– by Vipassana Research Institute
(Sometimes known as the ‘vinaya’ for householders, the Maṅgala sutta is very popular among the followers of the Buddha. Two traditional opening verses that give some background are often chanted, explaining that devas and men had been discussing for a long time what was a true maṅgala. The canonical text begins with “Evaṃ me sutaṃ” and tells us the immediate context for the sutta. The sutta is found in Khuddaka-nikāya, Sutta Nipāta, II. 4. Goenkaji’s morning chanting of this sutta on the ninth day of the ten-day Vipassana course begins with the Buddha’s answer to the question put to him.)
Yaṃ maṅgalaṃ dvādasahi, cintayiṃsu sadevakā;
sotthānaṃ nādhigacchanti, aṭṭhatiṃsañca maṅgalaṃ.
For twelve years [men] along with devas pondered, “What is welfare?” But they did not arrive at the thirty-eight welfares that bring happiness.
Desitaṃ devadevena, sabbapāpavināsanaṃ;
sabbaloka-hitatthāya,maṅgalaṃ taṃ bhaṇāmahe.
The Lord of the devas [the Buddha] taught [that which] destroys all evil, for the benefit of the whole world: let us recite those welfares.
Evaṃ me sutaṃ—
Thus have I heard—
Ekaṃ samayaṃ bhagavā sāvatthiyaṃ viharati jetavane anāthapiṇḍikassa ārāme. Atha kho aññatarā devatā abhikkantāya rattiyā abhikkantavaṇṇā kevalakappaṃ jetavanaṃ obhāsetvā yena bhagavā tenupasaṅkami.
At one time the Blessed One was dwelling in Sāvatthi at Jeta’s grove, the monastery of Anāthapiṇḍika. Then, indeed, when the night was well advanced, a certain female deva of surpassing beauty, illuminating the whole of Jeta’s grove, approached where the Buddha was.
Upasaṅkamitvā bhagavantaṃ abhivādetvā ekamantaṃ aṭṭhāsi. Ekamantaṃ ṭhitā kho sā devatā bhagavantaṃ gāthāya ajjhabhāsi:
Having arrived there and respectfully saluting the Blessed One, she stood to one side. Standing to one side the deva addressed the Blessed One in verse:
Bahū devā manussā ca, maṅgalāni acintayuṃ;
ākaṅkhamānā sotthānaṃ, brūhi maṅgalamuttamaṃ.
Many devas and men have pondered on welfares, yearning for happiness. Please explain what is the highest welfare.
The Buddha replies:
Asevanā ca bālānaṃ, paṇḍitānañca sevanā;
pūjā ca pūjanīyānaṃ, etaṃ maṅgalamuttamaṃ.
Avoidance of fools, the company of the wise,
honour where honour is due—this is the highest welfare.
Patirūpadesavāso ca, pubbe ca katapuññatā;
atta-sammāpaṇidhi ca, etaṃ maṅgalamuttamaṃ.
A suitable place of abode, the merit of past good deeds, right aspirations for oneself—this is the highest welfare.
Bāhusaccañca sippañca, vinayo ca susikkhito;
subhāsitā ca yā vācā, etaṃ maṅgalamuttamaṃ.
Great learning and skill, well-mastered discipline,
well-spoken words—this is the highest welfare.
Mātā-pitu-upaṭṭhānaṃ, puttadārassa saṅgaho;
anākulā ca kammantā, etaṃ maṅgalamuttamaṃ.
Serving one’s parents, caring for spouse and children,
a peaceful occupation—this is the highest welfare.
Dānañca dhammacariyā ca, ñātakānañca saṅgaho;
anavajjāni kammāni, etaṃ maṅgalamuttamaṃ.
Generosity, a life of Dhamma, caring for relatives,
blameless deeds—this is the highest welfare.
Āratī viratī pāpā, majjapānā ca saṃyamo;
appamādo ca dhammesu, etaṃ maṅgalamuttamaṃ.
Ceasing and shunning evil, refraining from intoxicants,
vigilance in the Dhamma—this is the highest welfare.
Gāravo ca nivāto ca, santuṭṭhi ca kataññutā;
kālena dhammassavanaṃ, etaṃ maṅgalamuttamaṃ.
Respectfulness, humility, contentment, gratitude,
listening to the Dhamma at the proper time
—this is the highest welfare.
Khantī ca sovacassatā, samaṇānañca dassanaṃ;
kālena dhammasākacchā, etaṃ maṅgalamuttamaṃ.
Forbearance, accepting guidance, beholding saintly people, discussion of the Dhamma at the proper time— this is the highest welfare.
Tapo ca brahmacariyañca, ariyasaccāna-dassanaṃ;
nibbānasacchikiriyā ca, etaṃ maṅgalamuttamaṃ.
Ardent practice, a life of purity, witnessing the Noble Truths, experiencing nibbāna—this is the highest welfare.
Phuṭṭhassa lokadhammehi cittaṃ yassa na kampati;
asokaṃ virajaṃ khemaṃ, etaṃ maṅgalamuttamaṃ.
When faced with the vicissitudes of life, one’s mind is unshaken, sorrowless, stainless, secure—this is the highest welfare.
Etādisāni katvāna, sabbatthamaparājitā; sabbatthasotthiṃ gacchanti, taṃ tesaṃ maṅgalamuttamaṃ.
Having acted in this way, everywhere invincible,
they go everywhere safely—that is the highest welfare.