Today is the day we celebrate the Buddha’s birth, enlightenment, and passing away.
To all the wonderful people here on this forum, be happy! We are all blessed to have heard the Buddha’s teachings, and to have found others to share them with. I am so proud of this community, and of all that we have done and achieved together. Let’s take a moment to celebrate the day, and each other.
Wishing you all happiness and wisdom! Vesak is the most important holy day in Buddhism, commemorating the birth, enlightenment and passing away of the Buddha. These are some beautiful images by U Ba Kyi you can see the full set here:
The Buddha was born under the Ashoka tree, attained enlightenment under the Bodhi tree, and died under the Sala tree. These three different trees seem to have some symbolic religious connection with the Buddha and Buddhism.
It is found in 2 places (that I know of) in different forms. It seems to have been stitched together and has a few later additions to an earlier text found in the suttas, which has been extracted from this sutta: Pubbaṇhasutta AN 3.155:
But the full version appears in the MJG, the ‘Maha Jaya Mangala Gatha’ which is a Sri Lankan collection of parittas chants. I have never been able to find out the origin of this collection, but have seen several books of chanting with this title.
In the MJG, (translator unknown, I’m afraid) the verses start with “Maha Kauniko natho” and tells the story of the Buddha sitting at the root of the Bodhi tree:
Pūretvā pāramī sabbā
Hotu te jaya-maṅgalaṁ
(The Buddha), our protector, with great compassion
for the welfare of all beings,
having fulfilled all the perfections,
attained the highest self-awakening.
Through the speaking of this truth,
may you have a victory blessing.
The next two verses pick up the theme expand it, honoring the Buddha’s attainments. The line Jayanto is where the chanting in our video starts from but sometimes it starts with the preceding stanza.
Jayanto bodhiyā mūle
Evaṁ tvam vijayo hohi
Victorious at the foot of the Bodhi tree,
was he who increased the Sakyans’ delight.
May you have the same sort of victory.
May you win victory blessings.
At the head of the lotus leaf of the world
on the undefeated seat consecrated by all the Buddhas,
he rejoiced in the utmost attainment.
Then comes the extracted text from AN 3.155. (translated here by Bhante Sujato)
A good star, a good fortune,
a good dawn, a good rising,
a good moment, a good hour:
Sukhaṇo sumuhutto ca,
these come with good gifts to spiritual practitioners.
Worthy deeds of body,
verbal worthy deeds,
worthy deeds of mind,
paṇīdhi te padakkhiṇe;
when your deeds have been worthy,
you get worthy benefits.
In the sutta text there follows a few more blessing verses that are regarded as special blessings. They are beautifully encouraging verses which are not usually included in the Thai paritta chanting. They can be chanted anytime, but are commonly chanted at ordinations or when someone takes the precepts for the first time.
Those happy with these benefits
Te atthaladdhā sukhitā,
flourish in the Buddha’s teaching.
May you and all your relatives
Arogā sukhitā hotha,
be healthy and happy!”
saha sabbehi ñātibhī”ti.
I think with many of the parittas and the way we chant them today, there is a fair amount of latitude given to extracting and combining various chants. The Thai tradition also has several chants that are much, much later (18th/19th centuries) which are clearly not the word of the Buddha. I guess they function more as a part of a broader cultural expression, though some were said to be written by a Thai King, so perhaps it reflects an official order of service or something. I’m still not as clear about the MJG as I would like to be.