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

Buddha Weekly Buddha teaching Buddhism

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:

Buddha Weekly Buddha teaching monks Buddhism

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.

Thay Thich Nhat Hanh

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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