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    (A life that is perfect)  

    Through conducting his life impeccably and reaping the most benefit out of birth into this world, a person can attain such confidence in his life that he fears nothing, not even death. This is living victoriously, making a success of life. Such a person is one who has attained the objective of living and leads his life according to the following principles:

    A. Steering one's life to its objectives: he conducts his life toward the realization of the three benefits which are the objectives of life known as the three attha:

    1. Ditthadhammikattha: the temporal objective or present benefit, the important kinds being:

    a) Having good health, a strong body, freedom from disease, pleasant appearance and longevity.
    b) Having work and income, wealth derived from honest livelihood; being economically self-reliant.
    c) Having good status, having rank, honor, friendship and social acceptance.
    d) Having a happy family, making one's family worthy of respect.

    All of the above should be righteously obtained and used or treated so as to produce rightful benefit and happiness both for oneself and for others.

    2. Samparayikattha: the spiritual objective or further benefit that gives value and meaning to life, and which leads to the profound inner happiness, especially:

    a) Warmth, deep appreciation and happiness through faith; having an ideal.
    b) Pride in having a clean life, in having done only good and virtuous actions.
    c) Gratification in a worthwhile life, in having made sacrifices and performed beneficial actions.
    d) Courage and confidence in having wisdom to deal with problems and guide one's life.
    e) Security and freedom from worry in having performed good kamma, having a guarantee for the future life.

    3. Paramattha, the highest objective or greatest benefit; having insight into the truth, having penetrated to the nature of life and the world, thereby rendering the mind free, [as a result of which]:

    a) One is not shaken or overwhelmed by vicissitudes and changes.
    b) One is not disappointed, downhearted or distressed on account of attachment to things.
    c) One is secure, calm, clear, cheerful and buoyant at all times.
    d) One lives and acts with wisdom, which looks at causes and conditions.

    These three levels of attha can be attained on three fronts, as follows:

    1. Attattha: the objective for oneself or one's own benefit; i.e., the three levels of benefit explained above, which one should establish within oneself, or develop one's life toward.
    2. Parattha: the objective for others, or other people's benefit; i.e., the three levels of benefit explained above, which one should help other people successively achieve by inducing and encouraging them to develop their lives.
    3. Ubhayattha: the mutual objective or benefit to both parties; i.e., the collective benefit, happiness and virtue of the community or society, including environmental conditions and factors, both concrete, such as forests, rivers and roads, and abstract, such as morality and culture. We should contribute to the creation and conservation of these in order to help both ourselves and others advance to the three levels of objectives mentioned above, at the very least not allowing our own pursuit of benefit to adversely affect the benefit and well-being of the community. For example, in keeping the discipline a monk helps foster the harmony of the monastic community, which is an atmosphere that helps the monks living together all live in comfort and grow in their practice toward attaining the highest benefit (paramattha).
    4.  (Nd2 26)

    B. Maintaining inner strength: he has the strength that arises from the moral qualities or practices that are life's assurances-known as the four powers (bala)-which instill such self-confidence into him that he fears no peril, namely:

    1. Panna-bala: the power of wisdom; he is learned; he has proper and clear knowledge and understanding of all matters and tasks he must deal with, and ultimately the true nature of life and the world; he does things with understanding of their reasons and their real nature.
    2. Viriya-bala: the power of effort; he always applies himself to his tasks and duties with effort and perseverance; he does not give up, slacken or become discouraged.
    3. Anavajja-bala: the power of integrity or the power of purity; his conduct and work are honest, faultless, clean, pure and uncensurable.
    4. Sangaha-bala: the power of benefaction; he helps and supports others and makes himself useful to his fellow man; he is a benefactor of the community.

    A government official, for example, might bear in mind these four brief injunctions: "Know your work well, perform your duty faultlessly, be honest and do not neglect human relations."



    C. Establishing oneself on a firm foundation from which to grasp the highest success aspired to without causing self-delusion, creating opportunities for error and blemish or leading to the accumulation of defilements. This can be achieved by practicing according to the principles known as the four inner strongholds (adhitthana):

    1. Panna: using wisdom; he lives his life with wisdom and acts with reason; he does not react impulsively or emotionally to the incidents he encounters or get carried away by temptation; he studies things to know them clearly and penetrate to their raison d'etre; he understands things as they really are, ultimately attaining the truth.
    2. Sacca: upholding truth; he establishes and maintains himself firmly in the truth that he has clearly known and seen with wisdom. Sacca ranges from being truthful in speech, being true to principles and having integrity in deeds, to [realizing] the highest truth.
    3. Caga: fostering relinquishment; he fosters or increases his relinquishment to ever greater heights to prevent or restrain himself from becoming enslaved by any fame, fortune or success, for example, that he may acquire, which keep luring him into attachment, pride and delusion; he can relinquish whatever he has previously been attached to-ranging from material possessions to mental defilements-that is mistaken, false or wrong.
    4. Upasama: calming the mind; he knows how to find peace in his mind; he trains to be able to overcome mental defilements and remove the frustration and confusion resulting from them; he makes his mind calm and clear so that it can experience the taste of peace; having known the taste of happiness that arises from the calmed mind, he is not easily infatuated with material possessions, status, or fame.
    5.  (M.III.243)

    (A life that advances and succeeds)

    One who desires progress and success in life, be it in the field of education, occupation or livelihood, is advised to abide by the following principles:

    A. The principles of growth: to practice according to the teachings that guide life to prosperity and eminence known as the four cakka (the conditions likened to the four wheels that carry a vehicle to its destination):

    1. Patirupadesavasa: choosing a suitable environment; to choose a suitable location in which to live, study or work, where there are people and an environment conducive to learning and betterment in life, to the pursuit of the truth, virtue and knowledge, and the generation of goodness and prosperity.
    2. Sappurisupassaya: associating with good people; to seek association or alliance with people who are learned and virtuous and who will support one's pursuit of the truth, virtue and knowledge, and one's advancement and growth in a rightful way.
    3. Attasammapanidhi: establishing oneself rightly; to establish oneself firmly in virtue and a right way of life; to establish a clear and virtuous goal for one's life and work, and set oneself resolutely and firmly on the right path to that goal, not wavering or being negligent.
    4. Pubbekatapunnata: having a good "capital foundation"; one portion of this capital foundation comprises innate qualities such as intelligence, aptitude and a healthy body; the other is, on the basis of that foundation, knowing how to rectify or improve oneself, to seek further knowledge, to strengthen good qualities and to train oneself in preparation for when these qualities are needed, to be ready to welcome success, to bring about welfare and happiness and to advance to even greater heights.
    5. (A.II.32)

    B. The principles of success: practicing according to the four conditions that lead to the success of any undertaking, known as the iddhipada (pathways to success):

    1. Chanda: having a heart of zeal; to be keen to do something, and to do it for the love of it; to wish to bring an activity or task to its optimum fruition, not simply doing it to get it out of the way or merely for reward or material gain.
    2. Viriya: doing with effort; to be diligent and apply oneself to a task with effort, fortitude, patience and perseverance, not abandoning it or becoming discouraged, but striving ever onward until success is attained.
    3. Citta: committing oneself to the task; to establish one's attention on the task in hand and do it thoughtfully, not allowing the mind to wander; to apply one's thought to the matter regularly and consistently and do the task or action devotedly.
    4. Vimamsa: using wise investigation; to diligently apply wise reflection to examine cause and effect within what one is doing and to reflect on, for example, its pros and cons, gains and shortcomings or obstructions. This can be achieved by experimenting, planning and evaluating results, and devising solutions and improvements in order to manage and carry out the activity in hand so as to achieve better results.

    When applied to the work situation, for example, these four conditions may, in short, be remembered as love of work, tenacity, dedication and circumspection.


    C. The conditions effectuating enlightenment: to follow the Buddha's example by conducting oneself in accordance with the two qualities that enabled the Buddha to attain his own enlightenment (sambodhi), known as the virtues which the Buddha himself practiced and saw the benefit of (upannata-dhamma):

    1. Asantutthita kusalesu dhammesu: non-contentment with wholesome qualities; knowing no satiation, never having enough, of generating virtue and performing good works.
    2. Appativanita ca padhanasmim: unrelenting effort; striving forward constantly, not retreating; refusing to give in or become discouraged in the face of obstacles, weariness and difficulties.
    3.  (D.III.214)

    (A life that is well founded)

    Through abiding by the following principles, a person can be said to know how to acquire and use wealth (i.e., to be money wise), to be a good breadwinner, and to have established himself and used his wealth beneficially-he is one who performs his economic duties properly:

    A. On the level of seeking and safeguarding wealth: practicing according to the principles that lead to immediate benefit, or that aid in the attainment of basic benefit, known as the four ditthadhammikattha-samvattanika-dhamma:

    1. Utthana-sampada: endowment of industry; he is energetic and applies himself to his duties and making an honest living; he trains so that he acquires skills and true knowledge; he wisely scrutinizes [his undertakings] and seeks skillful means to manage and conduct his work for good results.
    2. Arakkha-sampada: endowment of protection; he knows how to protect from risk and loss the wealth and fruits of his labor, gained through his own honest efforts.
    3. Kalyanamittata: association with good friends; he discerns which people are worth associating with and which not, and does not associate with or emulate those who would lead him downward, but associates with, studies and emulates people who are learned, worthy, capable, honorable and endowed with qualities that are helpful to his livelihood.
    4. Samajivita: balanced life-style; he keeps track of his income and expenditure and lives within his means so that he is neither deprived nor extravagant, and has income left over for saving.
    5. (A.IV.281)

    B. On the level of allotting wealth: having acquired wealth, he knows how to allot it into four portions, according to the principles for dividing wealth known as the four bhoga-vibhaga:

    C. On the level of using wealth: it should always be borne in mind that the acquisition, protection and possession of wealth are for the purpose of creating benefit for both oneself and others. If wealth is not used to create benefit, its acquisition and possession are of no value or meaning. Thus, when one owns or acquires wealth, one should use the first portion as given in B. above in accordance with the five benefits to be derived from wealth, or reasons a noble disciple should hold to for acquiring and possessing wealth (bhogadiya), as described in the Buddha's words:

    Having acquired wealth through the sweat of his own brow and the strength of his own arms, honestly and rightfully, a noble disciple:

      1. Supports himself, his parents, children, wife and dependents and sees to their comfort.
      2. Supports his friends and associates and sees to their comfort.
      3. Uses it to safeguard his well-being and to make himself secure and free from dangers.
      4. Makes sacrifice; that is, he gives offerings as support and oblations, in the following ways:
        1. (1) Nati-bali: supporting relatives.
          (2) Atithi-bali: receiving guests.
          (3) Pubbapeta-bali: making merit or offerings in dedication to the departed.
          (4) Raja-bali: supporting the government through taxes, etc.
          (5) Devata-bali: making offerings to the deities; that is, contributions made in accordance with his faith.

      5. Supports those monks and priests who are virtuous and free of heedlessness and indulgence.

    Having used wealth in this way, even if it has been exhausted he can still rest assured that the wealth has been rightfully used for beneficial purposes, while if it increases he can also feel at ease; thus he is free of remorse in either case.


    The use of wealth through these five channels is mentioned with a view to enumerating the ways in which wealth should be spent so that one learns how to use it. It is not implied that an equal portion of wealth should be assigned to each. Moreover, this teaching points specifically to expenditure on a regular basis; those who are able should create further benefit in accordance, for example, with the principles for helpful integration (sangaha-vatthu) given in Chapter 4.

    (A perfect home life)

    A person who can be said to have achieved success in domestic life as a good householder, who is worthy of respect and emulation, can be measured by the following gauges:

    A. Possessing the four kinds of happiness: these are the four kinds of happiness that are fitting for a householder, or that lay people should always make efforts to attain. They are briefly known as the four kinds of happiness for a householder (kamabhogi-sukha):

    1. Atthi-sukha: the happiness of possessing wealth; the pride, satisfaction and security of having wealth, rightfully acquired through the sweat of his own brow and the strength of his own arms.
    2. Bhoga-sukha: the happiness of spending wealth; the pride and satisfaction of knowing that he has used his wealth, rightfully gained, for the support of himself, his family and his dependents and for good causes.
    3. Anana-sukha: the happiness of freedom from debt; the pride and satisfaction of knowing that he is free, not indebted to anybody.
    4. Anavajja-sukha: the happiness of blameless conduct; the pride and satisfaction of knowing that he has acted honestly, faultlessly and blamelessly in body, speech and mind.

    Of these four kinds of happiness, the last is the most valuable.


    B. Being a model householder: people who live the household life can be divided into several groups and classified into various levels. There are both bad and good, and the good can in turn be divided into several levels. The ideal householder, who is truly worthy of respect, is the tenth of the following ten kinds of householders (kamabhogi):

    First group: acquiring wealth through wrongful means [a minus]:

    1. Having acquired wealth, they do not use it to support themselves in comfort [a minus], and they do not share it with others or use it for good causes [a minus] (bad on all three counts).
    2. Having acquired wealth, they use it to support themselves in comfort [a plus], but they do not share it with others or use it for good causes [a minus] (bad on two counts, good on one).
    3. Having acquired wealth, they use it to support themselves in comfort [a plus], and they share it with others and use it for good causes [a plus] (bad on one count, good on two).

    Second group: acquiring wealth both rightfully [a plus] and wrongfully [a minus]:

    1. Having acquired wealth, they deal with it as in point 1 (bad on three counts, good on one).
    2. Having acquired wealth, they deal with it as in point 2 (bad on two counts, good on two).
    3. Having acquired wealth, they deal with it as in point 3 (bad on one count, good on three).

    Third group: acquiring wealth rightfully [a plus]:

    1. Having acquired wealth, they deal with it as in point 1 (bad on two counts, good on one).
    2. Having acquired wealth, they deal with it as in point 2 (bad on one count, good on two).
    3. Having acquired wealth, they deal with it as in point 3. However, they are still attached to, infatuated and obsessed with wealth, using it without full awareness of its drawbacks, and they lack the wisdom that leads to independence from and mastery over wealth [a minus] (bad on one count, good on three).

    Special group: one who acquires wealth rightfully and uses it mindfully and comprehendingly, with a mind that is detached, has the following characteristics:

    1. Having acquired wealth rightfully [a plus], he supports himself comfortably [a plus], shares it with others and uses it for good causes [a plus]. Moreover, he is not obsessed or infatuated with wealth, but uses it with full knowledge and awareness of its benefits and faults, its merits and demerits; he has the wisdom that frees him, making him master of his wealth [a plus].

    This tenth kind of householder was commended by the Buddha as the most excellent kind of person, praiseworthy on all four counts, a model householder.


    C. Governing life with four qualities: he practices according to the four qualities for leading the household life, known as the gharavasadhamma:

    1. Sacca: truthfulness; he adheres to truth, integrity, honesty, sincerity; he is as good as his word; he ensures that his actions are trustworthy and reliable.
    2. Dama: training; he disciplines and restrains himself; he adjusts himself to conditions and corrects and improves himself so as to be constantly progressing.
    3. Khanti: endurance; he applies himself to doing his work with diligence and effort; he is tenacious and endures without wavering; he is firm in his aim and does not become discouraged.
    4. Caga: sacrifice; he is thoughtful and generous; he helps others and performs good works; he relinquishes greed and pride and is able to work with others without being narrow-minded, selfish, or insisting on having things his own way.
    5. (Sn.189)

    D. Accepting responsibility for one's dependents: he has good and harmonious relations within the family, among relatives, friends, work associates and all of his dependents, by not only seeing to their material needs but also bringing mental benefit into their lives, by being an example to them and encouraging them in growth with the virtues known as the five qualities leading to noble growth (ariya-vaddhi):

    1. Growth in faith: encouraging them to have firm belief and faith in the Triple Gem [Buddha, Dhamma and Sangha; the Teacher, the Teaching and the Community of Noble Disciples] and in performing good deeds, to have a solid object of faith in their hearts.
    2. Growth in morality: encouraging them to have good conduct, to be honest and maintain good livelihood and to be disciplined and well-mannered.
    3. Growth in learning: encouraging them to acquire knowledge through learning and hearing, by advising them or encouraging them to learn those things that will revive and improve their lives and minds.
    4. Growth in giving: encouraging them to be generous, to be thoughtful to one another and to derive satisfaction in helping their fellow man.
    5. Growth in wisdom: encouraging them to be reflective, to understand reason, to know good from evil, benefit from harm, what is useful from what is not; to see things as they really are; to be judicious, and to use their wisdom to investigate causes and conditions, solve problems and perform and carry out their tasks effectively.
    6. (A.III.80)

    E. Conducting oneself as a good citizen: leading oneself and one's family to prosperity and happiness, and being a constructive member of the society, by practicing the following:

    1. Na sadharanadarassa: not being promiscuous or preoccupied with sex.
    2. Na bhunje sadhumekako: not selfishly taking all the tasty morsels for oneself.
    3. Na seve lokayatikam: not wasting time arguing about worthless things.
    4. Silava: having good conduct and discipline; being established in the five precepts.
    5. Vattasampanno: performing one's duties regularly and completely.
    6. Appamatto: not being heedless, but energetic at all times.
    7. Vicakkhano: being judicious, doing things with wisdom.
    8. Nivatavutti atthaddho: being polite, not stubborn or arrogant; being open to the opinions of others.
    9. Surato: being modest; possessing a love of refinement, cleanliness and orderliness.
    10. Sakhilo mudu: having pleasant speech; being gentle in both deeds and thoughts.
    11. Sangaheta ca mittanam: being kind and generous to one's friends.
    12. Samvibhagi: sharing with and helping people in general.
    13. Vidhanava: managing one's duties efficiently and effectively.
    14. Tappeyya: supporting the learned and virtuous monks.
    15. Dhammakamo: loving truth; esteeming virtue.
    16. Sutadharo: having read and heard much; thoroughly knowing one's field.
    17. Paripucchako: possessing an inquiring mind, seeking ever more knowledge.
    18. (J.VI.287)

    (A life that does not err)

    A person who is not heedless or so enraptured by life and the world that he is enslaved by them-"deceived by the world, drunk on life," as it were-is one who is mindful, who knows how to look and investigate, and knows the right attitude to adopt to the truths that exist inherently in life and this world as the natural course of things, as follows:

    A. Knowing the ways of the world: he reflects on, understands and establishes mindfulness properly in relation to the ever-changing conditions in life within the world known as the eight loka-dhamma (norms of the world, or normal conditions which repeatedly visit worldly beings, and by which worldly beings are constantly being spun around):

      Sweet   Bitter
    1.  Gain 2. Loss
    3. Repute 4. Disrepute
    5. Praise 6. Blame
    7. Happiness 8. Suffering

    These eight worldly conditions are divided into two sides, those that are pleasant, desirable and generally aspired to, known as ittharammana, and those that are distressing, undesirable, and generally abhorred, known as anittharammana. Regardless of whether they are liked or not, these eight worldly conditions can arise for everyone, be they unlearned and unenlightened or learned and enlightened, the only difference lying in the way each person responds to and acts on them. That is to say:

    1. Unlearned, unenlightened beings do not know or understand the true nature of worldly conditions and so they mindlessly rejoice and lament over them: whenever they win they become indulgent and vainglorious, and whenever they lose they become sad and despondent, or even deranged. They let worldly conditions control their lives and overwhelm their minds, so that they are forever experiencing ups and downs and do not transcend sorrow.
    2. Learned noble disciples know how to reflect on worldly conditions and see their true nature: that all things that arise, whatever they may be, are without exception unstable, impermanent, imperfect and naturally subject to change. Thus they do not mindlessly indulge in pleasant experiences (ittharammana) or become saddened or depressed on account of unpleasant experiences (anittharammana); they abide with mindfulness and equilibrium, neither indulging in happiness nor being overwhelmed by suffering.

    Moreover, the noble disciple may make use of worldly conditions. For example, he may use undesirable experiences as lessons, tests or exercises for training in his own self-development, or use desirable experiences as opportunities or tools for constructive action and the furtherance of beneficial activities.


    B. Ignoring no divine messengers: he reflects on the states that always arise among humankind, which are reminders of the natural course of life, something not to be heedlessly indulged in. These states are known as the five deva-duta (the harbingers or heralds of the Lord of Death):

    1. A newborn baby: [reminds us] that when we are born this is all we are.
    2. An old person: [reminds us] that all people, if they live long enough, will have to experience this.
    3. A sick or injured person: [reminds us] that this condition may arise for any of us.
    4. A prisoner: [reminds us] that bad deeds cause misery and suffering even in this very life, let alone after death.
    5. A dead person: [reminds us] that death awaits all of us; no one can escape it, and no one knows for certain where and when it will happen.

    Whenever we see these phenomena-as when we enter a cemetery, a prison or a hospital-we should not become depressed over or afraid of them, but establish mindfulness, and reflect on them with wisdom so that we are roused to bring forth wholesome actions and lead lives that are free of intoxication and heedlessness.



    C. Reflecting on the formula of life: even when he does not see the "divine messengers," he should constantly reflect according to the five subjects that all people, male or female, lay followers or monastics, should constantly bear in mind (abhinha-paccavekkhana):

    1. Jaradhammata: we are subject to aging and cannot escape it.
    2. Byadhidhammata: we are subject to pain and illness and cannot escape them.
    3. Maranadhammata: we are subject to death and cannot escape it.
    4. Piyavinabhavata: we must inevitably be separated from all people and things that we love.
    5. Kammassakata: we have kamma as our own; whatever deeds we do, be they good or evil, of those we will surely be the heirs.

    Regularly reflecting in this way helps to prevent infatuation with youth, possessions and life, alleviating heedlessness and attachment, preventing evil actions and inspiring us to quickly work for goodness and benefit.


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