it will never escape from aging, sickness and death. Even the Buddha and other noble beings could not escape from the dangers and harms done by others. Mara—the evil one, Devadatta, Ciñcamāṇavikā, etc. harmed the Buddha by physically and verbally.

Mahāmoggallāna was killed by the bandits. Mahākala upāsaka—a stream-winner (sotāpanna) was beaten to death by people who accused him as the thief. (In one of his past lives, out of lust for a woman and with fault accusation, he killed the woman’s husband and took her by force. This evil action following him up to this life, and he had to pay for his kammic debt. How many times in saṁsāra others killed him in this way? Nobody knows!)

Why all living beings have no security in the rounds of existence? There are many reasons for it. The most important reason is loka dhammas are following behind everyone. Every being wants happiness and security. But everyone in the rounds of existence had done all sorts of kammas.

Most beings cannot control their minds because they do not have the chances to meet the Buddha, Dhamma and Saṅgha. They do not know the Dhamma and without any practice. Majority of people are chasing the worldly dhamma (loka dhamma) and at the same time, these dhammas are following or chasing them. It was like they and the loka dhammas were playing hide-and-seek games. Noble beings are not playing hide-and-seek game with the worldly dhamma. Only they still have the physical bodies that cannot escape from them.

So, here the 37th protection with a blessing on security is not the physical body, but the mind. Especially it is the mind of an arahant. It is like the other blessings; 34th is unshaken, 35th is sorrowless and 36th is dustless are representing the arahant’s mind. Even though the physical body of the arahant is still not secure, his mind is secure.

Only by passing away into Nibbāna element that Buddha and arahants were secure. Therefore, the khandhas are the source of insecurity. So, every being with the khandhas will never be in the security. There are four bonds (yoga) which bind the beings that making them unsafe.

These are the causes of suffering for the khandhas. These are the bond of sensual desire (kāmayoga), the bond of attachment to existence (bhavayoga), the bond of wrong views (diṭṭhiyoga) and the bond of ignorance (avijjāyoga). If combined, become greed (lobha), wrong views (diṭṭhi) and delusion (moha), the three unwholesome mental states. The same defilements (i.e., bonds) are also called taints (āsava) and floods (ogha).

The four taints; the taint of sensual desire (kāmāsava), the taint of attachment to existence (bhavāsava), the taint of wrong views (diṭṭhāsava) and the taint of ignorance (avijjāsava).

The four floods; the floods of sensual desire, attachment to existence, wrong views and ignorance (kāmogha, bhavogha, diṭṭhogha and avijjhogha). These are called floods (ogha) because they sweep beings away into the ocean of existence. They are also called bonds (yoga) because they yoke beings to suffering and do not allow them to escape.

Therefore, a mind that, when touched by the ways of the world (loka dhamma), is unshaken; sorrowless, dustless and secure is the arahant’s mind. All these mind qualities only come by practice. Even ordinary Buddhists who know the Dhamma and practice can develop it into certain levels. So, that we can overcome the loka dhamma or reduce their powers which affect our minds.

The Buddha ended his discourse on Blessing of Protection with the following verse:

Everywhere undefeated
when acting in this way,
people go everywhere in well-being:
This is their highest protection with a blessing.

This is the power of the pure and free mind. There is no protection with blessing higher than that. The Buddha delivered the discourse on Blessings and gave the right answers from the mundane levels to supramundane level to the deities was quite amazing. Except for a Buddha, nobody could give this kind of teaching.

So, truly, he was the teacher of gods and human beings. I am sure everyone wants blessing and protection. Everyone has to start with oneself first. The Buddha’s teaching was centered on man or mind, not on God or gods. If it’s centred on God or gods, human beings cannot solve any problem and correct the ills of the world.

Therefore, all the teachings are practical and applicable. Only we study it and follow it with an unwavering mind. Without developing within oneself, we cannot protect ourselves and others. Each person has to do his duty rightly and skillfully so that problems will be solved. With the right and wise educations only, we can solve the human problems from the family, society and government levels to international level.

We can help and save human beings only with wholesome education. Not by inventing new things based on greed, hatred and delusion. Unwholesome dhammas never bring happiness and peace to human beings. These are the outcomes of the today world situation.

revised on 2020-05-29; cited from (posted on 2019-11-22)

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According to the translator— Ven. Uttamo's words, this is strictly for free distribution only, as a gift of Dhamma—Dhamma Dāna. You may re-format, reprint, translate, and redistribute this work in any medium.

據英譯者—鄔達摩比丘交待,此譯文僅能免費與大眾結緣,作為法的禮物(Dhamma Dāna)。你可以在任何媒體上重新編製、重印、翻譯和重新發布這部作品。