Worldly Vicissitudes   Leave a comment


THE HIGHEST WELFARE

The Buddha’s teaching was not merely for monks and nuns, but also for householders, many of whom used to come to him to learn Dhamma. One group came and said: “Sir, we are not prepared to become monks or nuns; we have to live as householders. Will the technique work for us? Can we also get liberated?”. He replied, “Certainly, it is a technique for all.” Monks and nuns do not have any worldly responsibilities. So they can give their whole life to this purpose, and the results come sooner. Householders cannot avoid their multifarious responsibilities towards their family members, relatives, and society but the teaching also works for them.

The Buddha gave a discourse to this group, explaining how to live a wholesome life. He listed thirty-eight welfares to be acquired by a family man or woman, each higher than the last.
What are these *Thirty-Eight Welfares:*
1. Bala-asevana – not to associate with fools
2. Panditasevana – to associate with the wise
3. Pujaneyya puja – honoring those who are honorable
4. Patirupadesavasa – living in a suitable region for safe practice
5. Pubbekatapunnata – having done meritorious deeds
6. Attasammapanidhi – right self-guidance
7. Bahusacca – Extensive learning
8. Sippa – knowledge of the arts and sciences
9. Vinaya – to be highly restrained by a moral code
10. Subhasitavaca – to be well-spoken, eloquent
11. Matapitu-upatthana – to support one’s parents
12. Puttasangaha – to cherish one’s children
13. Darasangaha – to cherish one’s wife (or partner)
14. Anakulakammanta – to make one’s livelihood wholesomely
15. Dana – to be generous, charitable
16. Dhammacariya – to behave in line with the Dharma
17. Natakasangaha – to cherish one’s family
18. Anavajjakamma – to act blamelessly
19. Papavirati – abstinence from evil
20. Majjapanasannama – abstinence from intoxicants
21. Appamada – heedfulness in the Dharma
22. Garava – to be respectful
23. Nivata – to be humble
24. Santutthi – contentment with what one has
25. Katannuta- gratitude
26. Dhammassavana – the opportunity to hear the Dharma
27. Khanti – patience; forbearance
28. Sovacassata – easily corrected
29. Samana-dassana – to see monks and nuns
30. Dhammasakaccha – the opportunity to discuss the Dharma
31. Tapa – self-restraint; austerities
32. Brahmacariya – to live the holy life
33. Ariyasacca-dassana – to see the Noble Truths
34. Nibbana-sacchikiriya – to realize nirvana
35. Akampitacitta – having a mind unshaken by worldly events
36. Asokacitta – having a mind free from sorrow
37. Virajacitta – having an undefiled mind
38. Khemacitta – having a secure mind.

When he came to the highest, he said: Facing the vicissitudes of life the mind is not shaken; it is without grief, without impurity, without insecurity: this is the highest welfare. Everyone has to meet vicissitudes in life but the mind should not get agitated; it should remain stable and balanced. Then there is no crying, no unhappiness, no impurity nor any feeling of insecurity in your mind.

One always feels secure because one is on the path of Dhamma; nothing can go wrong.
This is the highest welfare: Equanimity with all the vicissitudes of life.
S. N. Goenka
(adapted from the Day 8 discourse)

*The eight worldly vicissitudes (lokadhamma) are: labha (profit) and alabha (loss), yaso (fame) and ayaso (ill repute), Pasansa (praise) and Ninda (criticism), Sukha (pleasure) and Dukkha (pain).

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