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LESSON         BROAD TOPIC OF LESSON

0100         THE CONDITIONS OF WELFARE  

                (Vyagga Pajja Sutta)

When the Buddha addressed a gathering of people who considered themselves to be rich, he drew attention to factors that help people to acquire wealth, to preserve wealth, and increase their prosperity. He also mentions the factors that are conducive to the destruction wealth.

However, in this discourse at the beginning the Buddha also speaks of certain valuable principles that should be followed in general.

These points are made:

  1. Wealth alone does not make a complete person
  2. Wealth alone does not create a harmonious society
  3. Wealth tends to increase a person’s desires
  4. The pursuit of amassing more is likely
  5. Unrestrained craving leaves a person unsatisfied and suffering
  6. It creates an under-privileged class and therefore conflicts

Having understood this framework a person building wealth needs to fulfil these four conditions set out below:

  1. Confidence in the Buddha
  2. Practice of Virtue
  3. Practice of giving
  4. Development of wisdom

Four other supporting factors are required to be successful in building up wealth. These are:

  1. Persistent effort 
  2. Watchfulness
  3. Good friendship
  4. Balanced livelihood

Having acquired wealth a person may run the risk of losing what he built up because of four reasons set out below:

  1. Debauchery
  2. Drunkenness
  3. Gambling
  4. Ignoble associates

The story of this discourse as related presumably by Venerable Ananda, runs like this:

Thus, have I heard. Once the Exalted One was dwelling amongst the Koliyans,[1] in their market town named Kakkarapatta. Then Dighajanu,[2] a Koliyan, approached the Exalted One, respectfully saluted Him and sat on one side. Thus seated, he addressed the Exalted One as follows:

"We, Lord, are laymen who enjoy worldly pleasure. We lead a life encumbered by wife and children. We use sandalwood of Kasi. We deck ourselves with garlands, perfume, and unguents. We use gold and silver. To those like us, O Lord, let the Exalted One preach the Dhamma, teach those things that lead to weal and happiness in this life and to weal and happiness in future life."
 

0101         CONFIDENCE IN THE BUDDHA (Saddha Sampada)

A person seeking prosperity is advised to have faith or confidence in the Buddha. We can do no better than learning, understanding, and thinking with wisdom about the famous nine attributes of the Buddha. These are:

In Pali the stanza is:

 iti pi so bhagava, araham, sammasambuddho, vijjacarana sampanno, sugato, lokavidu, anuttaro purisa Dhamma saarthi, sattha devamanussanam Buddho bhagava ti.

In English these words are commonly used:

the pure one, fully enlightened, endowed with knowledge and conduct, well-gone, the knower of theworlds, the incomparable leader of people to be tamed, the teacher of gods and humans, the all-knowing and blessed. 

These words might no be clear. Therefore, the appearance of the Buddha could make it easier to understand the Buddha as a serene personality. We can unload a picture of the Buddha from the internet. We can visit a temple where there are many statues of the Buddha. We can select one that we can remember easily. Visit the temple many times and look at the selected statue every time. It will stay in your memory.

Even when you get disturbed in the night while sleeping, think of the Buddha. That connection is enough to build on.

To begin with, one may not understand the meanings of each of these words. As we go on, the meanings will be understood more and more. Buddha was always wholesome (clean) in his actions, he would never commit an unwholesome action, and he maintained that character based on understanding these beautiful features. That little must always be kept in mind.

We must keep in mind that the Buddha was fully enlightened. There is no need to understand that right at the start. It is enough to recognise the Buddha for his unsurpassed wisdom and the serene appearance.


Teaching techniques from techniques bank:

208      Studying the script and explaining the main points

607      Reminiscing the attributes of the Buddha (Buddhanussati)-a meditation

 

0102         THE PRACTICE OF VIRTUE 

(Sila Sampada)

We say that a person is virtuous when he seems to follow useful ethical rules and principles. In Buddhism we are encouraged to follow the five precepts in daily life. This is worth discussing. Why and how do these precepts help us?

These precepts help me live peacefully without causing any harm to others. The five precepts are:

            Avoid killing of any living being

            Avoid stealing what belongs to others

            Avoid bad conduct

            Avoid telling lies

            Avoid taking intoxicants

The are discussed in detail in the Dhamma.

There are higher precepts that we can observe if we want to do so.

The main attribute is that using these precepts we do not harm others and we do not incur harm. 

It is worth reminiscing the value of precepts not only while observing them but also when one is resting. Such 

Reminiscence is a concentration meditation and would help to develop your own concentration, which is absolutely necessary in studies and in working life.

It also means that by thinking of the value of virtue we practice right effort, a part of the practice of a Buddhist, we learn later.

If I am interested is becoming wealthy and happy, being virtuous is necessary.

 

0103         CULTIVATING LIBERALITY        

(Caga Sampada)

We know the word charity. The words giving, donating, or renouncing for the benefit of others have similar meanings.

You own or you have a right to own something, and you feel like giving it to another. If you can do tis easily, then you have this quality of liberality. A common act is giving an eatable to another. Giving your seat in the bus is similar.

Naturally we like to cling on to what we have, Liberality enables us to renounce or give up what we have.

It is a good way to live in society.

Renunciation is an essential feature of spiritual practice. Members of the Sangha have renounced household life.

Practising giving in simple ways is the beginning.

Once again reflecting on reminiscing the value of liberality is a good meditation amounting to right effort.

 

Teaching techniques from the techniques bank:

208      Studying the script and explaining the main points

310      Analysis of the concept of giving

311      Survey of the scope of giving

607      Reminiscing the attributes of giving (Caganussati)-a meditation

Writer:                                    Rahubadde Sarath-Chandra

Content Editor:           

Language Editor:         John Alexander Cartwrwright

Teaching Techniques:             RSC

Indexer and Compiler:            RSC

 

0104         DEVELOPING WISDOM 

(Panna Sampada)

When we think of the Buddha, his wisdom always comes to our mind. No one is known to have been so wise as the Buddha. The term Buddha signifies wisdom.

However, we should not try to equate intelligence with wisdom. Wisdom is some thing more than intelligence. In wisdom the idea of morality is also included.

We all are supposed to have the ability to sort out good actions from bad actions. If we have that ability, then we have some amount of wisdom.

The more we understand the Buddha the higher is our level of wisdom.

When we eat some of us want to eat everything. Is it correct to eat like that? If no what is more sensible? Knowing your limits in eating is a sign of wisdom.  If you have wisdom, then you will be able to observe limits in eating. In fact, in most things a wise person will know the limits. If you exceed limits suffering is likely to follow.

Another point is that a wise person finds it easy to see when suffering is about to come. Often situations that are happy on the face of it, actually end in suffering.

If we can talk about these and ask questions, that also indicates that we have a certain amount of wisdom.

This is a basic explanation. Wisdom is discussed at a higher level in a later lesson or two.

Teaching techniques from the techniques bank:

106      Sorting out wholesome and unwholesome actions

108      Observing limits

111      Making choices

503      Asking questions on the Dhamma

608      Reminiscing on the Dhamma (Dhammanussati) - as a meditation

Writer:                                    Rahubadde Sarath-Chandra

Content Editor:           John Alexander Cartwright     

Language Editor:

Teaching Techniques:             RSC

Indexer and Compiler:            RSC

 

0105         PERSISTANT EFFORT 

(Utthana Sampada)

Everyone has a way of living. The essentials of life need to be gathered. Food, clothing, shelter, transport, and medicine are common examples. Children have this need. Monks and nuns too have this need. 

Most working adults get salaries and wages, run businesses, or are engaged in trades or farming or other types of work. Sangha get their needs as offerings from supporters and in return they give counsel to them. Children perform their assigned duties and get their needs from parents. Being lazy does not help and one must build necessary skills to do the work.

They need to use discernment to develop the means they apply. In bigger organisations they develop the skill to delegate and supervise.

This way they achieve success in making a living. That is an accomplishment of persistent effort, to make a living.

 

Teaching techniques from techniques bank

112      Extracting information from an experience

Writer:                                    Rahubadde Sarath-Chandra

Content Editor:           

Language Editor:                     John Alexander Cartwright

Teaching Techniques:             RSC

Indexer and Compiler:            RSC

 

0106         BEING WATCHFUL

(Arakkhaka Sampada)

 

Teaching techniques from techniques bank

108 Developing the skill of managing limits and measures

Writer: Rahubadde Sarath-Chandra

Content Editor:

Language Editor: JAC

Teaching Techniques: RSC

Indexer and Compiler: RSC

 

0106         BEING WATCHFUL

(Arakkhaka Sampada)

A person having acquired possessions, cannot keep them intact without watchfulness.

He needs to guard what he has come to possess, from thieves, from other persons and agencies such as the government, from flood and fire, from carefree children and so on. Even a person having a secure job needs to relate well to superiors and subordinates, keep an eye on jealous associates. Everyone has to be in touch with technological advances, changes in the economy, social attitudes, and influence of powerful foreign companies to hold on to what they have.

This active awareness is the accomplishment of watchfulness.

One needs to observe reasonable and practical limits in this skill.

This skill leads to success in whatever you do, studies, job, business or whatever. Success in any of these areas leads to happiness for oneself, for the family, and for the community.

Does it help in spiritual advancement? Yes, it does. There are people around us who want to pull us towards unwholesome activities like drinking and gambling. Being watchful keeps us safe in a spiritual sense.

 

Teaching techniques from techniques bank

108      Developing the skill of managing limits and measures

Writer:                                    Rahubadde Sarath-Chandra

Content Editor:           

Language Editor:         John Alexander Cartwright

Teaching Techniques:             RSC

Indexer and Compiler:            RSC

 

0107         GOOD FRIENDSHIP 

(Kalana Mittata)

Do you make friends with all and sundry? Probably you do not. This means we need to exercise care in choosing friends. People who have developed the qualities of confidence in the Buddha, practise virtue, practice liberality and are wise, are worthy of friendship. It is assumed that you have the same qualities.

This way your own conduct improves by acting with faith, with virtue, with liberality and wisdom with others having the same qualities.

This is the practice of good friendship.

The Buddha Has mentioned that even if you associate with a person for a whole lifetime, you might not be able to understand him or her completely.  According to the teaching of constant change (anicca) no individual stays as a constant. Influenced by the environment the person keeps changing.

 

Another important teaching is that although you might notice that a person’s behaviour (thinking, words used and actions) might seem objectionable or unacceptable in regard to one aspect, yet according to other aspects that person might seem to be good.  In many cases this is true.

 

We should not judge others permanently or fully. In a so-called bad person, we should try to see at least some good features. Our first obligation is to observe our own thinking and behaviour. Because of something bad in ourselves we might be passing wrong assessments on other people.

 

The need for noble friends

A very important teaching is that one can progress (both in a worldly and spiritual sense) only by having a group of noble friends. Where you might go loose, the noble friends will influence you to get back on the right path. There are very many stories to support this theory. The words Asevanaca Balanam, Panditananca Sevana need to be fully understood. The Dhamma mentions many features of noble friends.

 

However, one needs to understand friends, and closely understand who they are; just by living with them might not be effectual.

 

 Noble friends cannot be bought from the open market. The information in social media might not be helpful. The starting point is being a noble friend yourself. Once you are a noble friend to some extent, you begin to attract other noble friends.

 

Another easy start is to treat the Buddha as your noble friend, maintaining your respect for him. As the Buddha is not living one can turn to the Dhamma or Sangha. This is the reason why, learning about the Buddha is so important. He was an impeccable person.   

 

Always we can look for persons from whom we can learn the Dhamma; there are many in society like that.

 

There is a belief that past kamma brings noble friends together. This could be happening in Buddhist Temples and Meditation Centres.

This subject is also discussed in lessons 0201 and 0202 under the grouping Discourse on Blessings. Some of these comments are from those lessons.

 

Teaching techniques from techniques bank

111      Making proper choices

Writer:                                    Rahubadde Sarath-Chandra

Content Editor:           

Language Editor:

Teaching Techniques:             RSC

Indexer and Compiler:            RSC

 

0108         BALANCED LIVELIHOOD 

(Sama Jivikata)

A successful person will know his income and expenses. These two things keep varying all the time for various reasons. If a person ensures that he is not extravagant and not wasting money and resources that is obviously good.

It is not necessary to live as a miser, hiding one’s income and wealth.

If the income is less than expenses, there is something wrong. That cannot be maintained. 

If one is neither wasteful nor miserly, one is leading a balanced livelihood. 

Teaching techniques from techniques bank

111      Making proper choices

Writer:                                    Rahubadde Sarath-Chandra

Content Editor:           

Language Editor:

Teaching Techniques:             RSC

Indexer and Compiler:            RSC

 

0109         BAD CONDUCT 

There are people who do not care about morality. There are others who change their principles for convenience or advantage. If you are collecting wealth the collected wealth can easily get drained off due to immoral practices.

For example, if one moves to another country and secretly gets married for a second time there will be trouble with the police and in the courts. To pull out of the trouble one may need to spend all the money in the bank account. This way all the wealth acquired can be drained away.  

It is an outlet drain.

Teaching techniques from techniques bank

111      Making proper choices

Writer:                                    Rahubadde Sarath-Chandra

Content Editor:           

Language Editor:

Teaching Techniques:             RSC

Indexer and Compiler:            RSC

 

0110         DRUNKENNESS

People who drink intoxicants, often lose their memory. They spend more and more on drinks for themselves and for their bad friends. They lose control of their duties in the job or in business. Driving licenses can be lost and bad points noted on licenses. There are cases where jobs have been lost, heavy damages paid due to drunken driving.

People get caught in crimes when they get drunk.

All these things mean that the wealth you build up is drained off due to drinking. Once a person gets addicted to drinking, it is hard to get out of it.

Teaching techniques from techniques bank

107      Sorting out merit and demerit, skilful and unskilful actions

Writer:                       Rahubadde Sarath-Chandra

Content Editor:           

Language Editor:

Teaching Techniques:             RSC

Indexer and Compiler:            RSC

 

0111         GAMBLING

Gambling is another outlet drain for wealth. Gamblers think of getting rich. A few might have succeeded. The vast majority ruin their hard-earned wealth by engaging in gambling. 

This is a dangerous addiction.

One should avoid gambling even in a small way. It can become a bad habit.

Teaching techniques from techniques bank

107      Sorting out merit, demerit, skilful and unskilful

Writer:                                    Rahubadde Sarath-Chandra

Content Editor:           

Language Editor:

Teaching Techniques:             RSC

Indexer and Compiler:            RSC

 

0112         UNSUITABLE ASSOCIATES 

When you work hard and build up a little wealth, other people notice your success. Then you get a lot of associates. Not all these people are worthy of becoming good friends.

As you get more and more bad friends you get more of your wealth drained out. Many bad associates come to you purely for getting loans. These they rarely return.

It drains out your wealth.