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Chow Tonika Mannoi

ID: 6101206004

An Analysis of Four Cakkas Leading to the Prosperity of Life

in the Modern Society

1.1 Background and Significance of the Problem

In Buddhism, it is wholly accepted that every individual must go through the

cyclic realm of endless samsara unless one attains the arahanthood. One is the heir of
his own kamma and must be reborn and inherit the fruit according to his kamma. The
lives of all sentient beings are unstable and insecure for every common being has not
yet eradicated their defilements and thus still have the possibility to bear
unwholesome mind and commit unwholesome deeds, which can cause them suffer in
many ways in different unfavorable realms. No matter, however one might be an
intelligent, healthy, wealthy and prosperous in this present life but there is no
guarantee that one will consistently possess his or her good conditions in his or her
future lives. Therefore, this research is intended to explore about the factors that can
make possible for the best correlation and consistent perpetuation of our good
conditions and qualities in the cycle of samsara and maintain the stability of our well-
beings and finally help elevate us to the final goal - Nibbana.

In the Cakkasutta of Aṅguttara-Nikāya the Buddha expounded the four cakkas

(blessings or wheels of fulfilment), which when practiced and perpetuated lead ones
for the stability of the prosperity of this life as well as for the next. The Buddha said:
‘Monks, there are these four wheels, possessed of which on devas and mankind there
rolls a four-wheeled prosperity: possessed of which both devas and mankind in no
long time attain greatness and increase in prosperity. What are the four wheels? They
are: dwelling in a fitting place, association with the worthy ones, perfect application
of the self, and merit done aforetime.1 These are the four wheels. When these four
wheels turn, those devas and humans who possess them soon attain greatness and
abundance of wealth. Grain, riches, fame, and reputation, along with happiness
F.L.Woodward (trans.), The Book of the Gradual Sayings (Aṅguttara-Nikāya) Vol. II,
(London: PTS,1982) p.35.

accrue to him.2 These four wheels are also known as ‘sampatticakka’- the wheels of
prosperity or happiness as mentioned in Pāthikavaggaaṭṭhakathā “cattārimāni,
bhikkhave, cakkāni, yehi samannāgatānaṃ devamanussānaṃ catucakkaṃ
pavattatī”ti idaṃ sampatticakkaṃ.3 The ‘sampatticakka’ literally means the
condition that leads one to take rebirth in good realms having a prosperous life as it
is stated in Sīlakkhandavaggaabhinavaṭīkā - caranti etena sattā sampattibhavaṁ
sampattibhavesūti vā cakkaṁ.4 The four wheels have been declared, but should be
classed as the one moment, in the sense of occasion (or, conjuncture), for they are the
occasion for the production of merit.5 These four wheels are also described as the
highest blessings in Mahamangala-sutta. These four wheels can make the significant
correlation between our present life kamma and our future dhamma perception and
grant great assurance for every individual whosoever is wandering in the ocean of

The wheel symbol is used to signify the doctrine as well as many other
concepts associated with Buddhism such as the cycle of births (saṃsāra or bhava) in
close association with the doctrine of Dependent Origination (paṭiccasamuppāda).
The wheel symbol is accepted widely as the most appropriate symbol of the
Buddhists, both in physical as well as metaphysical spheres. The Pali commentaries
of Sri Lanka refer to a number of wheels recognized by Buddhists. Buddhaghosa
mentions sampatti-cakka, the wheel of happiness, lakkhaṇa-cakka, the wheel symbol
on the soles of the Buddha’s feet, rathaṅga-cakka, the chariot wheel, Iriyāpatha
Cakka, the wheel of movement or postures, dāna-cakka, the wheel of liberality,
ratana-cakka, the ideal wheel of a universal monarch, dhamma-cakka, the wheel of
law of the Buddha, and urasi-cakka, the wheel of torture.6 The word ‘cakka’ in

Bikkhu Bodhi (Trans.), The Numerical Discourses of the Buddha, (Boston: Wisdom
Publication, 2012) p.419.
T.W.Rhys David and J. Estlin Carpenter, ed. W.Stede, The Sumaṅgala-Vilāsinī: Buddhaghosa's
Commentary on the Dīgha-Nikāya Part III, (London: PTS, 1971), p.1058.
Sīlakkhandavagga-abhinavaṭīkā, Paṭhamo Bhāgo, (Yangon: Buddhassāsanā Society, 2008)
Pe Maung Tin (tr.), The Expositor (London: PTS, 1976), p.77.
Papañcasūdanī Majjhimanikāyaṭṭhakathā Part 2, (P.T.S.), p. 27
Sampattiyaṃ lakkhaṇañca—rathange iriyāpathe
Dāne ratana dhammūra— cakkādīsu ca dissati.
A.P. Buddhadatta Mahathera, Concise Pali-English Dictionary, (Delhi: Motilal Barnarsidass,

Cakkasutta particularly refers to the four ‘auspicious wheels’ or ‘blessings’7 or a

‘happy state’, consisting of four blessings.8 Cakkānīti sampattiyo9 , the commentary
defines the word cakka as sampatti10: fortune; happiness; success; attainment.

Patirūpadesavāsa, a good and suitable locality can be the place that has
favourable climatic conditions, easy to acquire wealth lawfully, where the sasana
flourishes and the Triple Gems are respected and revered. Living in befitting places
(patirūpadesavāso) is living where the four kinds of assembly are found, where the
grounds for making merit beginning with giving exist, and where the Master’s
Dispensation with its nine factors is in evidence; Living there is called a good omen
because it is a good condition for creatures’ making merit.11 A suitable locality is
conducive for wholesome actions, bodily, verbal and mental. One can perform
charity, observe precepts and practice meditation. Therefore, patirūpadesavāsa, the
first wheel needs to be turned in order to come in contact with triple gem and be able
to do meritorious deeds that leads to the prosperity of our life.

The second wheel emphasizes to associate with the virtuous people which is
very important to perform meritorious deeds. Good person that should be associated
and worthy of reliable is the buddha himself and his disciples. Sappurisāvassayoti
buddhādīnaṃ sappurisānaṃ avassayanaṃ sevanaṃ bhajanaṃ.12 Their association
can lead one to listen to their valuable advice and teachings, which can help in surging
faith (saddhā) and arouse urgency (saṁvega) to develop one’s virtue. Therefore, to
accompany with and have the support of virtuous people is also the wheel need to be
turned in order to do meritorious deeds and leads the prosperity of our life.
The third wheel attasammāpaṇidhi means putting oneself in right direction by
using dhamma. Right direction in self-guidance is stated thus: ‘here someone that
was unvirtuous establishes himself in virtue, that was the faithless establishes himself
in the excellence of faith, that was avaricious establishes himself in the excellence of
generosity. This is called ‘’right direction in self-guidance’’. That is also a good
omen. Why? Because it is a cause for attaining the numerous benefits both here and

Nyanatiloka, Buddhist Dictionary: A Manual of Buddhist Terms and Dictionaries, ed.
Nyanaponika, (Kandy: Buddhist Publication Society, 1980), p.80.
Pali-English Dictionary, ed. T. W. Rhys Davids, William Stede, (Oxford: PTS, 1921) p.291
Manorathapurani Vol.II, (London:PTS, 1967), p.63.
A.P. Buddhadatta Mahathera, Concise Pali-English Dictionary, (Delhi: Motilal Barnarsidass,
2009), p.285.
Ven. Ñanamoli (Trans.), The Minor Readings and The Illustrator of Ultimate Meaning,
(London: PTS, 1978), p.143.
Manorathapūraṇī Vol.II, (London:PTS, 1967), p.64.

now and in the life to come that are due to the abandoning of risk.13 We can regulate
ourselves correctly and set ourselves on the right course if we reflect on the basic
principle: 'Good actions bring good results: bad actions bring bad results'.
We do not earn the above three wheels of blessings freely. Our past merits have
sent us to a suitable place where we have the opportunity to meet good people and
from the good people, we can learn good dhamma by which we can skillfully mould
ourselves. Pubbe ca katapuññatāti pubbe upacitakusalatā. idameva cettha pamāṇaṃ.
yena hi ñāṇasampayuttacittena kusalakammaṃ kataṃ hoti, tadeva kusalaṃ taṃ
purisaṃ patirūpadese upaneti, sappurise bhajāpeti, so eva ca puggalo attānaṃ
sammā ṭhapeti.14 This Pubbekatapuññatā is the most important and the major cause
for the rest three wheels to get turned. The past merit that has been done with the
consciousness that is associated with wisdom, will send us to a suitable place, helping
us to meet with good people and allowing us to follow their right path, setting us to
have the right self-guidance. Thus, the cycle of four wheels rotate. Although, the past
merits are extremely important, we can suffer if the third wheel of self-regulation is
not fulfilled, the cycle will be disrupted and one will fall into misery. This research
is aimed to offer a detail explanation of the definition, and analysis of the
interpretation, application and impact of the role of four cakkas based on the
cakkasutta of Aṅguttara-Nikāya.
The Mangalasutta, known as the “Discourse of Blessings”, which can be found
in the Khuddaka Nikaya Sutta Nipata in the Tipitaka, is very close related with the
doctrine of cakkasutta where it includes about the thirty- eight blessings; moral
principles or rules of conduct for our benefit in the present life up to attaining nibbana.
The teaching of the Mangala sutta is timeless and universal. According to the Buddha,
Mangala has two meanings: 1) To remove all evil deeds, evil speech and evil thoughts
from within us. 2) To accumulate all good deeds, good speech and good thoughts
from within us.15 Everyone is searching for peace, happiness and prosperity and it
can only be possible if we keep ourselves motivated on cultivating good deeds, good
speech and good thoughts and remove evil deeds, evil speech and evil thoughts. The
researcher will further explore about all suttas related to the doctrine of Cakkasutta.

The Minor Readings and The Illustrator of Ultimate Meaning, Trans.Ven. Ñanamoli,
(London: PTS, 1978), p.143.
Sumaṅgala-Vilāsinī III, (London: PTS, 1971), p.1058.
Dr. Ashin Nyanissara, The Mangala Sutta “Discourse on Blessings”, (Myanmar: Sitagu
International Buddhist Academy,1996), p.8.

1.2 Objectives of the Research

1.2.1 To study the concept of the four cakkas expounded in the Cakka Sutta and
the related suttas.

1.2.2 To explore the supportive doctrines to four cakkas and their interpretation
by various scholar

1.2.3 To analyze four cakkas and their application in modern society.

1.3 Statement of Problems Desired to know

1.3.1 What is the concept of four cakkas and their interpretation by various

1.3.2 What is the doctrine of the four cakkas expounded in the Cakka Sutta and
related suttas?

1.3.3 How are four cakkas analyzed and applied into our daily life?

1.4 Scope of the Research

The research Projects divided into the following two sections.

1.4.1 Scope of Sources of Data

The researcher mainly focuses on the doctrine of four wheels that appeared in
Cakka Sutta of Aṅguttara-Nikāya. Among the primary sources, the researcher will
use Tipitaka, commentaries and sub-commentaries in the Pali Text Society’s English
translations series. Among secondary sources, the researcher will use Buddhist
textbook, journals and later interpretations by modern scholars.

1.4.2 Scope of Content

In this content, the researcher will focus on the four wheels as expressed in the
Pali canon and by modern Buddhist scholars. It will explore the context and origin of
the Cakka Sutta in the Aṅguttara Nikāya, where the Doctrine of four wheels in
Theravada Buddhism is expressed.

1.5 Definition of the Terms Used in the Research

1.5.1 Cakka: Wheel, figuratively means for ‘blessing’. There are four such
auspicious wheels or blessings: living in a suitable locality, company of good people,
meritorious acts done in the past, right inclinations.16

1.5.2 Prosperity is the state of being happy, healthy, wealthy, success and

1.5.3 Cakka Sutta is the discourse that the Buddha expounded in Aṅguttara-

1.5.4 Patirūpadesavāsa is to dwell in the suitable locality, which is especially

conducive for a person’s spiritual growth.

1.5.5 Sappurisūpanissaya is to have a good companion who can lead one to the
right path.
1.5.6 Attasammāpaṇidhi is to guide oneself to restrain from all evil deeds and
to perform the wholesome things and purify one’s mind.
1.5.7 Pubbe Katapuññayatā is having done the merits in the previous lives that
can contribute the person to reborn in a favorable environment.
1.6 Review of Related Literature and Research Works

1.6.1 The Aṅguttara-Nikāya19 is the largest among the four collections

(nikāya) of the Buddha’s Discourses contained in the Sutta Piṭaka of the Pali Canon.
The title of the work derives from the way of its arrangement. The Book of the Ones
(Ekaka Nipāta) comprises items with single classification; the Book of the Twos
(Duka Nipāta), items with a twofold classification and so forth up to the Book of the
Elevens, The Pali title, Aṅguttara Nikāya, could be rendered literally by “Further-
factored Collection” (aṅga factor, uttara, beyond, further), i.e., “discourses in

Nyanatiloka, Buddhist Dictionary: Manual of Buddhist Terms and Doctrines, ed.
Nyanaponika, (Kandy: Buddhist Publication Society, 1988), p.80.
Patirūpe vase dese ariyamittakaro siyā
Sammāpaṇidhisampanno pubbe puññakato naro
Dhaññaṃ dhanaṃ yaso kitti sukhañcetaṃdhivattatīti. (A.II.32)
The Aṅguttara-Nikāya II, ed. Rev. Richard Morris, (London: PTS, 1888).
The Numerical Discourses of the Buddha, trans. by Bhikkhu Bodhi, (Boston: Wisdom
Publications 2012), p.17.

progressive numerical order.” It is characteristic of this discourse collection that it

mainly deals with the practical aspects of Buddhism; ethics and mind training. Here,
in the part of catukka-nipata, cakka sutta is the main sutta, where the Buddha
originally expounded the concept of the four wheels. Here the Buddha directly
mentioned that living in a suitable region, relying on good people, right
determination, and past good karma are essential for the prosperity of every

1.6.2 Pe Maung Tin (tr.), The Expositor (London: PTS, 1976).

This book is the Buddhagosa’s commentary on the Dhammasaṅgani, the first
book of Abhidhamma Pitaka. Here the commentary exposed about how to set the
right course of oneself (attasammāpaṇidhi) even one is easily tending to incline
towards the immoralities. It shows the virtue of determination, inclination, training
and idea for the sustainable occurrence of moral thoughts and be in the right path. It
is when the person has his mind determined for moral acts, bent only on moral acts
by inhibiting immoral acts, well trained by constant practice of good, and has laid to
heart through such sufficing conditions as residence in a suitable place, dependence
on good associates, hearing the good law, merit performed in former existence, ect.
1.6.3 Bhikkhu Ñanamoli, Bhikkhu Bodhi(tr.), The Middle Length Discourses
of the Buddha20
This book offers a complete translation of the Majjhima Nikāya, one of the
major collections of texts in the Pali Canon, the authorized scriptures of the middle
length discourses of Buddha in Theravada Buddhism. distinguished as such from the
longer and shorter suttas of the other collections. The Majjhima Nikāya might be
concisely described as the Buddhist scripture that combines the richest variety of
contextual settings with the deepest and most comprehensive assortment of teachings,
which range from basic ethics to instructions in meditation and liberating insight. The
samaññaphala sutta shows how the association with wrong person can cause a huge
lose in one’s life and to meet with and the right person can be a high privilege. The
sutta also determine that all the ups and downs of life are solely dependent on the
way how one leads one’s mindset.

Bhikkhu Ñanamoli, Bhikkhu Bodhi(tr.) The Middle Length Discourses of the Buddha (kandy:
Buddhist Publication Society, 1995).

1.6.4 The Minor Readings and The Illustrator of Ultimate Meaning21

This book is the translation of Khuddakapātha with Commentary. This- the
shortest of all the books in the Pali Tipitaka - might be regarded as a sort of handbook
a practical vade-mecum whose contents represent the central doctrines of the
Buddha's teaching. It comes first among the fourteen books that make up the Fifth
Nikāya or Collection of Minor Books in the Sutta Pitaka of the Pali Tipitaka. Its
contents almost all appear also in other canonical books. It comprises the discourses
- such as, three refuges, the ten training precepts, the thirty-two-fold aspect, the boy's
questions, the good omen discourse and so on. The elaboration about the aspects of
good omen has been described, which includes the factors of four wheels according
to the perspective of Maṅgalasutta.

1.6.5 The Path of Purification

This book is one of the masterpieces work of the original book called
Visuddhimagga of Venerable Buddhaghosa. It systematically summarizes and
interprets the core teachings of the Buddha contained in the Pali Tipitaka. It is also
known as the hub of a complete and coherent method of exegesis of the Tipitaka
with the approach of Abhidhamma method. It highly focusses for the development
of the mental purity by setting out detailed practical instruction on various meditative
subjects. The book enlightens how the suitable locality should be the for the
practitioners and what specific meditative process should one undertake in order to
correspond to individual intuitions and help maintain the wheel of
1.6.6 E.W. Burlingame (tr.), Buddhist Legends.22
This book consists of a direct translation from the original Dhammapada-
Aṭṭhakathā, which is very famous among the Buddhist community. This book is
basically, a collection of stories, of which about sixty are shared with the Jataka
Commentary, chosen to introduce, contextualize and explain the verses of the
Dhammapada. The Dhammapada is an anthology of 423 Sayings of the Buddha in
verse. This anthology is divided into twenty-six parts, or books (vaggas), the
arrangement of the Stanzas being by subjects. The collection features hundreds of
stories about great saints, human stupidity and parables. In Soreyyattheravatthu, it is

Ven. Ñanamoli (tr.), The Minor Readings and The Illustrator of Ultimate Meaning,
(London: PTS, 1978).
E.W. Burlingame (tr.), Buddhist Legends, (London: PTS,1995).

mentioned that no parents and relatives are really reliable but only the mind that is
directed in the right way can be far reliable for all the prosperity and success.
1.6.7 How to Live as a Good Buddhist23
This book is a good guide in understanding and practising the teachings of the
Buddha. A harmonious system of teaching, learning and practising is essential here.
It explains starting off right from the fundamentals of dhamma culture in imparting
the correct behavior for the youth up to the maturity and excellency in attainment of
right view and right conduct with the sacred practice of calm(samatha) and vipassana
insight. It includes the social duties for all human being in accordance with the
siṅgāla sutta and further shows the six practices causing ruin of wealth,
consequences of associating with bad companion and lays out the qualities of a true
hearted friend.
1.6.8 Life’s Highest Blessings24
This book offers some studies of the important discourse of Mahā Maṅgala
Sutta, which provides a plan, true at all times, for the material and spiritual well-
being of individuals in a democratic society. The is a rewarding text for the
wholesome shaping of complex human civilization. The discourse provides lessons
of direct practical application, capable of immediate and fruitful use by people in all
walks of life, irrespective of differences of sex or status, race or religion. The Mahā
Maṅgala Sutta is absolutely relevant with the cakka sutta, which has been referred
as the unsurpassable supreme blessing for the devas and mankind.

1.7 Research Methodology

1.7.1 Research Design

This research will be documentary and qualitative research. This study will be
based on the canonical analysis and interpretations based on the four wheels in
Theravada Buddhism.

U Han Htay , U Chit Tin (trs.), How to Live as a Good Buddhist, (Yangon: The Union of
Myanmar, 2002)
Dr. R. L. Soni (tr.), Revised by Bhikkhu Khantipālo, LIFE’S HIGHEST BLESSINGS: The
Mahā Maṅgala Sutta, (kandy: Buddhist Publication Society, 1987).

1.7.2 Data Collection

Data will be collected from the primary sources which are Nikāya,
commentaries (atthakathā),
̣̣ and Sub-commentaries (ṭikā). As well as the secondary
sources of academic books, thesis, journals, documentary related with this research
and all the books composed by well-known Buddhist scholars.
1.7.3. Data Analysis
In this data analysis, researcher will analyze as well as systematize the
collected data in order to give a clear picture of the significance of the four wheels
based on Cakka Sutta.
1.7.4 Outline Construction
Constructing the overall outline of the study in related to the dimensions
corresponding to the objectives.
1.7.5 Problem Discussion
Discussing the problems encountered according to the significant of the
1.7.6 Conclusion and Suggestion
Conclusion and Suggestion for further studies, observation and practice.
1.8 Advantages Expected to obtain from the Research
1.8.1 Knowing the concept of the four cakkas and their interpretation by
various scholars.

1.8.2 Knowing the doctrine of four cakkas expounded in the Cakka Sutta and
related suttas.

1.8.3 Knowing the analysis of four cakkas and the way in applying them in our
daily life

Tentative Table of Content

List of Abbreviations
Table of Contents
Chapter I: Introduction
1.1Background and Significance of the Problems
1.2 Objectives of the Research
1.3 The Problems to know in this Research
1.4 Definition of the terms used in the research
1.5 Scope of the Research
1.6 Research Methodology
1.7 Review of Related Literature and Research Works
1.8 Advantages Expected to Obtain from the Research

Chapter II: The concept of four cakkas and their interpretation by various scholars
2.1 The meaning of the four cakkas
2.2 The characteristic of the four cakkas
2.3 The advantages of the four cakkas
2.4 The interpretation of four cakkas by various scholars
2.5 Concluding remark

Chapter III: The doctrine of four cakkas expounded in the Cakka Sutta and related
3.1 The Concept of patirupadesavasa in the cakkasutta
3.1.1 The concept of patirupadesavasa in the Maṅgalasutta
3.1.2 The concept of patirupadesavasa in the Visuddhimagga
3.1.3 The concept of patirupadesavasa in the Dhammasanganiatthakatha
3.2 The concept of suppurisupanissaya
3.2.1 The concept of sappurisupanissaya in Mangalasutta
3.2.2 The concept of sappurisupanissaya in Samaññaphalasutta
3.2.3 The concept of sappurisupanissaya in Pannavuddhisutta
3.2.4 The concept of sappurisupanissaya in Culapuṇṇamasutta
3.3 The concept of attasammāpan ̣idhi in the Cakkasutta
3.3.1 The concept of attammāpaṇidhi in the Paññāvuddhisutta
3.3.2 The concept of attammāpaṇidhi in the Mahāsatipaṭṭhānasutta

3.3.3 The concept of attasammāpaṇidhi in the Dhammapada

3.4 The Concept of pubbecakatapuññata in the Cakkasutta
3.4.1 The concept of pubbecakatapuññata in the Mangalasutta
3.4.2 The concept of pubbecakatapuññata in the Abhidhammasangaha
3.4.3 The concept of pubbecakatapuññata in the cuḷakammavibhaṅgasutta
3.5 Concluding remark

Chapter IV: An analysis of four cakkas and the way in applying them in our daily
4.1 Role of a suitable place
4.2 Accompanying with good person
4.3 Setting oneself in the right direction
4.4 Significance of merits done in the past

Chapter V: Conclusion and Suggestion

5.1 conclusions
5.2 Suggestion for this research


Bikkhu Bodhi (tr.) The Numerical Discourses of the Buddha, Boston: Wisdom
Publication, 2012.
Rev. Richard Morris, M.A., LL.D. (eds), The Aṅguttara-Nikāya part II, London:
M. Walleser and H. Kopp (eds.), Manorathapurani 5 volumes, London: PTS, 1876.
Bhikkhu Ñanamoli, Bhikkhu Bodhi(trs.) The Middle Length Discourses of the
Buddha, kandy: Buddhist Publication Society, 1995.
Ven. Ñanamoli (tr.), The Minor Readings and The Illustrator of Ultimate
Meaning, London: PTS, 1978.
Ven. Ñanamoli (tr.), The Pitaka-Disclosure (Petakopadesa), London: PTS, 1964.
Gil Fronsdal (ed.), The Dhammapada: Teachings of the Buddha, Boston:
Shambhala Publications, 2008.
E.W. Burlingame (tr.), Buddhist Legends, London: PTS,1995.
Mrs C.A.F. Rhys Davids (tr.), A Buddhist Manual of Psychological Ethics London:
Ven. Ñanamoli (tr.), The Guide (London: PTS, 1977).
Pe Maung Tin (tr.), The Expositor (London: PTS, 1976).