By Nhat Quan
The desire for a full and prosperous life is a burning desire of people at all times. That's why every time the year ends, New Year's Day comes, and a new cycle begins. When meeting on the first days of the year, do not tell but everyone is the same:
- Happy New Year, everything is as you wish
- New year brings wealth, money comes in like water
- Happy new year and prosperous
In order to partially fulfill that wish, many peoples have built and shaped gods to worship for luck, often called the god of fortune.
According to Vietnam, the image or statue of a god of wealth wearing a yellow robe, has the word longevity, or the word happiness, holding a bunch of gold in his hand. So is the Chinese god of wealth, but China also offers a god of fortune, through which the image of the Great Reverend is considered typical.
In Buddhism, the god of wealth is understood here as a saintly disciple of the Buddha whose predestined cause creates deep blessings. The scriptures of the Southern and Northern Tradition, tell you that the holy disciple I just mentioned is called Sivali. The word Sīvali means extinguishing all anger and fear of loved ones, bringing coolness and happiness to all sentient beings.
About the position of this venerable, according to the Northern and Southern scriptures, it is said: The father of the venerable Sīvali is named Mahāli from Licchavī. The venerable's mother named Suppavāsā, the princess of Koliya has a tradition of worshiping the Three Jewels, often making offerings to the Buddha and monks.
According to the scriptures, when Princess Suppavasa was pregnant, people often brought gifts to offer innumerable numbers. To try to know the meritorious fruit of Princess Suppavasa, people brought seeds for her to touch. When those seeds are planted, the harvest results are extraordinary hundreds, thousands, thousands of times! When the harvest is complete, pour it into the warehouse, and then invite Princess Suppavasa to touch the warehouse, even though the rice is poured in a little, the warehouse is still full. When taking the rice out of the warehouse, if Princess Suppavasa touches the warehouse, no matter how much rice is taken out, the rice storage will not decrease. When cooking rice to distribute to everyone, if Princess Suppavasa touches the rim of the rice cooker, the rice will be scooped out and distributed to many people, still enough, the rice is still not empty from the pot, until Princess Suppavasa removed her hand from the rim of the rice cooker.
Everyone saw the extraordinary meritorious results of Princess Suppavasa during her pregnancy with Venerable Sīvali. The truth is that Princess Suppavasa is only the one who is affected by the blessing of the fetus, that is, Venerable Sīvali is in the mother's womb.
During the birth of Venerable Sivali, usually after conception, about nine or ten months, the mother gives birth. But when Princess Suppavasa was pregnant with Venerable Sīvali for seven years and seven days, people still hadn't seen Princess Suppavasa give birth. What an incredible thing, never heard of, never seen! Especially since the fetus was in the mother's womb for so long, but it still did not make Princess Suppavasa uncomfortable at all, the princess still lived happily, and naturally, and every day the meritorious fruit continued to grow phenomenally.
But in the next seven days, she had to endure extreme suffering from the fetus. As a person of pure faith in the Three Jewels, Princess Suppavasa wanted to worship the Buddha before she died. With that fervent wish, she expressed to Prince Mahali:
- Dear husband, please, for me and the child in my belly, go and invite the Buddha and the Venerable Monks to come here so that I can worship and make offerings.
Eager because his wife's pregnancy period was too long, along with the extraordinary phenomena that everyone saw in Princess Suppavasa when he heard his wife's request, Prince Mahali immediately went to the Buddha to follow his wife's wishes. Buddha's vision, the Buddha clearly saw the negative karma of the fetus, and the mother were satisfied. He imparted a blessing to Princess Suppavasa and the fetus:
- Princess Suppavasa of Koliya.
Be healthy and well, and give birth to a healthy baby.
When the Blessed One finished the blessing, at the palace, Princess Suppavasa gave birth to a son easily. According to the Ekottara Nikaya and its commentary in the Chinese Tripitaka, at birth, Venerable Sivali had extraordinary signs. The scriptures record that, when he was just born, his two hands held a priceless pearl with many special expressions.
The birth of Sivali made the royal family as well as the people of Koliya extinguish all the anxiety and fear for Princess Suppavasa and the prince, bringing coolness and happiness to everyone, so it was named Sīvali. , because the word Sivali is cool, happy).
On the way back to the palace, seeing everyone happy and joyful, Prince Mahāli knew that good things had happened to Princess Suppavasa and his child. Arriving at the palace, he immediately visited his wife and narrated the Buddha's blessing to Princess Suppavasa and her son. Princess Suppavasa had pure faith in the Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha, and at the same time was very happy to see the new birth of a greatly blessed child, so she said to her husband:
- Please allow me to invite the Buddha and 500 monks, tomorrow to the palace for me to do good deeds for 7 days called happy birth.
So Prince Mahali invited the Buddha and the monks, the Buddha, and the great monks came to the palace of Princess Suppavasa and Prince Mahali to attend the ceremony to bless Happy Childbirth, for 7 days.
On the seventh day, the Blessed One instructed Venerable Sariputta to preach the Dharma. Venerable Sariputta gave a discourse on the suffering of birth, rebirth is suffering. Prince Sīvali listened and understood deeply about the suffering of birth because he himself had to suffer in his mother's womb for 7 years and 7 days: that's what he went through.
At that time, Venerable Sariputta asked Prince Sivali:
- Son, you have been in the womb for 7 years and 7 days, have you experienced a lot of suffering?
- Dear Venerable Sir, I have experienced a lot of suffering!
- So, do you want to leave home to free yourself from suffering or not?
- Dear Venerable Sir, if my parents allow me, I will leave home.
Princess Suppavasa saw her son talking to Venerable Sariputta, in her heart of great joy, she wanted to know what her son was saying to Venerable Sariputta. Princess Suppavasa approached Venerable Sariputta and said:
- Venerable Sir, what is the disciple's son talking to you?
Venerable Sariputta reported that:
- Prince Sīvali said: How much suffering I suffered while lying in my mother's womb if my parents allow me, I will leave home to free the suffering of birth.
After hearing that, Princess Suppavasa was very happy and said:
- Dear Sir, Your Excellency, Goodness! Rather good! I respectfully ask you to be merciful and gracious to the son of a disciple to be ordained.
As you can see, Venerable Sivali had to stay in his mother's womb for 7 years and 7 days, it was because of evil karma in the past, Sīvali's previous life as the crown prince of the king who reigned in the city of Baranasi. When the father died, the crown prince ascended the throne. At that time, there was a king of a neighboring country trying to pull troops to capture the city of Baranasi. On the way to advance, this king set up barracks for the soldiers to spend the night. The king in the citadel of Baranasi heard about it, and he discussed it with the Queen Mother, tried to prevent the invading army, and then surrounded the four gates of the barracks for 7 days and nights, not allowing anyone to enter.
At that time, the Paccekabuddhas were staying at Migadayavihara Temple, teaching about good and evil, advising people not to cause evil karma, but to try to create good karma. The king in the city of Baranasi, after hearing the Dharma, understood good karma and bad karma, immediately ordered to open a siege of the four gates of the enemy camp, let the neighboring king and his soldiers escape and return to the country.
Due to the evil karma of besieging the barracks for 7 days and nights, the king of Baranasi after his death fell into hell, suffering for a long time. Now to this present life, being reborn in Princess Suppavasa, the incarnation of the Queen Mother in a previous life, agreed with the King to besiege the enemy camp. Due to residual evil karma in the past, Venerable Sīvali and Princess Suppavasa suffered together for 7 years and 7 days
Again, since leaving home to study, Venerable Sīvali turned 20 years old. He received the Precepts, became a Bhikkhu, and the four items of supplies were even more abundant for the other Bhikkhus. Whenever there are many monks and nuns, they have to travel on the way through remote areas, sparsely populated, and meager, but if there is a venerable Sīvali in the group, four items of equipment will arise to Bhikkhu Sangha. Due to the power and virtue of the venerable Sīvali, the Devas turned out to be crowded villages, towns, and cities to offer clothes, food, shelter, and medical treatment to the Bhikkhu Sangha group. When the group of monks and nuns passed through that place, the village and the citadel immediately disappeared.
So one day when the Buddha and the monks and nuns went to the forest, where the venerable Revata lived. When the Buddha and the Sangha came to a road with a turn. Master Ananda told the Buddha:
- Dear World-Honored One, there are two paths, which of these two paths should the Blessed One take:
Teacher Ananda continued:
- A road of 30 Yojana (equivalent to 480 miles), full of dangers and many inhumans, without a place for alms and a place to stay.
- A road 60 Yojana, (equivalent to 960 miles), is safe because there are villages, easy accommodation, and alms-giving.
The Buddha taught:
- Hey, A Nanda, did Sīvali go in the group of Bhikkhus?
Arya Ananda said:
- Dear Lord Buddha, there is a venerable Sīvali in the group.
  The Buddha taught:
- Thus, the Bhikkhu Sangha should follow the path of the 30 Yojana. (equivalent to 480 miles) To know clearly the meritorious results of Sīvali.
Then, the Buddha and the large group of Bhikkhu Sangha followed the path of 30 30 Yojana (equivalent to 480 miles). All the Devas heard that the Buddha and the large group of Bhikkhus, including their beloved Venerable Sīvali, were walking along this path, so they were extremely happy. For every yojana, the devas turn into a prosperous city with a large population, there are large temples, and in each temple, there is a large pure dwelling for the Buddha and small pure dwellings for the Bhikkhu Sangha. In those pure dwellings, there are all the necessary items of monasticism, to welcome the Buddha and the Bhikkhu Sangha.
When the Buddha and the Bhikkhu Sangha went anywhere, the Devas turned out to be male and female attendants with pure faith in the Three Jewels, protecting and offering four full-fledged items.
Every time the Buddha and the Sangha stopped to rest for a while, there all the Devas came to pay their respects to the Buddha and asked:
- Dear World Honored One, where is our Venerable Sīvali?
When they met Venerable Sīvali, all the Devas were extremely happy, so the items of clothing, food, lodging, and medicine were abundantly available to the Bhikkhu Sangha until the Buddha and the group of monks and nuns were abundant until Buddha and Bhikkhu Sangha left that place.
The Buddha and the Sangha could walk one yojana every day, for each Yojana, the devas turned out to be rich and densely populated cities to protect the Buddha and the group of monks and nuns, along the way for 30 yojanas, to the forest where Venerable Revata lived.
Venerable Revata heard that the Buddha and a large group of Bhikkhus came to visit, he used his miraculous powers to turn into a large temple for the Buddha to preach and a meeting place for the Bhikkhus. It turned out that the Gandhakuti pure dwelling was fully furnished to the Buddha and other small pure dwellings for the bhikkhus. Also by miracles, Venerable Revata turned out to be a big and beautiful road to welcome the Buddha and the Bhikkhu Sangha. The Buddha and the group of Bhikkhus went on that road to the big temple, and then the Buddha came to the pure dwelling Gandhakuti, all the Bhikkhus went to rest in a small pure dwelling already made.
Devas was in the forest very happy to welcome the Buddha and the Bhikkhu Sangha, including their beloved Venerable Sīvali. Devas also turned into male and female attendants, knowing that it was past time for food, so they only made water and fruit to offer to the Buddha and the Bhikkhu Sangha. Every day, devas happily offered four items to the Buddha and the Bhikkhu Sangha. Due to the merits of Venerable Sīvali, for half a month the Buddha and the group of Bhikkhus who lived in the forest were always loved by Devas and offered clothes, food, shelter, and medicine without any shortage of days
The reason why Venerable Sivali received great blessings is because of his charity, merits, and virtues, which he planted in many previous lives. According to the Predecessor Story, the Sage's Chronicle, the Anguttara Nikaya commentary, the Dhammapada commentary, and the Verses in the Theragatha commentary, the predecessor of the venerable Sīvali made offerings to many Buddhas.
First of all, in the past ninety-one kalpas, when Vipassi-buddha was born and taught people in the country of Bandhumatī, there was a rich man by the name of Mandala who wanted to make offerings to Vipassi-buddha but lacked yogurt. At that time, venerable Sivali's predecessor was a cowherd and now had yogurt, intending to use it to sacrifice to the gods. At that time, despite being paid a high price by the rich man Mandala, when he heard the purpose of the offering, his predecessor Arya Sivali made a vow:
- Today I personally bring yogurt to offer the Tathagata.
Second, thirty-one kalpas ago, the Lord Sikhi-buddha appeared in the world. At that time, Venerable Sivali's predecessor, a great merchant name Thien Tai, bowed down to offer a lot of gold and jade on the Tathagata's body with the vow that:
- May thanks to this merit, where I was born, money is always full, treasures are always gathered, nothing is lacking, my hand is always full of money, even in my mother's womb, I also hold it and keeps the money.
Third, in the Middle Ages, when Vessabhu Buddha, Venerable Sìvali's predecessor, a layman named Thien Giac, had a lot of money, he personally made offerings to the Buddha and Saints with the vow:
- I vow that through merit, wherever I was born, I will often meet the Three Jewels, have nothing to lack, and have many supporters, in the future life, I will also meet the Buddha, as I have today.
Fourth, in Bhadda-kappa, when Lord Krakucchanda appeared in the world, Venerable Sìvali's predecessor, named Multi-Tai, developed the heart to make offerings to the Buddha and the saints for seven days with all four offerings and vows:
- May where I am born, money is always full, treasures are always gathered, not born in a poor house; cause where I was born, often make offerings to the four things; make the four groups, the king, and the people reverent. Make heaven, dragons, demons, humans or non-humans, welcome them
Due to the merits and conditions that venerable Sivali have created and made vows in many past lives, so in this life, venerable Sivali deserves the title of the first blessing among the disciples of Shakyamuni Buddha.
In short, from the moment of ordination and attaining sainthood, when going to propagate or anywhere, whether in the wilderness or in the village, when in the river or in the land. Wherever venerable Sivali went, the Sangha was always at peace with the offerings of Devas and the people. This fact was confirmed by the Buddha:
- The first person of merit is Bhikkhu Sivali
As you can see, good fortune and luck do not come naturally. By wishing:
- Happy New Year, everything is as it is...
Whether those wishes come true or not depends on the cultivation of each person's blessings. Remember that those wishes are just words at the beginning of the year for fun, to please each other, or in other words, they are just words at the beginning of the year. But if you want that word, or wish to come true, you have to learn about the deep cause to see and learn from the previous behavior of Venerable Sivali. He used to pay homage to and offer many items, from curd, and honey to food, and treasure... to too many past Buddhas. From Vipassi-buddha, Sikhi-buddha, Vessabhu Buddha, Krakucchanda. Even before the time of Venerable Sivali's birth, his parents also took advantage of that to make offerings to the Buddha and the ten directions of the Sangha.
It seems that the truth comes from the deep wish for a prosperous life of many compatriots, Buddhists, and neighbors.... from the fact that the gods of wealth, originating from China and even Hinduism, have implicitly existed in the space of worship, in the hearts of lay people. That said, it's time for you to popularize the role of the Venerable Sivali as a Buddhist god of wealth.
This, in the countries of Buddhism in the Theravada tradition, has done but has not really spread into the countries with the influence of Northern Buddhism. Because, until today, the life and behavior of Venerable Sīvali have not been given due attention, perhaps because a solid theoretical foundation has not been found, so it has not been paid attention to by Vietnamese Buddhists.
In the current Buddhist situation in general, the creation of a false saint with the ability to bestow blessings, through the behavior of the venerable Sīvali, needs to be widely disseminated. By the way, I would like to introduce to you, Duoc Su Temple and Ten Thousand Buddha Medicine Temple are fortunate to have relics of Buddha, Venerable Silvali, Venerable Vakkula, and many other saints. In order to create good conditions for everyone, I also held an annual ceremony to worship the relics of the Buddha and his holy disciples on the first weekend of August every year so that Buddhists, Compatriots worship, prostrate, cultivate merit
I pray that thanks to this blessing, everyone will be lucky and happy, like the New Year's greeting that is always congratulated by everyone:
- Happy New Year, everything is as you wish
- Happy New Year, prosperity, and wealth...
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