Majjhima Nikaya


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Majjhima Nikaya
II. Majjhima-Pannasa
2. Bhikkhu Vagga

The Middle Length Sayings
II. The Middle Fifty Discourses
2. The Division on Monks

Sutta 61

Ambalatthika-Rahul'ovada Suttam[1]

Discourse on an Exhortation to Rahula at Ambalatthika

Translated from the Pali by I.B. Horner, M.A.
Associate of Newham College, Cambridge
First Published in 1954

Copyright The Pali Text Society
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[414] [87]

[1][chlm][than][upal] THUS have I heard:

At one time the Lord was staying near Rajagaha
in the Bamboo Grove
at the squirrels' feeding place.

At that time the venerable Rahula[2] was staying at Ambalatthika.

Then the Lord,
emerging from solitary meditation towards evening,
approached Ambalatthika.
and the venerable Rahula.

Then the venerable Rahula saw the Lord coming in the distance;
seeing him,
he made ready a seat
and water for (washing) the feet.

The Lord sat down on the seat made ready;
as he was sitting down
he bathed his feet.

And the venerable Rahula,
having greeted the Lord,
sat down at a respectful distance.

Then the Lord,
having put a little quantity of water
that was left over
into a water-vessel,
addressed the venerable Rahula,
saying:

"Do you, Rahula,
see this little quantity of water
that is left over
and that is put into the water-vessel?"

"Yes, revered sir."

"Even so, Rahula,
little is the recluseship
of those who have no shame at intentional lying."

Then the Lord,
having thrown away that little quantity of water,
addressed the venerable Rahula,
saying:

"Do you, Rahula,
see this little quantity of water
that has been thrown away?"

"Yes, revered sir."

"Even so, Rahula,
thrown away is the recluseship
of those who have no shame at intentional lying."

Then the Lord,
having overturned that water-vessel,
addressed the venerable Rahula,
[88] saying:

"Do you, Rahula, see this water-vessel
that has been overturned?"

"Yes, revered sir."

"Even so, Rahula,
overturned is the recluseship
of those who have no shame at intentional lying."

Then the Lord,
having turned upright that water-vessel,
addressed the venerable Rahula,
saying:

"Do you, Rahula,
see this water-vessel that is empty,
void?"

"Yes, revered sir."

"Even so, Rahula,
void and empty is the recluseship
of those who have no shame at intentional lying.

Rahula, it is like[3] a king's bull-elephant
whose tusks are as long as a plough-pole,[4]
massive,[5]
finely bred,[6]
whose home is the battle-field,[7]
and who, when going forth to battle,
uses[8] his forelegs,
uses his hindlegs,
uses the forepart of his body,
uses the hindpart of his body,
uses his head,
uses his ears,
uses his tusks
and uses his tail,
[415] protecting only his trunk.[9]

Thereupon it occurs to the mahout:

'This king's bull-elephant
whose tusks are as long as a plough-pole
massive,
finely bred,
whose home is the battle-field,
and who, when going forth to battle,
uses his forelegs,
uses his hindlegs,
uses the forepart of his body,
uses the hindpart of his body,
uses his head,
uses his ears,
uses his tusks
and uses his tail,
protects only his trunk.

This king's bull-elephant
has not thrown away his life.'[10]

But when, Rahula,
the king's bull-elephant
whose tusks are as long as a plough-pole
massive,
finely bred,
whose home is the battle-field,
and who, when going forth to battle,
uses his forelegs,
uses his hindlegs,
uses the forepart of his body,
uses the hindpart of his body,
uses his head,
uses his ears,
uses his tusks
and uses his tail,
and uses his trunk,
it thereupon occurs to the mahout:

'This king's bull-elephant
whose tusks are as long as a plough-pole
massive,
finely bred,
whose home is the battle-field,
and who, when going forth to battle,
uses his forelegs,
uses his hindlegs,
uses the forepart of his body,
uses the hindpart of his body,
uses his head,
uses his ears,
uses his tusks
and uses his tail,
and uses his trunk.

This king's bull-elephant
has thrown away his life,
there is nothing to be done now
for the king's bull-elephant.'

Even so, Rahula,
of anyone for whom there is no shame at intentional lying,
of him I say
that there is no evil he cannot do.

Wherefore, for you, Rahula,

'I will not speak a lie,
even for fun'[11] -

this is how you must train yourself, Rahula.

"What do you think about this, Rahula?

What is the purpose of a mirror?"

"Its purpose is reflection, revered sir."

"Even so, Rahula,
a deed is to be done with the body
(only) after [89] repeated reflection;
a deed is to be done with speech
(only) after repeated reflection
a deed is to be done with the mind
(only) after repeated reflection.

 


 

If you, Rahula, are desirous of doing a deed with the body,
you should reflect on that deed of your body,
thus:

'That deed which I am desirous of doing with the body
is a deed of my body
that might conduce to the harm of self
and that might conduce to the harm of others
and that might conduce to the harm of both;
this deed of body is unskilled,
its yield is anguish,
its result is anguish.'

If you, Rahula, reflecting thus,
should find:

'That deed which I am desirous of doing with the body
is a deed of my body
that might conduce to the harm of self
and that might conduce to the harm of others
and that might conduce to the harm of both;
this deed of body is unskilled,
its yield is anguish,
its result is anguish.'

- a deed of body like this, Rahula,
is certainly[12] not to be done by you.

[416] But if you, Rahula, while reflecting thus,
should find:

'That deed which I am desirous of doing with the body
is a deed of my body
that would conduce neither to the harm of self
nor to the harm of others
nor to the harm of both;
this deed of body is skilled,
its yield is happy,
its result is happy'

- a deed of body like this, Rahula,
may be done by you.

While you, Rahula, are doing this deed with the body,
you should reflect thus
on this self-same deed of body:

'Is this deed that I am doing with the body
a deed of my body
that is conducing to the harm of self
and to the harm of others
and to the harm of both?

Is this deed of body unskilled,
its yield anguish,
its result anguish?'

If you, Rahula, while reflecting thus should find:

'This deed that I am doing with the body
is a deed of my body
that is conducing to the harm of self
and to the harm of others
and to the harm of both;
this deed of body is unskilled,
its yield is anguish,
its result is anguish'

-you, Rahula, should avoid a deed of body like this.

But if you, Rahula, while reflecting thus,
should find:

'This deed that I am doing with the body
is a deed of my body that is not conducing to the harm of self
nor to the harm of others
nor to the harm of both;
this deed of body is skilled,
its yield is happy,
its result is happy'

-you, Rahula, could repeat[13] a deed of body like this.

And when you, Rahula, have done a deed with the body
you should reflect on this self-same deed of body thus:

'Was this deed that I did with the body
a deed of my body
that conduced to the harm of self
and to the harm of others
and to the harm of both?

[90] Was this an unskilled deed of body,
its yield anguish,
its result anguish?

If you, Rahula, while reflecting thus,
should find:

'This deed that I did with the body
was a deed of my body
that conduced to the harm of sel
and to the harm of others
and to the harm of both;
this deed of body was unskilled,
its yield anguish,
its result anguish'

-such a deed of your body, Rahula,
should be confessed,
disclosed,
declared to the Teacher
or to intelligent Brahma-farers
so that, confessed,
disclosed
and declared,
it would induce restraint in the future.

[417]But if you, Rahula,
while reflecting thus, should find:

'This deed that I did with the body
was a deed of my body
that conduced neither to the harm of self
nor to the harm of others
nor to the harm of both;
it was a skilled deed of body,
its yield happy,
its result happy'

- because of it you, Rahula,
may abide in zest and rapture
training yourself day and night
in states that are skilled.

 


 

If you, Rahula, are desirous of doing a deed with the speech,
you should reflect on that deed of your speech,
thus:

'That deed which I am desirous of doing with the speech
is a deed of my speech
that might conduce to the harm of self
and that might conduce to the harm of others
and that might conduce to the harm of both;
this deed of speech is unskilled,
its yield is anguish,
its result is anguish.'

If you, Rahula, reflecting thus,
should find:

'That deed which I am desirous of doing with the speech
is a deed of my speech
that might conduce to the harm of self
and that might conduce to the harm of others
and that might conduce to the harm of both;
this deed of speech is unskilled,
its yield is anguish,
its result is anguish.'

- a deed of speech like this, Rahula,
is certainly not to be done by you.

But if you, Rahula, while reflecting thus,
should find:

'That deed which I am desirous of doing with the speech
is a deed of my speech
that would conduce neither to the harm of self
nor to the harm of others
nor to the harm of both;
this deed of speech is skilled,
its yield is happy,
its result is happy'

- a deed of speech like this, Rahula,
may be done by you.

While you, Rahula, are doing this deed with the speech,
you should reflect thus
on this self-same deed of speech:

'Is this deed that I am doing with the speech
a deed of my speech
that is conducing to the harm of self
and to the harm of others
and to the harm of both?

Is this deed of speech unskilled,
its yield anguish,
its result anguish?'

If you, Rahula, while reflecting thus should find:

'This deed that I am doing with the speech
is a deed of my speech
that is conducing to the harm of self
and to the harm of others
and to the harm of both;
this deed of speech is unskilled,
its yield is anguish,
its result is anguish'

-you, Rahula, should avoid a deed of speech like this.

But if you, Rahula, while reflecting thus,
should find:

'This deed that I am doing with the speech
is a deed of my speech that is not conducing to the harm of self
nor to the harm of others
nor to the harm of both;
this deed of speech is skilled,
its yield is happy,
its result is happy'

-you, Rahula, could repeat a deed of speech like this.

And when you, Rahula, have done a deed with the speech
you should reflect on this self-same deed of speech thus:

'Was this deed that I did with the speech
a deed of my speech
that conduced to the harm of self
and to the harm of others
and to the harm of both?

Was this an unskilled deed of speech,
its yield anguish,
its result anguish?

If you, Rahula, while reflecting thus,
should find:

'This deed that I did with the speech
was a deed of my speech
that conduced to the harm of sel
and to the harm of others
and to the harm of both;
this deed of speech was unskilled,
its yield anguish,
its result anguish'

-such a deed of your speech, Rahula,
should be confessed,
disclosed,
declared to the Teacher
or to intelligent Brahma-farers
so that, confessed,
disclosed
and declared,
it would induce restraint in the future.

But if you, Rahula,
while reflecting thus, should find:

'This deed that I did with the speech
was a deed of my speech
that conduced neither to the harm of self
nor to the harm of others
nor to the harm of both;
it was a skilled deed of speech,
its yield happy,
its result happy'

- because of it you, Rahula,
may abide in zest and rapture
training yourself day and night
in states that are skilled.

 


 

If you, Rahula, are desirous of doing a deed with the mind,
you should reflect on that deed of your mind,
thus:

'That deed which I am desirous of doing with the mind
is a deed of my mind
that might conduce to the harm of self
and that might conduce to the harm of others
and that might conduce to the harm of both;
this deed of mind is unskilled,
its yield is anguish,
its result is anguish.'

If you, Rahula, reflecting thus,
should find:

'That deed which I am desirous of doing with the mind
is a deed of my mind
that might conduce to the harm of self
and that might conduce to the harm of others
and that might conduce to the harm of both;
this deed of mind is unskilled,
its yield is anguish,
its result is anguish.'

- a deed of mind like this, Rahula,
is certainly not to be done by you.

But if you, Rahula, while reflecting thus,
should find:

'That deed which I am desirous of doing with the mind
is a deed of my mind
that would conduce neither to the harm of self
nor to the harm of others
nor to the harm of both;
this deed of mind is skilled,
its yield is happy,
its result is happy'

- a deed of mind like this, Rahula,
may be done by you.

While you, Rahula, are doing this deed with the mind,
you should reflect thus
on this self-same deed of mind:

'Is this deed that I am doing with the mind
a deed of my mind
that is conducing to the harm of self
and to the harm of others
and to the harm of both?

Is this deed of mind unskilled,
its yield anguish,
its result anguish?'

If you, Rahula, while reflecting thus should find:

'This deed that I am doing with the mind
is a deed of my mind
that is conducing to the harm of self
and to the harm of others
and to the harm of both;
this deed of mind is unskilled,
its yield is anguish,
its result is anguish'

-you, Rahula, should avoid a deed of mind like this.

But if you, Rahula, while reflecting thus,
should find:

'This deed that I am doing with the mind
is a deed of my mind that is not conducing to the harm of self
nor to the harm of others
nor to the harm of both;
this deed of mind is skilled,
its yield is happy,
its result is happy'

-you, Rahula, could repeat a deed of mind like this.

And when you, Rahula, have done a deed with the mind
you should reflect on this self-same deed of mind thus:

'Was this deed that I did with the mind
a deed of my mind
that conduced to the harm of self
and to the harm of others
and to the harm of both?

Was this an unskilled deed of mind,
its yield anguish,
its result anguish?

If you, Rahula, while reflecting thus,
should find:

'This deed that I did with the mind
was a deed of my mind
that conduced to the harm of sel
and to the harm of others
and to the harm of both;
this deed of mind was unskilled,
its yield anguish,
its result anguish'

This section has been expanded according to the instructions in the hard copy which simply says "repeat the pragraphs concerned..." However a reader points out that the correct translation should be along the lines of "such mental actions of yours, Rahula, should be loathed, abhorred and despised. Thus loating, abhorring and despising, you should acquire restraint in the future." Thank you Epajarjestys.

p.p. explains it all - p.p.

-such a deed of your mind, Rahula,
should be confessed,
disclosed,
declared to the Teacher
or to intelligent Brahma-farers
so that, confessed,
disclosed
and declared,
it would induce restraint in the future.

But if you, Rahula,
while reflecting thus, should find:

'This deed that I did with the mind
was a deed of my mind
that conduced neither to the harm of self
nor to the harm of others
nor to the harm of both;
it was a skilled deed of mind,
its yield happy,
its result happy'

- because of it you, Rahula,
may abide in zest and rapture
training yourself day and night
in states that are skilled.

 


 

[420]All those recluses and brahmans, Rahula,
who in the long past
purified a deed of body,
purified a deed of speech,
purified a deed of mind,
did so (only) after repeated reflection.

And all those recluses and brahmans, Rahula,
who in the distant future
will purify a deed of body,
will purify a deed of speech,
will purify a deed of mind,
will do so (only) after repeated reflection.

And all those recluses and brahmans, Rahula,
who in the present
are purifying a deed of body,
are purifying a deed of speech,
are purifying a deed of mind,
are doing so (only) after repeated reflection.

Wherefore, Rahula, thinking:

'We will purify a deed of body
after repeated reflection,
we will purify a deed of speech
after repeated reflection,
we will purify a deed of mind
after repeated reflection'

- this is how you must train yourself, Rahula."

Thus spoke the Lord.

Delighted, the venerable Rahula rejoiced in what the Lord had said.

Discourse on an Exhortation to Rahula at Ambalatthika:
The First

 


[1] This Discourse is mentioned in the Bhabru Rock Edict of Asoka as among those that all monks, nuns, men and women lay followers should hear often and reflect upon.

[2] See DPPN., s.v. Ambalatthika-Rahulovada Suttam, MA. iii. 126 and AA. i. 258 say that at this time Rahula had been a samanera for seven years. At A. i. 24 he is called chief of those anxious for training. His verses are at Thag. 295-298.

[3] As at M. i. 450.

[4] As at Vin. i. 353.

[5] Explained at MA. iii. 127 as abhivaddhito arohasampanno.

[6] abhijata as at A. iii. 158, also of a king's elephant.

[7] A. iii. 158.

[8] kammam karoti, with the instrumental case.

[9] He puts it in his mouth, MA. iii. 128.

[10] Literally, the life of the king's bull-elephant has not been thrown away (or, abandoned, given up, apariccattam).

[11] MA. iii. 125 says he (the Buddha) thought that young boys say things both proper and improper, and are called piyamusavada (fond of lying) for they say they saw something when they did not, or did not see it when they did.

[12] sasakkam, as at M. i. 514. MA. iii. 128 explains by eka-sena = surely, definitely, certainly.

[13] anupadajjeyyasi. MA. iii. 128 gives upathambheyyasi punappuna-kareyyasi.

 


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