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Success of a Noble Household Disciple

Success in life is often measured by our accomplishments in life. Yet what is not factored in is how these accomplishments are made. If the ways and means by which you achieved success are questionable, flawed and open to criticism of the noble and wise, there may come a day when you repent yourself.

Therefore if your journey to success is littered by immoral, iniquitous and corrupt conduct, in the context of Dhamma such success is fruitless. What is commendable is achievement that is on both the worldly and spiritual level.

Lord Buddha pointed out that, there are four things that are wished for, desirable, agreeable, and rarely accomplished in this world.

1) Gaining wealth righteously
2) Having gained wealth righteously to have fame come to oneself, one’s teachers, friends and relatives.
3) Having gained wealth righteously and having gained fame for oneself, one’s teachers, friends and relatives, to live long and enjoy a long life span.
4) Having gained wealth righteously and having gained fame for oneself, one’s teachers, friends and relatives and having lived long and enjoyed a long life span, to be born in a heavenly world after death.

Blessed One said there are four other things that lead to obtaining the aforementioned four rare achievements, which are;

1) Accomplishment in Confidence
Accomplishment in confidence is believing in the unique noble qualities of the Lord Buddha. Believing that the Blessed One is an arahant, perfectly enlightened, accomplished in true knowledge and conduct, fortunate, knower of the world, unsurpassed trainer of persons to be tamed, teacher of devas and humans, the Enlightened One, the Blessed One.

2) Accomplishment in Virtue
Accomplishment in virtue is abstaining from killing living beings, abstaining from stealing, abstaining from sexual misconduct, abstaining from false speech, abstaining from taking intoxicating drinks and drugs.

3) Accomplishment in Generosity
Accomplishment in generosity is living a life free of the stains of miserliness by being generous and openhanded, delighting in relinquishment, devoted to charity, delighting in giving and sharing.

4) Accomplishment in Wisdom
Accomplishment in wisdom is achieved by living a life devoid of the following five aspects which degrades one’s fame and happiness.

i) Covetousness and Unrighteous greed.
Covetousness (Abhijja) is the desire to acquire what belongs to others. With this ill placed desire there arise in the mind evil and unrighteous greed. It is because covetousness and greed that people encroach others properties and make claims for wealth and property for which they have no right or ownership. When one’s mind is clouded with covetousness and unrighteous greed, one neglects what should be done and does what should be avoided and in consequence his/her fame and happiness is spoiled.

ii) Ill will
If one dwells with a mind overcome by ill will or anger he is unable to act for the wellbeing of oneself or others and thus he neglects what should be done and does what should be avoided, marring one’s fame and happiness.

iii) Sloth and Torpor
Sloth and torpor is being lazy and lethargic. If a person is prone to oversleeping he is wasting precious time that can be put to good use, and ends up neglecting his duties and degrading his fame and happiness in the process.

iv) Restlessness and Remorse
If a person lives with an agitated and restless mind stressed out and worked up all the time, he would not feel like keeping the house clean, doing the laundry or dressing up properly. Because his mind is messed up so would be his life. With no peace of mind he would neglect what has to be done and do what has to be avoided and would lose his fame and happiness.

v) Doubt
If a person doubts everything he does in life and keep switching from one solution to another he too would end up neglecting his duties and spoil his fame and happiness.

Thus Lord Buddha said one should always be mindful of these five impurities (Upakkilesa); covetousness and unrighteous greed, ill will, sloth and torpor, restlessness and remorse, and doubt that pollute the mind.

Once these impurities crop up in our mind we should be mindful to identify them and be heedful in using effort to abandon them knowing that they hinder our progress in life and acts for our downfall.

Blessed One said, if a householder, a noble disciple is skillful in identifying and abandoning theses impurities, then it can be said of him that he is a noble disciple of great wisdom, of wide wisdom, one who knows the right and wrong path, one who is accomplished in wisdom.

Then Lord Buddha pointed out, the noble disciple who is accomplished in confidence, virtue, generosity and wisdom is capable of living a peaceful and happy life, safe in the knowledge of having acquired wealth righteously.

Furthermore the noble disciple who has thus acquired his wealth righteously undertakes four worthy deeds.

1) He spends his earnings for the wellbeing and happiness of himself, his parents, wife and children, servants and friends.

2) He makes provisions against losses that might arise from floods, kings, thieves or enemies and makes himself secure against them.

3) Another quota of his righteous earnings is spent for the following five tasks known as “pancha bali”.
i)Caring for relatives
ii)Caring for guests
iii)Caring for the diseased, by transferring merits accumulated by giving alms.
iv)Paying taxes
v)Transferring merits accumulated by giving alms, to deities.

4) His earnings are also spent on a special offering of alms conducive to heavenly birth and happiness, by giving alms to ascetics and Brahmins who train themselves in patience, calmness of the mind, restraining of the senses, with the goal of nibbana.

In this way the noble disciple spends what he has earned righteously, in a worthy and rightful manner. Lord Buddha preached wealth thus spent is properly spent, gone to good use, and have been utilized for a worthy cause.

As per the teachings of the Lord Buddha these are the criteria to judge the success of a person’s life. Hence if you mould your life in accordance with these principles and standards, one fine day you too can look back at your lives and rejoice in the fact that you have enjoyed wealth gained righteously, supported your dependents and overcome adversities, performed the five tasks (pancha bali) and offered alms to virtuous monks.

You would have no regrets since you have earned righteously and spent wisely being true to your heart. You would be praised for achieving rare excellence in life on both the worldly and spiritual level and after death you shall rejoice in heaven.

From Pattakamma Sutta – Anguttara Nikaya
By a Venerable Thero of Mahamevnawa Meditation Monastery

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