This is the Great Happiness: Mangala Sutta, The Sutra on Happiness, the Tathagata’s Teaching

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The Buddha gives a teaching.

“To be humble and polite in manner,

To be grateful and content with a simple life,

Not missing the occasion to learn the Dharma

This is the great happiness.”

— Shakyamuni Buddha

Among my favorite Sutras is the Mangala Sutra (Sutta), the Happiness Sutra. Although there are great commentaries, this Mangala Sutta is full of easy-to-follow advice. It makes a wonderful daily chant. Here, is the translated English version from the great Thich Nhat Hanh in verse form with rhythm, making it easy to chant as a daily or regular practice. For a commentary, I recommend “Awakening of the Heart: Essential Buddhist Sutras and Commentaries” by Thich Nhat Hanh. [1]

May all beings be happy and free from suffering. Here is the Mangala Sutra in full:

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The Buddha teaching.

I heard these words of the Buddha one time when the Lord was living in the vicinity of Savatthi at the Anathapindika Monastery in the Jeta Grove. Late at night, a deva appeared whose light and beauty made the whole Jeta Grove shine radiantly. After paying respects to the Buddha, the deva asked him a question in the form of a verse:

“Many gods and men are eager to know
what are the greatest blessings
which bring about a peaceful and happy life.
Please, Tathagata, will you teach us?”

(This is the Buddha’s answer):

“Not to be associated with the foolish ones,
to live in the company of wise people,
honoring those who are worth honoring —
this is the greatest happiness.

“To live in a good environment,
to have planted good seeds,
and to realize that you are on the right path —
this is the greatest happiness.

“To have a chance to learn and grow,
to be skillful in your profession or craft,
practicing the precepts and loving speech —
this is the greatest happiness.

“To be able to serve and support your parents,
to cherish your own family,
to have a vocation that brings you joy —
this is the greatest happiness.

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Affectionately known as Thay, Thich Nhat Hanh’s English translations of sutra is among the best.

“To live honestly, generous in giving,
to offer support to relatives and friends,
living a life of blameless conduct —
this is the greatest happiness.

“To avoid unwholesome actions,
not caught by alcoholism or drugs,
and to be diligent in doing good things —
this is the greatest happiness.

“To be humble and polite in manner,
to be grateful and content with a simple life,
not missing the occasion to learn the Dharma —
this is the greatest happiness.

“To persevere and be open to change,
to have regular contact with monks and nuns,
and to fully participate in Dharma discussions —
this is the greatest happiness.

“To live diligently and attentively,
to perceive the Noble Truths,
and to realize Nirvana —
this is the greatest happiness.

“To live in the world
with your heart undisturbed by the world,
with all sorrows ended, dwelling in peace —
this is the greatest happiness.

“For he or she who accomplishes this,
unvanquished wherever she goes,
always he is safe and happy —
happiness lives within oneself.”

Mahamangala Sutta, Sutta Nipata 1

NOTES

[1]  Awakening of the Heart: Essential Buddhist Sutras and Commentaries, Thich Naht Hanh

  • Paperback: 544 pages
  • Publisher: Parallax Press; Original edition (December 21, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1937006115
  • ISBN-13: 978-1937006112
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Josephine Nolan

Author | Buddha Weekly

Josephine Nolan is an editor and contributing feature writer for several online publications, including EDI Weekly and Buddha Weekly. She is Editor-in-Chief for Blogertize Publications.

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