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Monday, April 21, 2008

Reasons for opulence and happiness and causes for ruin

Reasons for opulence and happiness and causes for ruin

By Gamini Jayasinghe - Daily Mirror

More than two thousand five hundred years ago, Buddha enunciated four causes that lead to weal and happiness in this world and four other causes for the spiritual progress, conducive to the good and happiness of a noble son in the other world. The Exalted One also enunciated twelve causes for some one to face a ruinous state.

On one occasion, the Blessed One was dwelling amongst the Kolians, His maternal relatives in the town named Kakkarapatta. A Kolian son named Dighajanu approached Him and requested Him to preach the Doctrine or things that lead to weal and happiness in this world and things conducive to the good and happiness in the other world.

The literary meaning of Dighajanu is ‘long knee.’ Dighajanu’s family name was Vyaggapajja, so called because his ancestors were born on a forest path infested with tigers.

The four causes the Enlightened One enunciated for the good and happiness in this very life are Uttanasampada–the achievement through persistent effort, Arakkhanasampada–the achievement of wariness, Kalyanamittata – good friendship and Samajivikata–balanced livelihood.

The Enlightened One told Vyaggapajja that whatever the occupation of a clansman, whether a cultivator, herdsman, trader, soldier, a public servant or an artisan of any sort, he is able to manage his job if he becomes skillful and not become lazy. If he is skillful, he will be endowed with reasoning as to ways and means thereof. “This is called the achievement of persistent effort,” the Buddha said, explaining the meaning of Arakkhasampada. The Enlightened One told Vyaggapajja that if a person who is in possession of resources earned by right means, by dint of effort, by strength of arms and by the sweat of his brow and if the resources are managed economically and well protected, the king would not seize them, thieves would not steel them, fire would not burn them, water will not destroy them and ill disposed heirs will not carry away them. “That is the achievement of wariness,” Buddha told Vyaggapajja and explained the third cause “Kalyanamittata” good friendship.

The Enlightened One told Vyaggapajja that if a clansman has house holders and house holders’ sons young or old but highly cultured, full of faith, (Saddha), full or virtue (Sila) full of charity (Caga) and full of wisdom (Panna) to move about and work together and to engage in discussions, that is his achievement of ‘Kalyanamitta’–good friendship whether he lives in a village or a town. The Blessed One told Vyaggapajja that the fourth requirement for a clansman to be conducive to the good and happiness is ‘Samajivikata’–balanced livelihood. “There should be a balance between income and expenditure.” Buddha told Vyggapajja.

One should not spend everything one earns like a man who shakes the tree to eat wood apple. When he shakes the tree all the fruits fall. He eats some of them but most of the fruits get wasted. Income should not be in excess of expenditure. There should be some savings. This does not mean that one should be a miser, but one should lead a steady life being neither too extravagant nor too sordid. Abstinence from debauchery or behaving in an immoral manner, abstinence from drunkenness, non-indulgence in gambling and friendship, companionship and intimacy with the good are the four sources of development.

Thathagtaha also explained four things that are conducive to the good and happiness of a noble person in the next world. They are Saddha Sampadha – achievement of faith, Sila Sampada – achievement of virtue, Caga Sampada – achievement of charity and Panna Sampada – achievement of wisdom. Saddha Sampada is the faith in the Enlightenment of the Thathagatha, the Blessed One.

Sila Sampada or the achievement of virtue is the abstinence from killing, stealing, lewdness, lying and indulge in intoxicants that cause infatuation and heedlessness.

Caga Sampada, the achievement of charity is to be with heart free from the stain of avarice, devoted to charity, open handed and delighting in generosity. “If a clansman is wise, is endowed with wisdom that leads to one’s development and with noble penetrative insight that leads to the complete destruction of suffering, that is called the achievement of wisdom,” Buddha told Vyagapajja.

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