Conditions for Well-being in This Life and in Future Lives
Vyagghapajja (Dīghajāṇu) Sutta
The main goal of Buddhism is to point out the path of happiness which is the main purpose of everyone. The supreme Buddha always describes the peaceful path for wellbeing of this life and hereafter. The Buddha explained his message in short or in detail according to the audience. No matter whether the Buddha speaks to lay people or monks, he always points out the path of liberation from suffering. Vyagghapajja [Dīghajāṇu] Sutta which comes in Anguttara Nikaya clearly points out the path of happiness in this life and hereafter.
On one occasion, when the Buddha was at kakkarapatta in India, Dighajanu (Vyagghapajja) came to visit the Buddha. After bowing down, Vyagghapajja, sitting on one side, told the Blessed One; “We are lay people enjoying sensuality; living crowded with spouses and children; using Kasi fabrics and sandalwood; wearing garlands, scents, and creams; handling gold and silver. May the Blessed One teach the Dhamma for those like us, for our happiness and well-being in this life and in future lives.”
Here the Buddha kindly explains the facts to him how to succeed in this life and hereafter. First, for this life;
“Cattārome, vyagghapajja, dhammā kulaputtassa diṭṭhadhammahitāya saṃvattanti diṭṭhadhammasukhāya. Katame cattāro? Uṭṭhānasampadā, ārakkhasampadā, kalyāṇamittatā, samajīvitā.
Four conditions, Vyagghapajja, conduce to a householder’s wellbeing and happiness in this very life. They are;
1. The accomplishment of determined effort (utthāna-sampadā)
2. The accomplishment of watchfulness (ārakkha-sampadā)
3. Good friendship (kalyānamittatā)
4. Balanced livelihood (sama-jivikatā).
1. Effort (utthāna-sampadā):
This first one explains the importance of earning wealth in righteous way with effort for wellbeing of this life. There is the case where a lay person, by whatever occupation he makes his living—whether by farming or trading or cattle tending or archery or as a king’s man or by any other craft—is clever and untiring at it, endowed with discrimination in its techniques, enough to arrange and carry it out. This is called being consummate in initiative. Further, effort helps to go forward in education too. To succeed a life, both earning wealth righteously and studying with effort are very useful.
2. Watchfulness (ārakkha-sampadā):
This means the protection of wealth which is earned hard and righteously. There is the case when a lay person has righteous wealth—righteously gained, coming from his initiative, his striving, his making an effort, gathered by the strength of his arm, earned by his sweat—he manages to protect it through vigilance [with the thought], ‘How shall neither kings nor thieves make off with this property of mine, nor fire burn it, nor water sweep it away, nor hateful heirs make off with it?’ This is called being consummate in vigilance or watchfulness. Also, vigilance is one of the main facts to reduce defilements on the path of liberation.
3. Good friendship (kalyānamittatā):
This says the associating good friends who explain the Dhamma which is useful for this life and future lives. There is the case where a lay person, in whatever town or village may dwell, spends time with householders or householders’ sons, young or old, who are advanced in virtue. He talks with them, engages them in discussions. He emulates consummate conviction in those who are consummate in conviction, consummate virtue in those who are consummate in virtue, consummate generosity in those who are consummate in generosity, and consummate discernment in those who are consummate in discernment. This is called admirable friendship.
According to Buddhism, good association plays a huge role on the path of liberation. From the Beginning to the end of the spiritual path noble association gradually gives everything. They are;
1. Associating noble friends who explain the Buddha’s message (Sappurisa samseva)
2. Listening to Buddha’s message, the Dhamma (Saddhammasavana)
3. Confidence in Buddha’s enlightenment (Saddhā)
4. Wise investigation (Yonisa manasikāra)
5. Mindfulness and clear comprehension. (Sati sampajañña)
6. Discipline in senses (Indriya samvara)
7. Three Disciplines in behavioral, verbal and mental acts (Thrividha sucarita)
8. The Fourfold Mindfulness (Satipatthāna)
9. Seven Enlightenment factors (Satta bojjhanga)
10.Gaining the full knowledge and liberation from all kinds of sufferings. (Vijjāvimutti)
4. Balance livelihood (sama-jivikatā).
This shows the way how to spend wealth according to income in the correct way. There is the case where a lay person, knowing the income and expenditure of his wealth, maintains a livelihood accordingly, neither a spendthrift nor a penny-pincher, [thinking], ‘Thus will my income exceed my expenditure, and my expenditure will not exceed my income.’ Just as when a weigher or his apprentice, when holding the scales, knows, ‘It has tipped down so much or has tipped up so much,’ in the same way, the lay person, knowing the income and expenditure of his wealth, maintains a
livelihood in tune, neither a spendthrift nor a penny-pincher, [thinking], ‘Thus will my income exceed my expenditure, and my expenditure will not exceed my income.’ If a lay person has a small income but maintains a grand livelihood, it will be rumored of him, ‘This clansman devours his wealth like a fruit-tree eater.’ If a lay person has a large income but maintains a miserable livelihood, it will be rumored of him, ‘This clansman will die of starvation.’ But when a lay person, knowing the income and expenditure of his wealth, maintains a livelihood in tune, neither a spendthrift nor a penny-pincher, [thinking], ‘Thus will my income exceed my expenditure, and my expenditure will not exceed my income,’ this is called maintaining one’s livelihood in tune.
Secondly, for future life;
Cattārome, vyagghapajja, dhammā kulaputtassa samparāyahitāya saṃvattanti samparāyasukhāya. Katame cattāro? Saddhāsampadā, sīlasampadā, cāgasampadā, paññāsampadā.
Four conditions, Vyagghapajja, conduce to a householder’s wellbeing and happiness in his future life. They are;
1. The accomplishment of confidence (saddhā-sampadā)
2. The accomplishment of virtue or morality (sila-sampadā)
3. The accomplishment of charity or generosity (cāga-sampadā)
4. The accomplishment of wisdom or intelligence (paññā-sampadā)
When someone comes to this level, he should have a clear understanding about the Karmic law and the dependent origination which is the very important understanding that a person can gain in a Buddha’s time. Listening to what Buddha taught, someone who wishes to go forward for the wellbeing of future lives and the Sansāric journey can see the path he or she should practice. Here four conditions are kindly declared to be followed by the blessed one. One’s real success or happiness depends on how far he or she has achieved these qualities. These qualities are very useful for inner peace and liberation from suffering.
1. The confidence (saddhā-sampadā):
When someone hopes to go forward on the path of liberation at the very beginning, he should have some kind of confidence in the Buddha’s message which is immediately effective and visible results. When someone practices what the Buddha taught, he or she can see the results. Then his or her confidence gradually increases in the Dhamma and the Sangha too.
2. Virtue or Morality (sila-sampadā):
This quality indicates the discipline in speech and behavior. When someone is knowledgeable in the Karmic law and the dependent origination, he or she tries to control his or her speech and behavior as much as he or she can for the wellbeing of life. Having good discipline helps to develop a successful spiritual life with concentration and insight. Hence virtue helps us in both deliverance path as well as heavenly path.
3. Charity or Generosity (caga-sampadā):
When someone goes on the path of liberation, he or she practices loving kindness too. Then he is generous to offer something to others concerning their qualities and needs. On the path of heaven, practicing three merits is one of the major characters. The three meritorious deeds are generosity, virtue and meditation. Practicing generosity brings a great happiness to whom is generous. Further the blessed one says ‘ he who is generous wins friends’. Practicing generosity is one of the techniques to purify our mind from greed. Also, generosity is a supreme blessing which brings us happiness. He who practices generosity receives a great happiness. Contemplating on one’s generosity is also a meditation technique (cāgānussati) according to forty meditation techniques in Buddhism.
4. Wisdom on intelligence (paññā-sampadā):
Wisdom or intelligence, which mainly helps us to overcome suffering and attain liberation from defilements, is highly praised in Buddhism. The main cause whether we are happy is the level of our wisdom. Our real success depends on how much we have achieved wisdom. Hence, wisdom has been compared to a gem (paññā narānam ratanam). Wisdom brings purification (paññāya parisujjhati). There is no other bright light like wisdom (natthi paññā samā ābhā). Wisdom is used in several terms in Pali language such as Sammā Ditti (sammā ditthi), panna (paññā), Amoha (amoha). Wisdom should be increased from the beginning till the end to the maximum level of the path of enlightenment. Therefore, Buddhism always guides us to gain wisdom through all kinds of advices that the Supreme Buddha gave in his entire life.
We usually experience through our senses such as eyes, ears, nose, tongue, body and mind. When objects such as forms, sounds, smell, taste reach senses, we experience about the world. The nature of this experience is arising at the moment and instantly ceases at once. Whatever we experience through six senses, five aggregates arise at that moment. Also, they immediately cease. Five aggregates are forms (Rupa), feelings (Vedanā), perception (Saññā), mental formations (Sankhāra) and consciousness (Viññāna). These five things arise together and cease together. They cannot be divided. We learn them by intelligence. These five aggregates, six internal senses or external objects are not permanent. They arise with the conditions at the moment, and they cease immediately when conditions separate. However, because of our ignorance we think they are permanent. Wisdom is against of this delusion. The nature of all conditions is that; Not being occurred (in the past) comes to an occurrence. Being occurred (at the present) will not come to (the future) occurrence. (ahutvā sambhutam hutvā na bhavissati). It means if we experience something now, it was not happened in the past in the same way like now.
When someone develops wisdom (paññā) according to what the supreme Buddha points out, other spiritual faculties also gradually increase like confidence (saddhā), energy (viriya), mindfulness (sati) and concentration (samādhi). These five spiritual faculties are the dowry in our spiritual journey. We should always pay our attention to increase these five things as much as we can. The more we have practiced five spiritual faculties the more we have overcome defilements and suffering.
The Buddha explains the theory of the dependent origination in his main teaching like this;
“This, this being – this comes to be” (Asmim sati idam hoti)
With the arising of this – this arises” (Imassa uppādā idam uppajjati)
This not being – this doesn’t come to be (Asmim asati idam na hoti)
With the cessation of this – this ceases” (Imassa nirodha idam nirujjati)
Also, present experience doesn’t go to the future in the same way. If somebody can understand this reality, he is ready to give up extremes about the past and the future. Also he tries to live in the present moment seeing arising and ceasing wisely with fully awareness. Understanding of this impermanence is one of the qualities that we can practice for the wellbeing of future life. Furthermore, understanding the dependent origination leads to understand the Dhamma and the Blessed One as well. He who sees the dependent origination sees the Dhamma. Also, he who sees the Dhamma sees the dependent origination. In another way, he who sees the Dhamma sees the Buddha. And he who sees the Buddha sees the Dhamma. In conclusion, understanding the dependent origination leads to gain everything in the spiritual development on the Buddhist path through reflecting on impermanence. This is the way to make a refuge in the Sansaric journey.
Dwell with yourselves as an island, with yourselves as a refuge, with no other refuge;
dwell with the Dhamma as an island, with the Dhamma as a refuge, with no other refuge.
Atta deepā bhikkhave viharatha atta saranā na añña saranā,
Dhamma deepā bhikkhave viharatha dhamma saranā na añña saranā.
May the Triple Gem Bless you!
May all beings be well happy and peaceful!
(Saturday Dhamma Discussion of Leicester Buddhist Vihara Braunston Town. 04/13/2019