According to Pathama-idhalokikasutta (AN 8:49), Visakha once approached our Lord Buddha in Pubbarama (the monastery she had donated to the Buddha and the Sangha) at Savatthi. After she had paid respects and sat to one side, our Lord Buddha then told her that there are 4 conditions that will bring success to a woman in this life.
- She is able to perform her chores well (such as helping her husband in his business).
- She takes good care of the people in her household.
- She is faithful to her husband.
- She learns how to manage her husband’s wealth and does not spend money unnecessarily.
A woman is working towards success in this life if she has those qualities but that does not mean that she will be successful in her next life unless she further fulfills the following conditions:
- She has faith in the Buddha.
- She is virtuous.
- She is generous and performs dana.
- She has wisdom.
In order to have faith in the Buddha it is important that we investigate the Dhamma as taught by the Blessed One. There are two kinds of faith: blind faith and faith through understanding the Dhamma. But even if you ignorantly developed blind faith in our Lord Buddha, do not worry. Sooner or later when you get to hear the good Dhamma, you will develop the other kind of faith.
A person develops virtue when she keeps the basic Five Precepts. We should all strive to keep our precepts well. Many people say that it is not easy to observe the precepts. Well, if it is easy to observe them, then heaven will be overly populated and the woeful planes will be empty.
Those of us who are born in this country must have been generous and performed dana in our previous life because we are not deprived of clothing, food, shelter or medicine due to poverty. May all of us continue to do more dana whenever there is opportunity to do so.
There are 3 levels of wisdom:
- That achieved through listening to/learning about Dhamma
- That achieved through reflection on the Dhamma learnt
- That achieved when one meditates.
The highest wisdom we can reach is by meditation and that is only after we have gone through the first and second stages of wisdom.
I hope you will reflect on the Dhamma you have just listened to today and seek to understand and experience it. If because of kammic reasons you are unable to achieve meditative wisdom now, at least try to listen to good Dhamma as much as possible as it will conduce to your own enlightenment in the future. Life on earth is extremely short when compared to that in heaven. Do not be like any Tom, Dick or Harry with an aimless life.