Mangala Sutta
(By Dr. Hla N. Tin)

It was during the summer of 1952 East Rangoon. The whole night long, the drums were beating to the rhythm of tot tot tot byaw. My father had hired a group of byaw drummers to announce our entering the Buddhist Sasana as novices as is traditionally done in the villages in Burma. It was a hot summer night and the food preparers were preparing rice pilaf and chicken ( Dumbauk) for the next day to be offered to the monks, guests, friends, and relatives. The drums kept the helpers awake while preparing for the feast the next day. In the villages where people have to travel by bullock carts to reach the ceremony, the drums tell them where to go. And those who hear can also share in the merits. We were in Rangoon.

Early the next morning, the three of us were awaken from our thinbyu mat, under the mosquito netting, in front of the Buddha statues, by the Abbot and the Preceptor. It is time to say our morning prayers! The sounds of the morning gongs, cymbals ( Kyi si) and the sounds of the monks reciting Maha Paritta still
echoes in my mind. As always these recitals include the most widely used Paritta, Mangala (Auspice, Good Omen, Luck, Blessing, Beatitude or Fortune) Sutta. I did not understand the Pali words at that time but it was like a recital of poetry with its own rhythm. Later I found out what I had been listening to and reciting all along for the fortnight. The defining words of Mangala Sutta are as follows:

Those who are Blessed (1) do not associate with the foolish, but (2) with the wise; and they (3) honor those worthy of honor.
It is auspicious to (4) dwell in a suitable locality; and (5) accumulate good kamma (accrued merits); and (6) establish oneself rightfully.
In order to have Mangala, he must have (7) good and vast knowledge and (8) acquire skills in sciences and arts, and (9) must be well disciplined, and (10) use well chosen words (polite).
He must also (11) serve his parents and (12) support his wife and children, and (13) engage in right and peaceful occupations.
In order to have good fortune he must also be (14) generous; and (15) law abiding and (16) help and support relatives and friends; and (17) perform faultless actions.
An Auspicious person (18) abstains from evil and (19) refrains from bad deeds; and (20) restrains from intoxicating drugs and liquor; and is (21) diligent in the practice of Dhamma such as Dana, Sila, and Bhavana to avoid evil.
A man with good Beatitude (22) pays reverence to those who deserve it, and (23) is modest with his fellow men, and (24) content with his lot, and he (25) shows gratitude towards his benefactor, and (26) listen to, and follow the Buddhist doctrines at appropriate times.
He (27) must have patience and forbearance; and (28) obey those who are worthy of obedience; and (29) pay homage to the monks with visitations, and (30) discuss the doctrines at the proper moment.
He should also practice (31) ascetic and holy practices; and (32) chastity.
He must always (33) try and discern the noble-truths and (34) work towards attaining Nibbana.
His mind (35) must be above the vicissitudes (ups and downs) of life and should not be shaken, and (36) should be free from anxiety, and (37) spotlessly pure, and (38) must be perfectly secure from temptations.

Those who have practiced these (38) Mangala will remain unvanquished and will always be successful!

Dr. Hla N. Tin is the president of Genotech Industries Corp. He was the founder and CEO of Halo Technologies Inc. and former Director of
Program Development at National Testing Systems, Inc. He received his Ph.D in Theoretical Physics from the University of California. - Editor.