Six Harmonies Conducive to Amiability
According to the Saraniya Sutta (AN 6.12), there are six conditions which are conducive to amiability and engender feelings of endearment and respect, which lead to a sense of fellowship, a lack of disputes, and a state of harmony and unity. The Buddha recommended these to promote unity and harmony among the Sangha, but these same harmonies can apply to all sorts of relationships such as in a marriage, between co-workers, etc. These include:
1. Physical Harmony
2. Verbal Harmony
3. Mental Harmony
4. Moral Harmony
5. Economic Harmony
6. Doctrinal Harmony
The first harmony, physical harmony, includes living and working together in unity, love and good will with regard to our fellows – both to their faces and behind their backs. In order to create a stable relationship, it is advisable that people get along with each other and learn to treat each other as equals. The second, verbal harmony, means not saying harmful things, or quarreling which brings about anger and can lead to fighting. Talking too much often leads to careless remarks. When people are together, the negative karma of harmful speech is the most likely to incur.
The third harmony, mental harmony, means developing a mind of good will, such as being considerate of the thoughts and ideas of others. This includes being mindful of the welfare and benefit of others, not just one’s self. The fourth, moral harmony, means unity in observing the same precepts, and encouraging each other in our practice. In Buddhism this would include the 5 precepts, and in society in general, this may include local laws and customs.
The fifth, economic harmony, means that whatever righteous gains one may obtain in a righteous way – it is shared equally with others. This does not just include money, but any form of recognition. We must learn to give and take and negotiate things fairly. However, when giving, one should not give with any ulterior motives or a discriminative mind. Generosity should be accompanied with empathy, conviction, compassion, and kindness. The practice of giving helps to weaken one’s habitual tendencies to cling — to views, to sensuality, and to unskillful modes of thought and behavior.
The sixth and final harmony is doctrinal harmony. This includes sharing knowledge and understanding with others so that everyone can improve together and reach the same level of understanding. This also changes the dynamic of how we function as a community, and we learn to do things not just out of our benefit – but for the benefit and welfare of others. Doing so helps us to abandon non-virtue and develop virtuous behavior. This is called delighting in the joy of Dharma through the eradication of ignorance and defilements. The more we practice the Dharma, the more happiness we will have. If we really engage in the Dharma with others, there will be mutual joy and benefit.
Whenever we treat others with a sense of harmony and unity, this will engender mutual respect and reverence. If we can respect each other in harmony, we will be able to accept that all human phenomena are equal, harmonious, peaceful, and beautiful. If everyone could do this, then true world peace would become an even greater possibility.