Personal Attributes for True Happiness and Success
Dattajeevo Bhikku, often referred to as Luang Phor Dattajeevo, is the
Acting Abbot of Wat Phra Dhammakaya, the President of Dhammakaya
International Society of California, USA and the Vice President of
Dhammakaya Foundation. Luang Phaw Dattajeevo.
In his work ‘A
Manual of Peace- 38 Steps towards Enlightened Living’, Luang Phor
explains in detail how Lord Buddha has used the 38 Blessings as a means
of helping humankind to cultivate certain desirable personal
attributes, and how they can help individuals meet true happiness and
success in life.
Having spent close to 12 years teaching this
Dhamma topic over and over again, it occurs to Luang Phor that these 38
Blessings can be divided into ten different groups. Below is an excerpt
from the manual.
The first five groups deal with the practical
aspects of our daily life whereas the latter five groups deal
specifically with the training of our mind from the basic level all the
way to the attainment of Arahatship.
|The First Group teaches us to be a good person in that
(Blessing No. 1): we need to stay away from fools,
(Blessing No. 2): we need to associate with wise people, and
(Blessing No. 3): we need to respect those who are worthy of our respect
The Second Group teaches us to be ready to do good deeds in that
(Blessing No. 4): we need to live in a civilised environment,
(Blessing No. 5): we need to be blessed with past merit, and
(Blessing No. 6): we need to have a good life-goal.
The Third Group teaches us to be capable and productive
(Blessing No. 7): by being scholarly,
(Blessing No. 8): by being creative,
(Blessing No. 9): by having self-discipline, and
(Blessing No. 10): by speaking truth.
The Fourth Group teaches us to provide for our loved ones
(Blessing No. 11): by caring for our aging parents,
(Blessing No. 12): by providing for our children,
(Blessing No. 13): by supporting our spouse, and
(Blessing No. 14): by not being a procrastinator.
The Fifth Group teaches us to practice altruism
(Blessing No. 15): by achieving charity,
(Blessing No. 16): by performing wholesome deeds,
(Blessing No. 17): by supporting our relatives and friends in times of need,
(Blessing No. 18): and by doing work which has altruistic value.
The Sixth Group teaches us to begin training our mind
(Blessing No. 19): by abstaining from all unwholesome deeds,
(Blessing No. 20): by abstaining from alcohol drinking, and
(Blessing No. 21): by not being reckless.
The Seventh Group teaches us to pursue fundamental virtues
(Blessing No. 22): by being respectful,
(Blessing No. 23): by practicing humility,
(Blessing No. 24): by practicing moderation,
(Blessing No. 25): by being grateful, and
(Blessing No. 26): by taking the time to listen to Dhamma lectures.
The Eighth Group teaches us to pursue higher virtues
(Blessing No. 27): by cultivating patience,
(Blessing No. 28): by being open to constructive criticism,
(Blessing No. 29): by being acquainted with righteous monks, and
(Blessing No. 30): by learning Dhamma from the righteous monks.
The Ninth Group teaches us to remove all defilements from our nature
(Blessing No. 31): by cultivating austerity,
(Blessing No. 32): by practicing chastity,
(Blessing No. 33): by practicing meditation, and
(Blessing No. 34): by penetrating Nibbana.
The Tenth Group teaches us about the fruits of freedom from defilements which include:
(Blessing No. 35): Equanimity
(Blessing No. 36): Joy
(Blessing No. 37): Purity, and
(Blessing No. 38): Bliss.
Phor hopes that this short presentation should not only give the reader
an idea about Life’s 38 Blessings but also convey the fact that the
Lord Buddha arranges every Dhamma topic so precisely and exactly in the
right order that when we practice His Teachings accordingly we can be
assured of the expected outcome.
Why should leaders bother with spiritual knowledge?
dealing with spiritual issues, the ‘big question’ on many business
peoples’ minds is why academic or material knowledge is not sufficient
to get by in the world. If a full stomach and a place to sleep were
enough to keep the human happy then we wouldn’t have to go to the
trouble of studying about ethics or about spirituality. However, for
every human being, there is something deeper inside us which is always
searching for the answers to questions on a deeper level -something
which seeks for purpose and meaning in the life we live and the world
around us. If supporting yourself were all there was to life then
certainly millionaires would be the happiest people on earth.
Unfortunately wealth can only buy physical comfort - money cannot buy
the means to nurture or nourish the mind. On the contrary, the
irresponsible people may use their cunning to do more heinous crimes
than they would do if they weren’t educated. Thus worldly education
cannot guarantee us a happy life or guarantee that we will not end up
in jail. This is why we make the distinction between worldly and
In the ideal world, our system of education
would give us the answers we need to the questions inside ourselves,
but in practice, the secular education doesn’t manage to fill this
gap-and maybe, even if it were to try, it could not - because in some
way the personal quest is part of the process of acquiring knowledge.
Thus we are forced to look for the answers from alternative sources.
human being has two important parts: body and mind. By body we mean all
the blood, bones, muscles and organs associated with the physical body
- even the brain, which is a physical organ. By mind, we mean the
knowledge and attitudes that constitute our consciousness. The mind is
like the ghost in the machine. The physical components of the human
being are neutral. The difference between a human who is uplifting and
one who is degrading depends not on the body, but on the mental
component. Unfortunately, the software of the human mind is not
pre-installed from the factory! The path of our subsequent destiny
depends on the sort of knowledge we fill ourselves with. If the
knowledge is wholesome, then our lives and business ventures will be
Thus, even with all our business acumen and
qualifications, we cannot deny the importance, in this third wave of
leadership, of spiritual knowledge. Spiritual knowledge properly
studied can guarantee that we will not be put in jail - it is not only
something to fill up our brains - it has transformative power to
upgrade the way we think, speak and act. It has the power to ensure
that we do business ethically, rather than making profit from the
suffering of others, especially in these times of economic downturn
when the temptation to cut ethical corners is all the greater. Thus, as
businesspeople, to prosper both inwardly and outwardly we need to make
sure that our economics go hand in hand with our ethical conduct. We
need to do business in the way that when, on our deathbeds we look back
over our lives, we can close our eyes with the feeling that we have
done good for (and by) the world.
Adapted from Dhammakaya Foundation’s (2005) “A Manual of Peace” by Ven. Phra Nicholas Thanissaro.