Kim Allen: The Greatest Good Fortune: An Exploration of the Mangala Sutta
8:17AM Apr 28, 2022
Okay, so welcome to this evening's sati center program on the exploration of the Mangala Sutta. Sati center invited me to offer this session and I'm very happy to do so I really enjoy sharing the richness of the Buddhist teachings with others. And I also like trying to convey how these ancient texts can inform our practice and life in today's world. So we'll be looking at the Mangala sutta, which is sutta 2.4, in a text called the Sutta Nipata. And we're going to look at it in a variety of ways and from a variety of angles. So I encourage you to just follow along and allow the class to kind of paint a picture that might be have a little more detail than you might have gotten just reading the text on your own. And just for to understand the time, we're going to be going for an hour and 15 minutes until 845 Pacific time. So we will begin and also end with the touching into the oral tradition that's behind this text. The teachings of the Pali Canon were originally preserved as oral teachings, and only were written down much later. And even when they were written down, the oral tradition continued. And that continues to this day. And so for that reason, it's actually important to hear the suitors spoken. So that's how we're going to begin. Let me put the words of this sutta up onto the screen for you. So just settle back and it's a fairly short sutta and I will read it. If you're looking at the screen the first paragraph in blue is the kind of the setting and then there's a question asked in purple. And then the Buddha responds to that and 11 verses that are in black on the screen. This is what I have heard. At one time, the Blessed One was staying at salva T in the Jetta Grove and not a pin because monastery on that occasion. As the night was coming to an end, a certain god of great beauty approached the Blessed One while illuminating the whole Jetta grove. After bowing to the Blessed One, they stood to one side and spoke of Earth. Many gods and humans desiring well being are seekers of good fortune. Please tell me the greatest good fortune
not to associate with fools, but to associate with the wise and to honor those worthy of honor. This is the greatest good blessing, good fortune to live in a suitable place, having previously done good karma, and to apply oneself in the right way. This is the greatest good fortune, to be educated and to have a vocation, to be well trained in one's chosen field, and to speak words that are well spoken. This is the greatest good fortune to support one's mother and father, to cherish one's partner and children and to have a job without stress. This is the greatest good fortune, generosity and an upright life, kindness toward one's relatives, and the doing of blameless deeds. This is the greatest good fortune to refrain from what is unwholesome to abstain from all intoxicants, and to be steadfast in good qualities. This is the greatest good fortune, respect and humility, contentment and gratitude and the timely hearing of dharma. This is the greatest good fortune being patient and easy to correct. The seeing of monks and nuns and timely discussion on dharma. This is the greatest good fortune asceticism and the spiritual life, insight into the Noble Truths and the seeing for oneself of nirvana. This is the greatest good fortune a mind that remains unshaken by the ups and downs of the world. starless, stainless and safe This is the greatest good fortune. Having performed these things, nowhere can they be conquered. They are secure wherever they go. This is their greatest good fortune. So let's talk now about what's going on in this sutta kind of talk through how the sutta unfolds. So the setting is that a deva, you know, comes to the grove where the Buddha is meditating, and says that both Davis and human beings are seekers of good fortune. So it's essentially you know, people want a good life, we want a good life, we want things to go well in our lives. And so then they ask the Buddha, what is the greatest good fortune or some translations of that word is what is the highest blessing. So this is that word is Mangala, the Mangala sutta. And so it means something auspicious. Something that is that both arises out of goodness and portends goodness in the future. That's what a mangala is. And many of the teachings remember I said this was part of a collection of texts called the Sutta Nipata. Many of the teachings in that collection are considered by scholars to be fairly old, fairly close to the original. And these earlier suttas seem to come from a time when the teachings weren't quite as systematized as they were later, there weren't so many lists of eight, this and six that and so forth. So we don't see a specific list or an analytical way of approaching the teachings here. And yet, the sutta does have a structure and a logic to it, that I want to talk a little bit about. So in particular, we will see that all the components of the eightfold path are there. So let's have a look. At the beginning, it talks about basic choices about who we associate with, are we going to associate with the wise or with fools. And so, you know, it says that we should associate with the wise and we should honor those worthy of honor. So we would have a sense for ourselves of what is worthy in the world. And then it says that we would direct ourselves rightly. So there's a sense of my life is about
doing something good, doing something worthy, something meaningful, something valuable. So we have here, the seeds of, of wisdom. So the first part is about associating with the right people is right view, many texts talk about the foundational value of spiritual friends on the path, associating with the wise, having kalyānamitta. And then we have directing ourselves, rightly or it says to apply oneself the right way, in this translation. And this is right intention. So we have these initial forms of wisdom that are watching us onto the path, essentially. And then the text goes on. And it names various wholesome actions. So it names speaking words that are well spoken. So there's why speech that names having a vocation and to be talented at what one does, there's right livelihood, we have various actions that are beneficial, supporting one's family. Having a job without stress, that's kind of nice generosity and an upright life. So that refers to upholding the precepts right action. So we have speech, action and livelihood, a sense of contributing to the community, having a place of for oneself within family and community responsibility, honesty, an ethical framework for one's life. So essentially, we have the idea of understanding oneself as part of a larger picture. And these represent the sila steps on the path, ethical conduct. All three of them are there, if you look, just not spelled out as a list. And then we get to the paragraph that says being steadfast in good qualities that's in the middle of one of the upcoming of the paragraph that starts to refrain from what is unwholesome to abstain from intoxicants and to be steadfast in good qualities. So we start to see a switch toward qualities, not so much actions in the world, but qualities of oneself or one's mind. So I On this development of then of respect of humility, these are all internal qualities. So we have a shift with material life. Now in order, we switch over to the spiritual direction in life, that kind of unfold naturally out of having good ethics and having a sound material life. So we're more moving more deeply into the Samadhi steps of the path effort, mindfulness concentration, we see in there also discussing the dharma. So, oh, and hearing the dharma, that's actually an important shift. So it's good to have a good life and to have a good job and to support one's family. But if we never hear the dharma, and particularly never hear the noble truth about the potential and of unsatisfactoriness in our lives, we may not get inspired to do the cultivation necessary for awakening. So it is important that we hear the dharma at some point, hearing the teachings about the end of suffering. And then it moves even more deeply into the development of the mind after that.
Patients being easy to correct. So we're into some kind of path at this point, discussing the dharma making the path our own, the beginning of real Panya real wisdom is to be able to talk about the dharma to engage in it, to have a path that we feel that we are on, and to have to talk about that with others, either with teachers or with spiritual friends. And then we get to asceticism and the spiritual life insight into the Noble Truths, seeing for oneself of nirvāna. So we're lay people, of course, we have not ordained as monastics. But I think for us, as lay people this could point toward, for example, attending a meditation retreat, where temporarily, we take on a very simplified life and a life that's dedicated, really just to practice because everything else is taken care of for us. And so then we have the wisdom of seeking truth. So now, it's completely about spiritual development, we've transitioned from material life, to kind of mental development and creation of good karma, and then into spiritual development and the cultivation of deeper wisdom. And then the next stanza that says, a mind that remains unshaken by the ups and downs of the world sorrow with stainless and safe, that is a description of the mind of the arahant. These are common words that are used to describe people that are completely free. It's also interesting to note that in that paragraph, the language shifts to being only about the mind, a mind that remains unshaken, it doesn't say a person anymore. So it has shifted only to the mind, this is normal for the arahant. And then maybe what's really interesting is that it doesn't end there. So apparently, seeing nirvāna is not the last step of the path. Next we have after awakening, we go back to the world of people. It's not just the loftiness of a mind achieving nibbāna. But there's going around in the world secure and in well-being. And so my interpretation is that we come down from the mountain and, and then there is just living, there's living freely and being in our community and being an example of freedom in the world. So we can see that the Mangala sutta includes every step of the eightfold path begins with an initial amount of wisdom from which we get ourselves into a good worldly situation which we could call sila, getting ourselves into a good life in some sense. And then it talks about developing the mind which is the general meaning of the term Samadhi, the cultivation of of the mind. And then it called culminates with the emergence of liberating wisdom into awakening. So it shows how the components build on and reinforce each other to create a very fortunate life, a life that is a blessing, not just for that person, but for the people around them to all the people in their lives. So we could say that maybe the Eightfold Path is the greatest good fortune in the world, greatest thing that exists in the world. So that is, you know, maybe just a brief exposition of the dharma structure of the sutta. So I just wanted us to get all on the same page of what it is broadly saying in terms of dharma But let's let's dive a little bit deeper now into what's going on here. So what is really meant by this word, Mangala? The translations, as I said, are blessing or good fortune. And at a surface level that sounds like things that we might, we might want to be grateful for. It could also sound like things that we are mysteriously granted by forces beyond or maybe by luck, like Good luck. Good fortune, right. But if we remember that it was a God who asked the Buddha about this,
we know that the gods at least in the Indian system, the gods are learners of the dharma, just like humans, they are not granting us things from their godhood. And also, we know from dharma teachings that the path is less about luck, than it is about creating certain conditions. So the things named in the suit of r&d things to be grateful for when they appear in our lives. But probably a more refined idea is to consider that they're things that support and foster the path to freedom. So they're not just things to be enjoyed and grateful for, but they're things to be developed, the things that we would take some responsibility for. And as a side note, we can say that society might not really be encouraging us in all the directions that are stated in this sutta. Right, mainstream society does not always encourage us to be honest, or to do our work patiently and carefully. People are regularly rewarded for cutting corners, sometimes even for lying, certainly for self aggrandizement can be very rewarding in our society. So this sutta also suggests that real wealth, real blessings come from ethics and mental development, which is not a broadly popular idea, necessarily. So and yet, you know, when we are engaged with the Eightfold Path, as I know many of you are many of us are, it's easy to understand what this sutra is saying, it's easy to understand the message of this sutra, the path is nourishing and onward leading in ways that seeking wealth or power or just pleasure in and of themselves are not not really that rewarding. So it's, it's reinforcing and encouraging us to have faith and confidence in something deeper, maybe than what society would necessarily reward. Okay, so then, how about us here in the 21st century? How can we engage in the sutta to help our life is it still relevant. So we can maybe go yet a little bit deeper, I'd like to suggest that this sutta could be used as kind of a contemplative guide for a lay life that's aimed toward awakening, and how to have a life of dharma in a contemporary context. If we just take the sutta, literally, it might sound a little bit like a quaint set of ideas from an agrarian society, during some idealistic time when there wasn't war, or famine or plague, right, you know, living, doing well at one's career and supporting one's family and so forth. But I think with just a little bit of mental flexibility, we can,
you know, we can really see it as very relevant even in even in modern life, right now. So in particular, we could notice how different steps can deepen over time, it's not that we have to take them just at their face value, it might be that we understand them a certain way now. And then we understand them a different a certain step a different way, a few years from now. And then after we've been practicing for 2530 years, we see a different meaning in the very same text, this very same part of the text. So you know, we could start with a literal idea of supporting one's family. Now, this text support says that we should support our family. So we could consider that quite literally, you know, we might have children that we are literally supporting, we may have elderly parents that are in need of some literal support. But as we practice on the path, we begin to realize, you know, actually, even beyond the literal, material, supportive, various ways that I supply to people, my mindfulness Practice is also somehow supporting other people. There's a wonderful other sutta that talks about two acrobats who are performing together on a poll. And they eat, they noticed that, if they are each, if they're trying to be mindful of the other one, you know, you'll be mindful of me and all be mindful of you. And that way, we'll be safe. The Buddha says, No, that isn't actually such a good idea. If each of you is mindful of your own welfare, you will automatically be protecting the other person. And if you're balancing on this pool, and in our life is a lot like that we're balancing our life is like balancing on a pool, sometimes, with all of the different relationships and jobs and things we have to take care of. And the two suitors are clear that mindfulness for ourselves automatically is protective of other people, because we're not as reactive, we're more economists about what's going on. And so we have more mental space to be able to be compassionate and caring for others. So we start to see oh, now going back to the Mangala sutta support for one's parents and relatives and children is included when I'm doing my practice. know, when I get up and I sit every morning before I take care of my family, that is also part of the support for them. And then, you know, maybe we also begin to see that the word family doesn't have to be literal, you know, of course, we have our relatives and always will,
by genetics, but what about our sangha, you know, maybe that's our chosen family. As we go through life, we have other people on the path, dear dharma friends that are just as close to us as family. They're our family in the world of the dharma, or the family, as heirs in the Buddhist teachings, something like that. So we start broadening what we mean by family, maybe we eventually mean the human family or the family of all living beings, if our heart gets very, very wide. So we can see that the same words in the text can deepen and change over time as we develop. And we can also look back, it's not that this text is linear. So it's not like we start with associating with the y is not associated with fools. And then we go check. I got that one. Now, I'm on to stanza number two. And when I got that one done, I can go on, it's actually, you know, we see that these mutually reinforce, and they really all developed together. For so for example, like after we've developed some patience and heard the dharma, which is, you know, later on in the text, we may have a deeper or a different relationship with our work and community life, which came earlier on in the sutta. So it's not really linear. And we don't have to sit there and read the sutta and say, Okay, where am I at? How far have I penetrated into all these things? It's that they all evolved together, even the part about seeing freedom. Near the end, we've all had glimpses of something that is a free like a free moment where we weren't caught up. No, we had that moment where 50 times before this, we would have gotten angry at this moment. And we didn't one time, and we say, Wow, and then the next moment, we're back, and but still, we had that moment of freedom. So even there, we've we've already done that, and then we can move back and continue with the other ones. So this is an advantage of these less systematized early teachings is that we get a more flexible idea of how dharma practice shapes a person's life, maybe at the cost of having to look at it a little bit more carefully to discern, Oh, that's right, the steps of the eightfold path are all in there. So for a lay contemplative, let's say we're late contemplatives, we would explore how to be in the world but not fully of it, if you will, how can we include renunciation and Buddhist Wisdom like a Nietzsche dukkha anattā, while still participating in society, I think this is something that we have to do each for ourselves. But suitors like this can point us to sort of key things that we would want to look for, we would want to pay attention to. So in a sense, this, this sutta is about an alignment of our body and our speech and our mind. That's also about an alignment of our body and our heart and our mind. It's in about an alignment of sila, Samadhi and Ponyo. There's a lot in there. So we could, we could ask, you know, which of these dimensions named in this sutta are already robust in my life? And which ones might be a bit neglected? Or things that I haven't quite focused on yet? Would there be ways to kind of shore up the parts that aren't so well developed yet, in order that the path is more complete, and more holistic? So that's something that I offer as a possible way of reflecting on this sutta going forward, if it if it's of interest? So let me pause here for a moment and ask if you have any questions at this point. And I can't see everybody on the screen, we have quite a few people. So if you could raise your resume. And if you want to ask a question, that would be great. That's found on the reactions tab, there's a bar that says raise hand and you just click on on that. Does anyone have any questions? Yeah, Shauna, please feel free to unmute.
Well, I was just thinking about my foolish family members. And you know, I still need to be well caring of them, even if they're foolish. And
so I'm just, I'm just thinking about that. You know, kind of like, I have to think about that more, but I was just thinking that
I'm sure I'm not the only one who has foolish family. And what bullish bullish means, actually, maybe it could mean, you know, something more toxic than the word foolish, foolish sounds, kind of almost, it sounds kind of friendly, friendly, you know, idiosyncrasies that maybe some people have, but I think that that here, it might mean something deeper. So
yeah. So the word foolish there. Bala is it typically means it's the opposite of wisdom. So it means someone who is not conducting their life wisely or who does not understand their life in a wise way. And it does have I think it's meant to have a somewhat gentle sound to it. Although I've heard I've also had people react to the word foolish and say, Why is it say that, but it does, it does mean that the person is headed for dukkha, you know, that there's some misunderstanding there. And so that can provide a clue that one of the ways to support such people is to have compassion. You know, we know that the way that they're acting or thinking or speaking, will eventually bring about some kind of dukkha. And there may not be anything we can do about that, you know, we don't need to be their dharma teacher, or always point out the right way, that doesn't always work as we know. So we have to be more creative in our lives and finding ways to support these people. And, you know, sometimes the best support is to internally have a lot, a lot of clarity that we have compassion, or that we have equanimity, about being with them, and that at least, doesn't stir up anything more. And we can still look also for opportunities to plant seeds of wisdom in their lives, but it can be challenging. Sometimes, the fools are our greatest teachers, though, aren't they? Yeah. Yeah. And I think we can, maybe one thing other thing I'll say about the fools in the wise people is that, you know, we don't understand somebody to be to be a fool, that person is always a fool or even that person is always wise these are qualities of actions or qualities of mind state, that they have and we ourselves have our moments of foolishness and are moments of wisdom. So we can remember that it refers really to the action and and not to the, to a person as always being forever unchangeably that way. Does that help? Laurie, please go ahead and unmute.
Hi, thank you. I'm kind of fascinated by the day divers and humans being together in this the beginning? Can you say a little bit more about what? are they hanging out the same way that humans are? Or is this make them sort of us equal to them in any way? Or?
Well? Yeah, the deva in the sutta is playing the rule of asking the question of the Buddha. Yeah. And there's, you know, there's a little bit of the cosmology and mythology of the Buddhist world being shown here. But the understanding is that of all the different planes of being and maybe we don't have time to go through what they all are, but devas and humans occupy the plains where it's possible to learn the dharma and practice the dharma. And deva is, although they're called Gods, you know that, that just means they're in heaven, the heavenly realms, which are not permanent, any more than the human realm is in this Buddhist understanding. And a lot of the gods there, the deva is there are not awake, you're not necessarily wise to get up there, you go there through good karma. So people who have done good actions have done great acts of generosity, who have been kept the precepts in their lives as humans, or who have cultivated various stages of concentration can be reborn in the deva realms, but without insight without penetrating wisdom into the Four Noble Truths, the person is still not awake, and they'll have to live out their life there and then, and move on. So that's at least the kind of literal interpretation in terms of Buddhist cosmology, we could also think of them as states of states of mind psychological states, you know, this is our higher, a higher self that wanders the part of us that wonders, how can I have a good life? Look at this world, it's amazing, it's wonderful, it's beautiful. It's terrible. It's tragic. Where's the path through all of this? And that's actually quite an elevated question to ask. And so it's put in the mouth of a of a deva in this case. But certainly the not all the deva 's are awake, some of them are not all. And some of them have the ability to come into the human realm. So without going into a lot of detail, some of the Davis do have bodies and can, can appear. Does that get it? That's a general and sort
of specific kind of lovely, in a way, just to think of that. But yeah, it's sort of working on the same in the same realms that the humans are, what's a little extra, don't know,
they live a lot longer, and their lives are more pleasant, they have an easier time of it. In terms of the five senses, they don't have as much dukkha, physical dukkha as we do, but actually, here's the the real kicker is that the human realm was considered better for practice than the deva realm, because precisely because it's a little harder. So we have just the right combination of pleasure and pain, that we are motivated to practice, because we have the course lives that are involve a lot of bodily dukkha. And whereas the deva is have a little bit more refined, easier time of it. And so they're not as motivated things are pretty pleasant. And so it's a little harder for them to understand impermanence and dukkha. And humans have an easier time with that. So it's actually considered the most auspicious birth to be born as a human, so good for us.
The other thing I really liked, and I'll just leave it as is the second to last line, they are secure wherever they go, I think.
So people who are angry have found the real safety. Actually, I'm glad you pointed that out. Because that's a it's an echo back, it's this translation can that I read conceals it a little bit. But when the deva comes in, asks, the Buddha says, many gods and humans desiring well-being are seekers of good fortune. Other translations have a little bit more nuance on that where they point out that what deva is in humans seek is security, or safety in their lives. I think the words in it, the words that are translated, do have that nuance. And so when we get to the very last stanza, where it says, They are secure wherever they go, that saying that the highest security is to be free. It's not actually any blessing that you can get through creating a good life. It's the insight into the Four Noble Truths and eventually full awakening. That is really the only way in this changing world to be completely Be safe. So thank you for pointing that out. Lauren. Can be Jerry and then this will be the last one.
Thank you. So maybe I missed it. I was I was looking for and wondering about the lack of reference to meditation and mindfulness concentration. Maybe was implied somewhere or is it just not considered one of the factors of blessings?
Yeah, I think I think you're right. It's not named specifically. But we could put it in something like the hearing of dharma, the discussion of dharma that are not meditative, but then we have asceticism, and the spiritual life. So that word for asceticism is not the best translation the word is tobacco, which literally means burning. But it also has to do with the process of purification, that one would go through, partially through doing meditation practices is to really purify the mind at a deeper level than we can purify through bodily action and good karma. So it's your right, these they aren't mindfulness and concentration, like jhāna or such are not literally named, but I'm inserting them into those later steps where the mind eventually realizes the Four Noble Truths. And that's usually done through meditative practice.
Thank you. Okay. Thank you. Good. So let's see, oh, at this point, why don't we settle in and do a short meditation together as he had another way to connect with these teachings. So finding a pastor posture where you'll be able to see it, it's just a relatively short sitting. But if you need to move or shift slightly, it's fine to do that. And if it's comfortable to do so you can close your eyes
and connect in with your body, feeling the body in the sitting posture or if you're lying down in the lying down posture
perhaps feeling in particularly to the heart area in the belly area, helping to lower our attention down into the body a case it's up in the head, softening the shoulders, letting them drop away from the ears softening down through the belly releasing any bracing in the arms or the legs and also feeling the straightness of the spine.
So we have a
straight core of the body and then softening around it upright and also relaxed. In this setting, we'll do a recollection of some of the blessings in our life. This is not quite the same as gratitude. recollection of blessings means bringing to mind these qualities, maybe even feeling them in the body and then knowing them as good meaning onward leading for the path. So we bring in wisdom So this evening we've all gotten to hear the dharma know for yourself the goodness of that every one of us is at this moment healthy enough to sit for this teaching and hear it that's a great blessing to have that level of health everyone here has enough material resources to have access to this computer to have the mental ability to use it now the goodness of that that it's an onward leading part of the path every one of us has done some degree quite a bit actually of ethical conduct in our life
it hasn't been perfect, but it's been quite good. And just knowing the goodness of our heart goodness of our intentions
we all have the ability to meditate quite rare in this world maybe just breathing through the body feeling the energy whatever goodness you can recollect about your life about your path breathing it through every cell in the body. Truly we have an abundance of material and mental and spiritual blessings.
So it feels good to do that kind of recollection. And we can note also that other suitors say that this kind of reflection is wholesome. It's not at all selfish. And doing a recollection like this from time to time helps us have what's called delight in the dharma and it also is said to be one of the factors that leads to Samadhi to concentration. So it's perfectly fine to be fully aware of the goodness in our life
so I thought it would be nice if there was an opportunity for you to discuss a little bit with each other about this suitor yet another way to approach it. And just so you know, the timing will be coming back into the main room around 830 and a half hour so it's it's just a short, breakout group. But the question, I want to read the question first, and then I'm going to, well, then you can click on the link that's in, in the chat, because you're going to be looking at the sutta. So the question for you is which of these stances? Which of the, you know, there's the 11 stances of the Buddha's answer, which one just stands out to you, as relevant to your life right now, you can kind of glance through them, you don't have to read them all in detail and think about it in great detail. Just scan through, see what catches your eye does a word, a particular word or phrase, catch your eye. And if you if you have any thoughts about how you might engage with this path, factor or aspect of your life, and so it will be a little group and it would be nice, if you could go around, just go around twice, and each person will say, which stands or they've chosen or which word or which phrase, and then go around again and say kind of one thing on how you might engage with it. And if you get to go around a second time, that's good, too. But just find something in there that's meaningful to you personally, and share that and how you might engage with it. Good to see you again. So then I'm, I'm curious. Does anyone have anything they'd like to share in this wider group? I'm certainly curious. What was the most interesting part of the suitor for you? Or which words or phrases stood out? Does anyone have any comments at this point? I see a chat that someone enjoyed the breakout room. That's great.
Well, I'd like the next to last answer, which is a mind that remains hand shaking. Because I think so many of the things that we would like to practice is predicated on having a mind that is not constantly moving. That's for
sure. That's for sure. And we're so much more beneficial to other people also, when we're not shaking all the time.
Yeah, and then we don't have to say the wrong things, you know, so on and so forth. And create backhaul.
A lot of wisdom in what you're saying. Thank you. Other comments? Were there any questions at this point? Oh, dt? Yeah. No, I
just wanted to say it was really good to be in the breakout. Because when you're just like, you know, listening, you don't really engage. But here I was forced to see what I really like which one and which one I want to work on. So thank you for that. Okay, great.
And Ron? Oh, you're still muted. You'll need to unmute.
Often when I become unmuted, it doesn't add anything but like to thank you. In our group, there was some discussion on the very last stands about security, and perhaps where security comes from. And I was wondering if you could somehow connect that or see if there is a connection between that and the Buddha's teaching on dependent origination, and how self reliance and personal dependence comes out of a deeper understanding of dependent origination.
So certainly, the deepest security is not to be fooled by any anything that arises. Right. So we're not we can't be drawn in we can't be shaken by things that are enticing. We don't fall into wanting them things that are difficult or ugly or disturbing. We don't push them away and hate them. So I think that's the and when we don't and we see everything clearly which and that that's the part that would include understanding dependent origination, so non delusion essentially. So when we see everything clearly, including how things are interrelated, and the patterns that we know lead to dukkha and the patterns that we know don't lead to dukkha And that lead to non dukkha then the mind is safe from getting caught into the cycle that is dependent origination right that describes how the mind reacting from a place of ignorance starting from a place of ignorance grasps on to sense experience creates itself and then suffers. So the ultimate security is not to bite the bait and not to fall into that trap. Does that land?
Yes, yes, that's, that's helpful. I was also wondering, yeah, this idea of dependent origination, this idea of cause and effect. Would part of that being the fact that well, we are active agents, we make choices, we can create conditions. So is it is that consistent with we can we can create the conditions in our own life that will generate security.
I think we could say that the, the earlier parts of the Mangala sutra are pointing exactly to that is that we're, as I said about the Mangala, we don't see it as something that just sort of falls from heaven to us as a blessing or is good fortune, like, oh, it was just lucky. But that we're putting conditions in place. And a lot of the earlier part of the pseudo where it talks about supporting one's family having a good vocation acting honestly, in one's work. All of these things are putting conditions in place. And we do have some choice about that, in the sense that when we can discern which is the right way and the wrong way, we can take action put energy into the things that are going to further the path, I can't quite completely endorse that language, because eventually we see that it wasn't exactly us doing that. But that's a fine way to see it at the beginning is if we act as if we're the ones making these choices, what will unfold will be an understanding that goes beyond that, that goes beyond the need to be an actor to be an agent. So it will, it will create itself that that fuller picture will create itself.
Thank you very much. It's very helpful. I appreciate it.
Great. Um, and then on the phone, is that Michael?
i Yes. It's Michael, I am really grateful you put us in this in the breakout group, because it was very sweet, watered my happiness seeds and got me thinking about the writing and action plans. And it was interesting, very interesting and helpful. So the boss.
Great, thank you. It's good to hear that. Eileen. And then. And that'll be the last one for now.
Thank you very much for this session. Kim, I, I'm so grateful that you pointed out the connection with the Noble Eightfold Path. I just saw read it in solid, it's a bunch of ideas. But I did not see any of the pattern. Like you were pointing out the different parts of the eightfold path. So I appreciate you highlighting that and bringing it up. I'd say the part that I related to the parts I related to had to do with you know, wanting a stable mind, but not having it. And the importance of having insight into things myself, because I'm experiencing things that I know dharma teachers have taught told me, you know, pleasure and happiness are not the same thing and so on. But seeing it myself has been, you know, sometimes a rude awakening, like, Oh, if I go for the chocolate candy, it doesn't make me happy. But you know, applying it day to day and seeing that my mind is always wanting, wanting wanting happiness. That's what it wants, but it's doing all the wrong things together. So I had to see that myself. And so having the insert yourself it was in one of the lines in the stands out there. See for yourself is obviously but I'm saying the obvious but really very important. Thank you. Beautiful.
It's the dharma is so simple, but it's not easy. And, you know, making it specific to our lives I think is very much the point of the path. And that your question is exactly what the deva asks. You know, we will How to Be happy. How do we do it and we can see in our own lives that we don't always pursue happiness in the way that it can actually come about. And so this text says, if you actually want happiness, these are the steps and it will work out. Great. Well, I'm delighted to hear that this is starting to land. So there's actually Oh, let me just do one thing for switches in order that we can land and a little bit more smoothly, I would like to post now, the Donna link for this session. And what I'm posting is a special Donald link such that they will know it's for this particular session, the sati center, people will know it's for this particular session. So then we won't have to do that at the end. So I want to end with just one more dimension of this sutta. I said earlier that we would both begin and end with the oral tradition. And the Mangala sutta is a classic sutta that used today in modern day Tera Vaada Buddhism, as in a form of suiting calls, a form of chanting, called perretta chanting. And these are special protective blessings that are done on auspicious occasions or when protection or healing is needed. And there's a whole bunch of them are Mangala sutra is one of mettā sutta is one you may have heard of that. Also the rottenness sutta from the same collection and a number of other ones. So perintah chanting is very common in Tera Vaada countries in Asia. And if you visited a Theravāda monastery here in the West, you may have heard it also, a group of monks will chant a series of chants, some of them sutras like the Mangala sutta in a particular style where the sound is nearly continuous. And it's done that way and they can't breathe, but there's enough of them that when one drops out to take a breath, everybody else is continuing and then they come back in and somebody else can take a breath later. At least that's a common way to do it. And so the listeners of these for these chants the spirit a chance enter into a protective field that's created by the sound and invokes both protection and healing and it often includes inviting deities or other forces to come and then depart at the end. And then functionally Britta chanting unifies a community and creates a safe emotional space that acknowledges sometimes the troublesome more difficult aspects of life so it has some religious purpose also, I'm telling you all this so as I'm going to play the chat, and you'll be able to hear and enter this field. I want to give a little quote from Sarah Shaw, who has done some work in this area she says in perintah texts guarding blessing and the transformation of energies in a clear and awake field of being are felt to affect the restoration of psychological and spiritual health for the individual who need this help and also for the participants. So I better get to it so we only have a couple of minutes and the chant takes three minutes so I hope you'll stay for it. Let me get that up I'm going to put the text on the screen also. Because the chat is in Pāli see if this works
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pretty good, huh. So you can feel the the field that gets created there. So we're at the end of our time, I hope you've enjoyed this different angles of exploring this sutta. And maybe if I hope all of them landed but if not, then maybe at least some of them did and there's many different ways to engage with it. And I hope it might be you know, meaningful as it goes on and the world needs contemplatives to be reflecting about their lives and how to bring about these kinds of blessings and how to create a better world for all of us. So, just ending with a quick sharing of marriage may what we've done this evening, the of good fortune and auspicious for us and for everyone that we come in contact with. May all of you find the deep blessings of the spiritual life all the way from material life to mental development to full awakening. May all beings be happy, peaceful and free. Thank you