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Sunday, 22 July 2012





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Maha Mangala Sutta:

The great discourse to lead a happy life

The Maha Pirith Poth Vahanse, belongs to the Chatubhanavara (Pali). It is a text held in the highest esteem, by Buddhist all over the world. According to the great chronicle the Mahawamsa, at the time of Upatissa I, (end of 4th century A.C.), Sri Lanka was badly afflicted with famine and disease.

The custodians of Dhamma the Sangha reminded and advised King Upatissa, that when Vesali in India was affected by famine, disease, fear from Yakkas. Devils or non-humans, the Enlightened One recited the Ratana Sutta, and the Buddha's chief attendant and “Dharmabandagarika”, Ven Ananda Thera, went round the city of Vesali reciting Ratana Sutta, sprinkling water from the alms-bowl of the Buddha.

King Upatissa acted quickly. He made a golden image of the Buddha, placed a replica of an alms bowl of the Buddha, filled it with water, and placed it and the Bhikkhus followed the chariot chanting the Ratanasutta, sprinkling the Pirith Pan. The ceremony was known as “Gangarohana”.

Preliminary recitals

Before we discuss the Ratana Sutta (Discourse of the jewels) let us study the preliminary recitals in brief before the main recitation and the rituals performed during the chanting of Pirith. The Pirith Thread (Pirith Noola), placing of the Pirith Pan (Pirith water or holy water), “Mandapa” - Tabernacle pavilion specially constructed for the occasion and the bhikkhus take their seats in the “Mandapa” and then recite Pirith – verses of protection.

There are certain procedures to follow in conducting a Pirith ceremony. Firstly, an invitation should be made by a person to chant Pirith. He offers a sheaf of betal to the bhikkhus. It is called Aradhana.

It will be followed by an advisory speech or Anusasana – Namaskara, Saranagamana, Panchasila and the Devaradhana and an invocation to Devas will also be chanted.

Then, it is followed by stanzas Namaskara – Isipito Bhagava, Svakkato Bhaghava, Supatipatipanno Bhagavato, Etena Sachchavajjena – blessings (Three times), first the Buddha utterance – Anekajatisamsaram.

Law of dependent origination

Then the Bhikkhus in the Mandapa will recite Paticcasamuppada – Law of dependent origination, followed with Jayamangala Gatha – stanzas of the victorious auspices – (recited at Buddhist weddings too wishes of Auspices” - Bhavatusabba Mangalam - (thrice) Next comes the request for protection from evil – Nakkatta – Yakka Bhutanam – (thrice) and fixation of protection – Sabbe Buddha Balapatta ... ).

Then begins the three vital Suttas.

Mahamangala – Great discourse on the auspices

Ratana – discourse on the jewels

Karaniyametta – Discourse on practising loving kindness. Today, we discuss the Mahamangalasutta which is very popular among Buddhists.

The chanting of pirith is undoubtedly a soothing balm to your mind. It settles your mind.

Khuddhaka Nikaya

Mahamangala Sutta, is extracted from Khuddhaka Nikaya. Other Nikayas are Anguttara, Samyutta, Majjima and Digha.

The Mahamangala Sutta deals and mentions about the most important auspicious a layman or recluse should follow. It deals more about the life of the householder, which brings peace, serenity, happiness to your life, if you follow the Buddha's advice embodied in this important Sutta – Mahamangalasuta – The Great Discourse on the auspices.

Once, there was a disagreement among Devas – (Deities) and human beings about the highest auspice. It was a debatable question. One day, a certain deity approached honoured and worshipped the Buddha, when the Blessed One was sojourning in Savatti Jeta Grove and posed a question. Great Teacher, Enlightened One Dharmaraja – Gautama Buddha, please tell us what the highest auspices are?

Buddhism is a religion for the wise, learned and educated. To begin with the Buddha uttered, associate with the wise, and not with the immatura.

Always respect the respectable, as number one auspice. Do meritorious acts, live in proper suitable places or premises, obtain profound knowledge, discipline yourself, always look after your parents, your children and wife (Matapitu – Upattanam – Puttadharassa Sangaho) These are some of the auspices the Buddha mentioned.In the modern society sometimes, we find even men of standing, does not care for their parents.

At times, they are dumped in orphanages. The children forget their beloved parents when they are rich and gain position. Sometimes, sons and daughters when they reach higher positions in society, discard their fathers if they were peons, carpenters, and labourers.

Lead a good life, look after your relatives and abstain from evil and intoxicating drinks, respect for the respectable, humbleness, satisfaction and gratitude, listen to the doctrine at proper time, austerity and chastity, realising the emancipation or Nibbana, too belong to Auspices, mentioned by the Blessed One.

The other auspices are, when affected by worldly conditions, if you can keep your mind without trembling, free from sorrow, free from taint (Asokam, Virajam, Khemam).

In concluding the Enlightened One stated

Etadisani Katvana
Sabbattham Aparajitha
Sabbattha Sotthim Gacchanti tam
Tesam Mangalam Uttaman Ti

Having successful done the above auspice, unconquered, undefeated everywhere, they achieve the highest happiness.


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