The Buddha's Guide to Peace and Happiness
1. Basic Morality
2. Building and
    Managing Wealth
3. Protecting Assets
    and Wealth
4. False Friends
    and True Friends
5. Protecting
6. Qualities for

How to Accumulate Wealth
1. Material Wealth
    and Progress
2. Spiritual Wealth
    and Progress

How to Avoid Downfall
1. Material Downfall
2. Moral Downfall
3. Spiritual Downfall

A Life of Blessings
1. The Essential
2. The Supporting
3. The Personal
4. The Higher
5. The Supreme


A Life of Blessings

The Mangala Sutta


A Life of Blessings is based on the Mangala Sutta, or Discourse on Blessings, one of the most important and well-known teachings in Buddhism.  In this sutta, the Buddha described what the highest blessings in life are, and the way of progress to eventually attain the ultimate blessing of lasting peace and happiness. 

The Buddha was asked what is the best or most auspicious omen that can be encountered by someone at the start of the day.  Omens in ancient India were believed to foretell good luck and fortune for the coming day.  These omens included seeing certain sights, hearing certain names mentioned, and encountering certain smells or tastes. 

The Buddha did not reply directly to the question but used it to deliver one of his most exquisite and comprehensive teachings.  In his answer, he did not say what the best omens are, but instead explained what the true blessings in life are, and how we can obtain these blessings for ourselves. 

Thus instead of looking out for superstitious signs or portents in the hope of getting luck and fortune, the Buddha said that we can create our own good fortune or blessings.  It is therefore clear that we each can choose the direction in life we wish to take, and control our own destinies.  

We can thus obtain all the blessings we want to receive through our own efforts and without depending on any external factors such as omens, gods, prayers or rituals.  And we should look to acquire not just the shallow and changeable blessings of luck and fortune, but the blessings which are of genuine and lasting importance.

In the Mangala Sutta, the Buddha said that there are 38 highest blessings in life.  The reason why there are so many different ‘highest blessings’ is because what may be the ‘highest blessing’ for one, may not be so for another.  A person at a particular stage in life has a ‘highest blessing’ appropriate for his or her own individual stage of development.  Therefore as a person grows, so also does the ‘highest blessing’ change, and working towards further ‘highest blessings’ leads to more progress along the path.

The 38 blessings can be categorized into five different groups : the Essential Blessings, Supporting Blessings, Personal Blessings, Higher Blessings and Supreme Blessings.  Each group reflects the personal and spiritual evolution of each individual, and the qualities needed for further progress.

This teaching is thus a very detailed guide for individual development.  It is set out in a logical and well structured sequence such that each group of blessings helps to lay the foundations for further blessings.  It includes the most basic blessings, or qualities, each person should have, and leads gradually to the higher qualities required to attain the ultimate blessing of Nibbana.  This is the main purpose and objective of the Mangala Sutta. 


1. The Essential Blessings

 1.  To avoid the company of fools
2.  To associate with the wise
3.  To honour those who are worthy of honour 

 4.  To live in a suitable place
5.  To have done good deeds in the past
6.  To be on the right path


The Essential Blessings consists of the most basic and fundamental qualities that everyone should have.  The elements of this group must be established to obtain both worldly and spiritual progress.

1.  To avoid the company of fools

Fools are people who are unable to tell right from wrong, and as a result cause harm to others through their actions.  They are not concerned with basic morality as they do not care very much about the consequences of their actions.  By associating unmindfully with such people, it will be difficult to make any kind of material or spiritual progress as there is always the tendency to behave in a similar manner.  Furthermore, there will be hardly any desire or motivation to do good deeds or improve oneself. 

However, we must be prepared to lend assistance if it is needed and also help others to improve themselves.  Thus we should not totally avoid the fools.  What is important is that we remain mindful at all times and never allow ourselves to be adversely influenced by them.  This blessing is right at the top of the Buddha’s list and is clearly the single most important blessing for any individual to have, because without this blessing there will be none to follow.

2.  To associate with the wise

The wise are those who have acquired the wisdom to tell right from wrong and thus avoid causing harm to others.  They are aware that their actions have consequences on not only their present life, but in their future lives too.  They discourage wrong-doing and encourage doing good deeds.  We should always try to associate with such upright and virtuous people as proper friendships are of absolute importance in our lives, no matter what stage of progress we have reached.

3.  To respect those who are worthy of respect 

Our parents, elders and teachers are the people we should honour and respect. We can respect them materially or through our conduct.  By giving them due respect and honour, we can benefit from their guidance and continue to learn from them. 

4.  To live in a suitable place

A suitable place has both a material and spiritual meaning.  Materially, it means a peaceful place where life and property are reasonably secure.  Spiritually, it means a place and time where the teachings of the Buddha are known, and where one is able to learn and practice the teachings in peace.  The blessing of living in a suitable place allows for both material and spiritual progress.

5.  To have done good deeds in the past

We are continually reaping the results of our past actions.  For example, if we had helped many people in the past, it is likely that when we require help ourselves, we will have the aid of some of the people whom we had previously helped.  In the same way, if we continue to help others now, it is likely that in the future we will have the assistance of someone we had just helped.  Thus, we must continue doing good deeds for the future.  It is a twin blessing to have done good deeds in the past, and to be able to continue to do good deeds for the future.

6.  To be on the right path

Most people do not even know that they are on the wrong path, much less being aware of the right path that they should take.  The wrong path is that of immorality, greed and ignorance.  The right path is that of virtue, generosity and wisdom.  It is thus a great blessing to know the right path, and to set oneself on this path of material and spiritual progress.