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Discourse on Happiness

Mahamangala Sutta,  Sutta Nipata, 1
Plum Village Chanting Book

I heard these words of the Buddha one time when the Lord was living in the vicinity of Shravasti 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 honouring —

this is the greatest happiness.

“To live in a good environment,

to have planted wholesome 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 precepts and loving speech —

this is the greatest happiness.

“To be able to serve and support your parents,

to cherish and love your family and

to have a vocation which brings you joy —

this is the greatest happiness.

“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 clearly avoid unwholesome actions,

not caught by alcoholism or drugs,

to diligently walk on the path of good —

this is the greatest happiness.

“To be humble and polite in manner,

grateful, 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,

make regular contact with monks and nuns,

and fully participate in Dharma discussions —

this is the greatest happiness.

“To live diligently and attentively,

to learn about what is wonderfully true,

and to be free of wrong perceptions —

this is the greatest happiness.

“To live together in the world

with mind and heart undisturbed,

all sorrows ended, dwelling in peace —

this is the greatest happiness.

“For he or she who accomplishes this

peaceful and safe in every place,

stable and free at any time —

Happiness lives within oneself.”