Last week, Ven. Kumara expounded the blessing of dana. Today he continues with the next three blessings of the Mangala Sutta
Dhammacariya, or righteous living, means to do good, avoid evil and purify the mind. If one does dana but at the same time does bad deeds, then one may not get to be reborn even as a human being. Instead, one may be born an animal with a life of material comfort such as a pet dog or cat pampered by its rich owner. So, morality should not be neglected. If one has morality as well as does dana and purifies the mind, then one can achieve Nibbana.
There is the story of a Brahmin whose father passed away recently. Believing that rites can help the deceased to reborn in a higher realm and that the Buddha is very powerful, he went to ask him to perform rites for his deceased father. The Buddha asked him to bring a pot into which some butter is placed. He then asked the man to throw the pot into a nearby pond. The pot, together with the butter, sank to the bottom.
After that, the Buddha asked him to summon his brahmin priests to perform rites so that the pot may rise. Dumbfounded, he told the Buddha that it was impossible since the pot was heavy. At that point, the Buddha said, “In the same way, those with evil kamma will sink to a lower realm. No rites can help them.”
The Buddha then asked him to break the pot with a stick. He did that and the butter, freed from the pot, floated up. The Buddha compared the butter with those who did good. Those deeds naturally propel them to better realms.
We should support our relatives according to our abilities. Support can be in terms of rendering help when needed, e.g. during a family bereavement. In the case of families with financial difficulty due to bad habits (such as gambling or drinking), it is not so wise to give money. In this case, it would be better to give in kind.
Rendering service is a form of meritorious work. On holy days, people should go to the temples to help. Do not engage in unwholesome occupations even if they do not entail breaking one’s precepts. Four types of occupations fall into this category:
Trading weapons: One should not sell weapons that are used to kill either humans or animals.
Trading living beings: This includes trading people as slaves or prostitutes and raising animals for slaughter.
Trading meat: This means meat production and butchery.
Trading poison: Poisons include those used to kill humans (such as chemical weapons) or animals (such as pesticides and insecticides).
Trading drugs and other intoxicants: The making and selling of alcohol and drugs.