Great Discourse on Blessings AT one time the Exalted One was living in Jeta Grove. A certain deity of astounding beauty approached the Exalted One and said: Many deities and humans have pondered on blessings. Tell me the blessings supreme. The Buddha replied: To associate not with the foolish, to be with the wise, to honor the worthy ones this is a blessing supreme. To reside in a suitable location, to have good past deeds done, to set oneself in the right direction this is a blessing supreme. To be well spoken, highly trained, well educated, skilled in handicraft, and highly disciplined, this is a blessing supreme. To be well caring of mother, of father, to look after spouse and children, to engage in a harmless occupation, this is a blessing supreme. Outstanding behavior, blameless action, open hands to all relatives and selfless giving, this is a blessing supreme. To cease and abstain from evil, to avoid intoxicants, to be diligent in virtuous practices, this is a blessing supreme. To be reverent and humble, content and grateful, to hear the Dharma at the right time, this is a blessing supreme. To be patient and obedient, to visit with spiritual people, to discuss the Dharma at the right time, this is a blessing supreme. To live austerely and purely, to see the noble truths, and to realize nirvana, this is the blessing supreme. A mind unshaken when touched by the worldly states, sorrowless, stainless, and secure, this is the blessing supreme. Those who have fulfilled all these are everywhere invincible; they find well-being everywhere, theirs is the blessing supreme. adapted from MANGALA SUTTA, translated by Gunaratana Mahathera
To open deeply, as genuine spiritual life requires, we need tremendous courage and strength, a kind of warrior spirit. But the place for this warrior strength is in the heart. We need energy, commitment, and courage not to run from our life nor to cover it over with any philosophy—material or spiritual. We need a warrior’s heart that lets us face our lives directly, our pains and limitations, our joys and possibilities. This courage allows us to include every aspect of life in our spiritual practice: our bodies, our families, our society, politics, the earth’s ecology, art, education. Only then can spirituality be truly integrated into our lives.