It is narrated that the great soul Buddha was residing in a monastery near Jeta Grove and when the night was far spent, a certain angelic being whose surpassing splendor illuminated the entire Jeta Grove, came to the presence of Buddha and, drawing near, respectfully saluted him and stood at one side. Standing thus, he addressed the exalted one in verse:
"Many invisible beings and men, yearning after good, have pondered on
blessings. Pray, tell me what are the greatest blessing!"
And Buddha replied from the reservoir of great wisdom:
"Not to associate with the foolish (unpious, wicked in speech, thought and action),
but to associate with the wise;
and to honour those who are worthy of honour — this is a great blessing.
To reside in a suitable locality where pious people are around, to have done meritorious
actions in the past and to set oneself in the right course — this is a great blessing.
To have much learning, to be skillful, well-trained in discipline,
and to be of good speech — this is a great blessing.
To support mother and father, to cherish wife and children, and to
be engaged in peaceful occupation — this is a great blessing.
To be generous in giving, to be righteous in conduct, to help one's relatives,
and to be blameless in action — this is a great blessing.
To loathe more evil and abstain from it, to refrain from intoxicants,
and to be steadfast in virtue — this is a great blessing.
To be respectful, humble, contented and grateful; and to
listen to the Path (Dhamma, Deen) on due occasions — this is a great blessing.
To be patient and obedient, to associate with righteous people and to have
enlightened discussions on due occasions — this is a great blessing.
Self-restraint, a holy and chaste life, the perception of the
Noble Truths and the realisation of Nibbana — this is a great blessing.
A mind unruffled by the vagaries of fortune, from sorrow
freed, from defilements cleansed, from fear liberated — this is a great blessing.
Those who thus abide, ever remain invincible, in happiness
established. These are great blessings."
Maha Mangala Sutra, a famous sutra in Buddhism, which literally means the Discourse of Great Benefits or Blessings. Mangala means that which is good or something conducive to happiness and prosperity. Some have translated mangala as blessings, in fact all beneficial matters are blessings.
This famous text: Maha Mangala Suttra cherished highly in all Buddhist lands, is a terse but comprehensive summary of Buddhist ethics, individual and social. The thirty-eight blessings enumerated in it, are like guide on life's journey. Rightly starting with "avoidance of bad company" which is basic to all moral and spiritual progress, the blessings culminate in the achievement of a passion-free mind, unshakable in its serenity. To follow the ideals set forth in these verses, is the sure way to harmony and progress for the individual as well as for society, nation and mankind.