Let's Begin!

001 Let’s Begin!

Why should I begin?
In other words, what is my purpose or what’s in it for me?
The answer is simple: I want to be happy, or happier to be exact.

Then, what do I need to do?

 Let’s see what the Buddha said about a layperson’s work that will lead to the welfare and happiness.

What to do:
“What is accomplishment in initiative? Here, whatever may be the means by which a clansman earns his living— whether by farming, trade, raising cattle, archery, government service, or some other craft— he is skillful and diligent; he possesses sound judgment about it in order to carry out and arrange it properly. This is called accomplishment in initiative.” [A8:54]

What not to do:
“A lay follower should not engage in these five trades. What five? Trading in weapons, trading in living beings, trading in meat, trading in intoxicants, and trading in poisons. A lay follower should not engage in these five trades.” [A5:177]

 

002 Let’s Begin!

Why should I begin?
In other words, what is my purpose or what’s in it for me?
The answer is simple: I want to be happy, or happier to be exact.

Then, what do I need to do?

Let’s see what the Buddha said about a layperson’s wealth that will lead to the welfare and happiness.

“And what is accomplishment in protection? Here, a clansman sets up protection and guard over the wealth he has acquired by initiative and energy, amassed by the strength of his arms, earned by the sweat of his brow, righteous wealth righteously gained, thinking: ‘How can I prevent kinds and thieves from taking it, fire from burning it, floods from sweeping it off, and displeasing heirs from taking it?’ This is called accomplishment in protection.” [A8:54]

 

003 Let’s Begin!

Why should I begin?
In other words, what is my purpose or what’s in it for me?
The answer is simple: I want to be happy, or happier to be exact.

Then, what do I need to do?

Let’s see what the Buddha said about a layperson’s friends and practice that will lead to the welfare and happiness.

“And what is good friendship? Here, in whatever village or town a clansman lives, he associates with householders or their sons — whether you but of mature, or old and of mature virtue — who are accomplished in faith, virtuous behavior, generosity, and wisdom; he converses with them and engages in discussions with them. Insofar as they are accomplished in faith, he emulates them with respect to their accomplishment in faith; insofar as they are accomplished in virtuous behavior, he emulates them with respect to their accomplishment in virtuous behavior; insofar as they accomplished in generosity, he emulates them with respect to their accomplishment in generosity; insofar as they are accomplished in wisdom, he emulates them with respect to their accomplishment in wisdom. This is called good friendship.” [A8:54]

 

004 Let’s Begin!

Why should I begin?
In other words, what is my purpose or what’s in it for me?
The answer is simple: I want to be happy, or happier to be exact.

Then, what do I need to do?

Let’s see what the Buddha said about a layperson’s living that will lead to the welfare and happiness.

“And what is balanced living? Here, a clansman knows his income and expenditures and leads a balanced life, neither too extravagant nor too frugal, [aware]: ‘In this way my income will exceed my expenditures rather than the reverse.’ Just as an appraiser or his apprentice, holding up a scale, knows; ‘By so much it has dipped down, by so much it has gone up,’ so a clansman knows his income and expenditures and leads a balanced life, neither too extravagant nor too frugal, [aware]: ‘In this way my income will exceed my expenditures rather than the reverse.’
“If this clansman has a small income but lives luxuriously, others would say of him: ‘This clansman eats his wealth just like an eater of figs.’ But if he has a large income but lives sparingly, others would say of him: ‘This clansman may even starve himself.’ But it is called balanced living when a clansman knows his income and expenditures and leads a balanced life, neither too extravagant nor too frugal, [aware]: ‘In this way my income will exceed my expenditures rather than the reverse.’
“The wealth thus amassed has four sources of dissipation: womanizing, drunkenness, gambling, and bad friendship, bad companionship, bad comradeship. Just as if there were a large reservoir with four inlets and four outlets, and a man would close the inlets and open the outlets, and sufficient rain does not fall, one could expect the water in the reservoir to decrease rather than increase; so the wealth thus amassed has four sources of dissipation; womanizing … bad comradeship.
“The wealth thus amassed has four sources of accretion; one avoids womanizing, drunkenness, and gambling, and cultivates good friendship, good companionship, good comradeship. Just as if there were a large reservoir with four inlets and four outlets, and a man would open the inlets and close the outlets, and sufficient rain falls; one could expect the water in the reservoir to increase rather than decrease, so the wealth amassed has four sources of accretion: one avoids womanizing … and cultivates good friendship.
“These are the four things that lead to the welfare and happiness of a clansman in this very life.” [A8:54]


005 Let’s Begin!

Why should I begin?
In other words, what is my purpose or what’s in it for me?
The answer is simple: I want to be happy, or happier to be exact.

Then, what do I need to do?

For a layperson to achieve happiness, the Buddha said; be skillful, be diligent, and possess sound judgment about one’s work; protect one’s wealth; good friendship; and live a balanced life.

Let’s see what the Buddha said about what kinds of happiness a layperson may enjoy having lived by his teaching.

“These four kinds of happiness that may be achieved by a layperson … What four?

1. The happiness of ownership
2. The happiness of enjoyment
3. The happiness of freedom from debt
4. The happiness of blamelessness”
[Freedom from Debt Sutta, A4: 62]

 

006 Let’s Begin!

Why should I begin?
In other words, what is my purpose or what’s in it for me?
The answer is simple: I want to be happy, or happier to be exact.

Then, what do I need to do?

 For a layperson to achieve happiness, the Buddha said; be skillful, be diligent, and possess sound judgment about one’s work; protect one’s wealth; good friendship; and live a balanced life.
 Included in the above “good friendship,” the Buddha specifically mentioned these four things to lay followers: faith, virtuous behavior, generosity, and wisdom.” He said to seek those who have accomplished these four things, converse, and learn from them.

Faith:
“And what is accomplishment in faith? Here, a clansman is endowed with faith. He places faith in the enlightenment of the Tathagata thus: ‘The Blessed One is an arahant … teacher of devas and humans, the Enlightened one, the Blessed one.’ This is called accomplishment in faith.”
[A8:54]

“Buddha Vandana

Iti pi so Bhagavâ-Araham Sammâ-sambuddho. Vijjâ-carana sampanno Sugato Lokavidû Anuttarro Purisa-damma-sârathi Satthâ deva-manussânam Buddho Bhagavâti

Homage to the Buddha

Thus indeed, is that Blessed One: He is the Holy One, fully enlightened, endowed with clear vision and virtuous conduct, sublime, the Knower of the worlds, the incomparable leader of men to be tamed, the teacher of gods and men, enlightened and blessed.”
[www.buddhanet.net]

 

007 Let’s Begin!
 

Why should I begin?
In other words, what is my purpose or what’s in it for me?
The answer is simple: I want to be happy, or happier to be exact.

Then, what do I need to do?

For a layperson to achieve happiness, the Buddha said; be skillful, be diligent, and possess sound judgment about one’s work; protect one’s wealth; good friendship; and live a balanced life.
 Included in the above “good friendship,” the Buddha specifically mentioned these four things to lay followers: faith, virtuous behavior, generosity, and wisdom.” He said to seek those who have accomplished these four things, converse, and learn from them.

Virtuous behavior:

“And what is accomplishment in virtuous behavior? Here, a clansman abstains
from the destruction of life,
from taking what is not given,
from sexual misconduct,
from false speech, and
from liquor, wine, and intoxicants, the basis for heedlessness.”
[A8:54]

 

008 Let’s Begin!
 

Why should I begin?
In other words, what is my purpose or what’s in it for me?
The answer is simple: I want to be happy, or happier to be exact.

Then, what do I need to do?

For a layperson to achieve happiness, the Buddha said; be skillful, be diligent, and possess sound judgment about one’s work; protect one’s wealth; good friendship; and live a balanced life.
Included in the above “good friendship,” the Buddha specifically mentioned these four things to lay followers: faith, virtuous behavior, generosity, and wisdom.” He said to seek those who have accomplished these four things, converse, and learn from them.

Generosity:
“And what is accomplishment in generosity? Here, a clansman dwells at home with a heart devoid of the stain of miserliness, freely generous, openhanded, delighting in relinquishment, one devoted to charity, delighting in giving and sharing. This is called accomplishment in generosity.”
[A8:54]

 

009 Let’s Begin!

Why should I begin?
In other words, what is my purpose or what’s in it for me?
The answer is simple: I want to be happy, or happier to be exact.

Then, what do I need to do?

For a layperson to achieve happiness, the Buddha said; be skillful, be diligent, and possess sound judgment about one’s work; protect one’s wealth; good friendship; and live a balanced life.
Included in the above “good friendship,” the Buddha specifically mentioned these four things to lay followers: faith, virtuous behavior, generosity, and wisdom.” He said to seek those who have accomplished these four things, converse, and learn from them.

Wisdom:
“And what is accomplishment in wisdom? Here, a clansman is wise; he possesses the wisdom that discerns arising and passing away, which is noble and penetrative and leads to the complete destruction of suffering.”
[A8:54]

 

010 Let’s Begin!
 

Why should I begin?
In other words, what is my purpose or what’s in it for me?
The answer is simple: I want to be happy, or happier to be exact.

Then, what do I need to do?

For a layperson to achieve happiness, the Buddha said; be skillful, be diligent, and possess sound judgment about one’s work; protect one’s wealth; good friendship; and live a balanced life.
Included in the above “good friendship,” the Buddha specifically mentioned these four things to lay followers: faith, virtuous behavior, generosity, and wisdom.” He said to seek those who have accomplished these four things, converse, and learn from them.

In other words, I must practice wisdom (insight, vipassana) meditation. The Buddha taught three kinds of meditation: mindfulness, concentration, and insight meditation.
Of the three meditations, which one should I practice first? Mindfulness meditation is fundamental, basic, and needed in all three meditation practices; therefore, I need to practice mindfulness first.
The Buddha said, “Strong mindfulness, however, is needed in all instances … So, it is as desirable in all instances as a seasoning of salt in all sauces, as a prime minister in all the king’s business.” [Vis. IV. 49, translated by Bhikkhu Nanamoli]

Bibliography

A translation of the Anguttara Nikaya by Bhikkhu Bodhi, ©2012 Bhikkhu Bodhi, Reprinted by permission of Wisdom Publications, www.wisdompubs.org