Majjhima Nikaya


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Majjhima Nikāya
II. Majjhima Paṇṇāsa
2. Bhikkhu Vagga

Sacred Books of the Buddhists
Volume V
Dialogues of the Buddha
Part IV

Further Dialogues of the Buddha
Volume I

Translated from the Pali
by Lord Chalmers
G.C.B.
Sometime Governor of Ceylon

London
Humphrey Milford
Oxford University Press
1926
Public Domain

Sutta 61

Ambalaṭṭhikā-Rāhul'ovāda Suttaɱ[1]

Against Lying

 


[414] [297]

[1][pts][ntbb][than][upal] THUS have I heard:

Once when the Lord was staying at Rājagaha
in the Bamboo-grove
where the squirrels were fed,
and the reverend Rāhula was staying at Ambalaṭṭhikā,
the Lord, arising towards eventide from his meditations,
went over to Rāhula,
who, seeing the Lord some way off,
set a seat for him [298] and water to wash his feet.

Seating himself on the seat set for him,
the Lord poured water over his feet,
while Rāhula after salutations
took his seat to one side.

Having still a minute drain of water in the water-jar,
the Lord said to Rāhula:

Do you see this minute drain of water?

Yes, sir.

Minute, likewise, is the recluse-ship
of those who shrink not from deliberate lying.

Then throwing away the water,
the Lord said to Rāhula:

Do you see this minute drain of water
now thrown away?

Yes, sir.

Thrown away, likewise, is the recluse-ship
of those who shrink not from deliberate lying.

Upsetting the jar,
the Lord said to Rāhula:

Do you see this jar upset?

Yes, sir.

Upset, likewise, is the recluse-ship
of those who shrink not from deliberate lying.

Setting the jar upright again,
the Lord said to Rāhula:

Do you see this jar empty and void?

Yes, sir.

Empty and void, likewise, is the recluse-ship
of those who shrink not from deliberate lying.

It is like, Rāhula, a kings elephant
with tusks as long as the pole of a plough,
a vast beast of noble lineage,
which has seen many battles
and, when it comes into battle,
goes to work with its fore feet
and its hind feet,
with its fore-quarters
and its hind-quarters,
with its head
and its ears
and its tail, -
but [415] keeps-its trunk out of danger.

Noting this, the mahout feels the elephant's life is not lost.

But when the elephant goes to work with its trunk too,
then the mahout feels the elephant's life is lost,
for it has left undone
nothing it could do.

Just in the same way, Rāhula,
he who does not shrink from deliberate lying
has not - say I - left undone
any evil thing which he could do.

Therefore, you must school yourself
never to lie
even in jest.

What think you, Rapula?

What is a mirror for?

[299] To reflect, sir.

In just the same way
you must reflect again and again
in doing every act,
in speaking every word
and in thinking every thought.

When you want to do anything,
you must reflect whether it would conduce
to your or others' harm
or to both,
and so is a wrong act,
productive of woe
and ripening unto woe.

If reflection tells you
this is the nature of that contemplated fact,
assuredly you should not do it.

[416] But if reflection assures you
there is not harm but good in it,
then you may do it.

If while you are doing that act,
reflection tells you
it is harmful to you or to others
or to both
and is a wrong act
productive of woe
and ripening unto woe,
abandon it.

But if reflection assures you
there is not harm but good in it,
then you may go forward with it.

If when you have done that act,
reflection assures you
that it has conduced to your or others' harm
or to both
and is a wrong act
productive of woe
and ripening unto woe,
then you should declare
and disclose
and unfold it
to your master
or to the discreet among your fellows in the higher life,
and you should henceforth develop self-control.

[417] But if reflection assures you
there is not harm but good in it,
then joy and gladness shall be yours
as you school yourself by day and by night
in the things that are right.

And the same holds good for speech
and [418-9] for thoughts also.

[420] All recluses and brahmins, Rāhula,
who in past ages were pure in deed, word and thought,
won that purity by constant reflection.

So in ages to come
will their successors win their purity,
even as it is won by recluses and brahmins to-day.

Therefore, school yourselves
by constant reflection
to win purity in deed, word and thought.

Thus spoke the Lord.

Glad at heart, the reverend Rāhula rejoiced in what the Lord had said.

 


[1] This is doubtless the Sutta which Asoka commends in the Bhabra Edict.


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