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Buddha's Advice for Lay Buddhists

Posted: Thu Dec 16, 2021 3:44 am
by Nicholas
These four suttas tell lay folk all that is needed to be a good person:


Re: Buddha's Advice for Lay Buddhists

Posted: Thu Dec 16, 2021 3:52 am
by Nicholas
Here is a small excerpt where Buddha mentions a vice that is not emphasized enough, Fear. Ven. Narada's note says: "These are the four agati, “evil courses of action”: chanda, dosa, moha, bhaya.
(2) “In which four ways does one commit no evil
action? Led by desire does one commit evil. Led by
anger does one commit evil. Led by ignorance does
one commit evil. Led by fear does one commit evil. [2]

“But inasmuch as the noble disciple is not led by
desire, anger, ignorance, and fear, he commits no evil.”

Thus spoke the Exalted One. And when the Master
had thus spoken, he spoke yet again:

“Whoever through desire, hate or fear,
Or ignorance should transgress the Dhamma,
All his glory fades away
Like the moon during the waning half.

Whoever through desire, hate or fear,
Or ignorance never transgresses the Dhamma,
All his glory ever increases
Like the moon during the waxing half.

Re: Buddha's Advice for Lay Buddhists

Posted: Thu Dec 16, 2021 4:35 pm
by Nicholas
The preface to Maṅgala Sutta, the second sutta - on blessings for lay folk:
This famous text, cherished highly in all Buddhist lands, is a
terse but comprehensive summary of Buddhist ethics,
individual and social. The thirty-eight blessings enumerated
in it are an unfailing guide on life’s journey. Rightly starting
with “avoidance of bad company” which is essential to all
moral and spiritual progress, the Blessings culminate in the
achievement of a passion-free mind, unshakeable in its
serenity. To follow the ideals put forth in these verses is the
sure way to harmony and progress for the individual as
well as for society, country and mankind.
For the third sutta the series editor remarks:
While the Maṅgala Sutta deals with the way of life
conducive to progress and happiness, the Parabhava Sutta
supplements it by pointing out the causes of downfall. He
who allows himself to become tarnished by these blemishes
of conduct blocks his own road to worldly, moral and
spiritual progress and lowers all that is truly noble and
human in man. But he who is heedful of these dangers
keeps open the road to all those thirty-eight blessings of
which human nature is capable.

Re: Buddha's Advice for Lay Buddhists

Posted: Thu Dec 16, 2021 4:41 pm
by Nicholas
The fourth and last of the suttas in this ethical collection is on the duties of the wealthy:
In this sutta, the Buddha instructs rich householders how to
preserve and increase their prosperity and how to avoid loss
of wealth. Wealth alone, however, does not make a
complete man nor a harmonious society. Possession of
wealth all too often multiplies man’s desires, and he is ever
in the pursuit of amassing more wealth and power. This
unrestrained craving, however, leaves him dissatisfied and
stifles his inner growth. It creates conflict and disharmony
in society through the resentment of the underprivileged
who feel themselves exploited by the effects of unrestrained craving.

Therefore the Buddha follows up on his advice on material
welfare with four essential conditions for spiritual welfare:
confidence (in the Master’s enlightenment), virtue, liberality
and wisdom. These four will instil in man a sense of higher
values. He will, then, not only pursue his own material
concern, but also be aware of his duty towards society. To
mention only one of the implications: a wisely and
generously employed liberality will reduce tensions and
conflicts in society. Thus the observing of these conditions
of material and spiritual welfare will make for an ideal
citizen in an ideal society.