Mangala Sutta

Venue: TIMS

Ven. Kumara continues with the sermon on the Mangala Sutta by expounding the next four blessings:

much knowledge,


being well-disciplined and

well-spoken speech.

There are two types of knowledge: worldly knowledge and spiritual knowledge. Worldly knowledge equips us with the means to live in this world, but spiritual knowledge teaches us how to live. Sometimes we spend a lot of time acquiring worldly knowledge that we do not need. This includes some of the subjects that are taught in school.

In regards to spiritual knowledge, Sayadaw U Pandita once said that one should live such that one profits from this life, and not fritter it away. This means that one should practise generosity, let go of defilements and cultivate a pure mind. Spiritual knowledge enables one to differentiate between wholesome and unwholesome deeds and live accordingly. How does one gather spiritual knowledge? That is done by listening to and reading about the Dhamma.

Acquiring the right type of skills constitutes the next blessing. Monks need to be skilled in imparting the Dhamma. They also need to know how to make robes. Nowadays they may also have to be skilled in information technology. Lay people should learn skills that do not harm others. For example, skills like making wine and poison are harmful skills. Good skills are like teaching, doing proper business, repairing, etc.

The next blessing is being well disciplined. It is important to keep the five basic precepts and to keep refining one’s precepts. It is not an easy process, but it can be done. One just has to be persistent enough. A lay person should also try to keep the eight precepts on the right occasions.

The final blessing in today’s talk is that of well-spoken speech. This means that one refrains from lying, talk that causes disharmony, harsh speech and idle talk.

The Buddha did not tell any lie at all for many past lives. As such, what he said was very powerful and when he spoke, everyone paid attention.

For some reason, same parents tend to scold their children improperly. They do so in front of others, as if they want to shame them. That would not be proper speech. Children have feelings too, and are not likely to listen to advice when scolded that way.


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