The Sigalovada Sutta takes place when Lord Buddha encountered a youth called Sigala in his morning stroll. The young man, in drenched attire, prostrated and worshipped the four compass direction (East, South, West and North), plus the Earth (Down) and the Sky (Up). When asked by Lord Buddha why he did so, the youth Sigala replied that he had been told by his late father to do so and he thought that it was right to uphold his father’s wishes. Lord Buddha then, based on Sigala’s point of view, taught him on how a noble one should worship the Six directions.
The Buddha first describes fourteen evil ways that should be avoided by a householder. The Buddha enumerates these evil ways to be avoided as:
The four defilements of action:
-taking life (panatipato)
-sexual misconduct (kamesu micchacaro)
– lying (musavado)
The four causes of evil action:
– hate (dosa)
– ignorance (moha)
– fear (bhaya)
The six ways of squandering wealth:
– indulging in intoxicants
– wandering the streets at inappropriate times
– frequenting public spectacle
– compulsive gambling
– malevolent companionship
– habitual idleness
The Buddha then elaborated on the importance of having and being a true friend, as he described what true friends are; and what true friends are not; and, how true friends will aid in attaining a blissful life.
Finally, returning to the topic of the six directions, the Buddha described the Four Compass Direction as : parents (East), teachers (South), wife (West), and friends and colleagues (North), and the two vertical directions as: ascetics and Brahmins (Up) and the Servants (Down). He elaborated on how to respect and support them, and how in turn the Six will return the kindness and support.
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