Preached at Jetavana in answer to a question asked by a deva as to which are the auspicious things (mangalāni) in the world. The sutta describes thirty seven mangalāni, including such things as the avoidance of fools, association with the wise, honouring those worthy of honour, etc. (Khp.pp.2f)
The Commentary (KhpA.vii.; SNA.i.300) explains that at the time the sutta was preached there was great discussion over the whole of Jambudīpa regarding the constitution of mangala. The devas heard the discussion and argued among themselves till the matter spread to the highest Brahma world. Then it was that Sakka suggested that a devaputta should visit the Buddha and ask him about it.
In the Sutta Nipāta (SN., pp. 46f) the sutta is called Mahāmangala. It is one of the suttas at the preaching of which countless devas were present and countless beings realized the Truth (SNA.i.174; BuA.243; AA.i.57,320).
The sutta is often recited, and forms one of the commonest of the Parittas. To have it written down in a book is considered an act of great merit (MA.ii.806).
It is said (Mhv.xxxii.43) that once Dutthagāmani attempted to preach the Mangala Sutta at the Lohapāsāda, but he was too nervous to proceed.
The preaching of the Mangala Sutta was one of the incidents of the Buddha's life represented in the Relic Chamber of the Mahā Thūpa (Mhv.xxx. 83).
See also Mahāmangala Jātaka.