Over 2,550 years ago an interesting discussion took place in the Public Hall of a town in the Madhya Desa, central India to what constituted a Mangala or blessing an end to misery; conducive to happiness and prosperity, a Blessing. The debaters held diverse views as to what was an auspicious-bringing condition. Opinions were so varied that the gathering divided into three groups, the partisanship grew till it even extended to the abodes of
Dēvas, assigned a Finally, was to obtain the decision of the Buddha. At the first Buddhist council held a few months after the passing-away of the Buddha, Ananda Thera, the cousin and constant companion of the Buddha, recited the story as he had heard it from the very lips of the Buddha.
The Sutta. Thus have I heard:
On one occasion the Blessed One was dwelling at the monastery of an athapindika in Jeta’s Grove near Sāvatthi. Now when the night was far spent, a certain dēva, deity whose
surpassing splendour illuminated the entire Jeta’s Grove, came to the presence of the Blessed One and drawing near respectfully saluted Him and stood on one side. Standing thus, he addressed the Blessed One in verse:
“Many Dēvas and men, yearning after good, have pondered on Blessings, pray, tell me the Highest Blessings.” The Blessed One answered him thus:
1. Not to associate with fools, to associate with the wise and to honour those who are worthy to honour, that is the Highest Blessing.
2. To reside in a suitable locality, to have done meritorious actions in the past and to set oneself in the right course this is the Highest Blessing.
3. Much learning, perfect handicraft, highly trained disciplines and pleasant speech–this is the Highest Blessing.
4. The support of mother and father, the cherishing of wife and children and peaceful occupations-this is Highest Blessing.
5. Liberality, highest conduct, the helping of relatives and blameless actions-this is the Highest Blessing.
6. To cease and abstain from evil, forbearance with respect to intoxicants and steadfastness in virtue-this is the Highest Blessing.
7. Reverence, humility, contentment, gratitude, opportune hearing of the Dhamma–this is the Highest Blessing.
8. Patience, obedience, sight of the Samanas and religious discussion in due season-this is the Highest Blessing.
9. Self-control, the holy life, and perception of the Noble Truths and realisation of Nibbāna–this is the Highest Blessing.
10. He whose mind does not flutter by contact with worldly contingencies, sorrowles, stainless and secure-this is the Highest Blessing.
11. To the fulfilling matters such as these; everywhere invincible, in every way moving happily-these are the Highest Blessings.