Buddha’s Guide to Peace and Happiness
The Buddha’s Guide to Peace and Happiness is based on the Sigalovada Sutta, one of his greatest and most valuable set of teachings. It deals with basic morality, building and preserving wealth, friendships, the reciprocal responsibilities in social relationships, and the qualities of successful persons. This teaching benefits both individuals and society as a whole too.
The sutta is named after
Sigala, a young man who lived during the time of the Buddha.
Sigala was headstrong, materialistic and stubborn and always had
many excuses for not paying respects to the Buddha or even going to
temples. The parents of this
young man were devotees of the Buddha but they could not make him follow
their footsteps. His father,
a very wealthy man was worried that Sigala would go astray and fritter
away the fortune that he stood to inherit.
After a major illness,
the father called Sigala to his deathbed to convey his final wishes. He requested that Sigala worship the six directions of the
East, South, West, North, the Nadir and the Zenith every morning.
As this was a common religious practice in India at the time,
Sigala agreed and was obedient enough to perform this ritual faithfully
As hoped for by his
father, the Buddha came across Sigala one morning as he was worshipping
the six directions. The
Buddha then asked Sigala why he was doing this and
Sigala replied that he was merely carrying out the dying wishes of
The Buddha then
proceeded to give a new and more meaningful explanation to this ritual.
The explanation formed the basis of the discourse that we now come
to know as the Sigalovada Sutta. At
the end of the discourse, Sigala took refuge in the Buddha and became one
of his devout followers.
hurting and killing living beings 
taking what is not given 
sexual misconduct 
virtuous person will not be led astray by desire, anger, ignorance or
The Buddha starts by
laying the foundation for basic morality which everyone, without
exception, should make an effort to live by.
We should not cause suffering by hurting or killing, or by stealing
or telling lies, or by adultery. We
do not wish suffering to come to us in these ways, and thus we should not
be the cause of such suffering to others.
Anyone who habitually
commits such acts will sooner or later get into trouble.
This is just common sense. Avoiding
these four actions, as well as avoiding the misuse of alcohol and drugs,
comprise the Five Precepts which all practicing Buddhists try their best
On a broader level, each
individual actually also helps to protect society by avoiding these
negative actions. And by
individuals collectively avoiding these actions, each individual
is thus protected by society too. The
Buddha therefore placed great importance on these foundations of morality,
and here lies the basis of peace and happiness for both individuals and
All living beings include animals and not just human beings.
This includes property that someone misplaced or left behind. Where
possible, an effort should be made to return such property to the rightful
also includes copyrights and
intellectual property where counterfeiting
and piracy cause loss to the actual owners.
This means adultery, being involved with the loved ones of others,
and forcing oneself on someone unwilling.
 This includes all forms of false speech and words which cause harm such as libel, slander, gossip and spreading rumours.