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Ambalatthika-Rahulovada Suttanta (MN61)

posted Jul 10, 2013, 9:44 AM by Sung Yang   [ updated Jul 11, 2013, 4:07 PM ]
Ambalatthika-Rahulovada Suttanta (MN61)
(The Ambalatthika Exhortation to Rahula.) [1]

Thus have I heard:

.
On one occasion the Blessed One was staying at the Bamboo Grove, in the Squirrels’ Sanctuary, near Rajagaha. Now at that time the venerable Rahula was residing at Ambalatthika [2] and in the evening the Blessed One, having risen from meditation, proceeded thither to the venerable Rahula who—seeing him coming from afar—got ready a seat, and water for washing the feet. And the Blessed One sat on the seat prepared and, being seated, washed his feet. Then the venerable Rahula, having saluted the Blessed One respectfully sat at one side.

Thereupon the Blessed One, having left a small quantity of water in the vessel, addressed [3] the venerable Rahula:

“Do you see, Rahula, this small quantity of water left in the vessel?”

“Yes, Lord.”

“Similarly, Rahula, insignificant indeed is the Samanaship [4] of those who are not ashamed of uttering deliberate lies.”

Whereupon the Blessed One threw away that small quantity of water, and addressed the venerable Rahula: “Do you observe, Rahula, that small quantity of water, thrown away?”

“Yes, Lord.”

“Similarly, Rahula, discarded [5] indeed is the Samanaship of those who fare not ashamed of deliberate lying.”

Then the Blessed One turned the water-vessel upside down, and addressed the venerable Rahula:

“Do you notice, Rahula, this water-vessel turned upside down?”

“Yes, Lord.”

“Similarly, Rahula, overturned [6] indeed is the Samanaship of those who are not ashamed of uttering deliberate lies.”

Finally, the Blessed One set the water-vessel upright and addressed the venerable Rahula:

“Do you see, Rahula, this water-vessel, empty and void”?

“Yes, Lord.”

“Similarly, Rahula, empty and void indeed is the Samanaship of those who are not ashamed of deliberate lies.”

“Suppose, Rahula, the king’s elephant—with tusks like plough-poles, mature, well-bred, whose place is the battle-field – having gone into the strife, performs doughty deeds [7] with his fore-legs, with his hind-legs, with the fore-part of his body, with the hind-part of his body, and also with his head, ears, tusks and tail, protecting only his trunk; and the mahout thinks that—despite this elephant’s prowess and the various feats he has performed—as he has protected his trunk, the life of the royal elephant has not really been risked. But, Rahula, from such time as the king’s elephant, having gone into battle and performed feats with various parts of his body, also performs feats with his trunk: then the mahout thinks that the life of the king’s elephant has really been risked. For now there is nothing that the royal elephant has not risked. [8]

“Similarly, Rahula, I say, of anyone who is not ashamed of uttering deliberate lies, that there is no evil that could not be done by him. Accordingly, Rahula, thus, indeed, should you train yourself: “‘Not even in play will I tell a lie.’

“What do you think, Rahula; for what purpose is a mirror?”

“For the purpose of reflecting, [9] Lord”:

“Similarly, Rahula, having reflected should bodily action be done; having reflected, [10] should verbal action be done; having reflected, should mental action be done.

“Whatever action you desire to do with the body, Rahula, of that particular bodily action you should reflect: ‘Now, this action that I desire to do with the body—would this, my bodily action, be conducive to my own harm, or to the harm of others, or to that of both (myself and others)?—Then, unskilful is this bodily action, entailing suffering and productive of pain.

“If, Rahula, when reflecting you should realize: ‘Now, this bodily action of mine, that I am desirous of doing, would be conducive to my own harm, or to the harm of others, or to that of both (myself and others),—hence, unskilful is this bodily action,—entailing suffering and productive of pain’—such an action with the body, Rahula, you must on no account perform.

“If, on the other hand, Rahula, when reflecting you realize: ‘Now, this bodily action that I am desirous of doing, would conduce neither to the harm of myself, nor to that of others, nor to that of both (myself and others),—hence, skilful is this bodily action, entailing pleasure and productive of happiness’—such bodily action, Rahula, you should perform.

“Whilst you are doing an action with the body, Rahula, of that particular bodily action should you reflect: ‘Now, is this action that I am doing with my body, conducive to my own harm, or to the harm of others,—or to that of both?—Then, unskilful is this bodily action, entailing suffering and productive of pain.’

“If, Rahula, when reflecting you realise: ‘Now, this action that I am doing with my body is conducive to my own harm, to the harm of others, and to that of both, hence, unskilful is this bodily action, entailing suffering and productive of pain,’—from such a bodily action, Rahula you must desist.

“If, on the other hand, Rahula, when reflecting should you realize: ‘Now, this action of mine that I am doing with the body is neither conducive to my own harm, nor to the harm of others, nor to that of both—hence, skilful is this bodily action, entailing pleasure and productive of happiness’—such a bodily action, Rahula, you should do again and again.

“Having done an action with your body, Rahula, of that particular bodily action you should reflect: ‘Now, is this action that I have done with my body conducive to my own harm, or to the harm of others, or to that of both?—Then, unskilful is this bodily action, entailing suffering and productive of pain.’

“If, Rahula, when reflecting you should realize: ‘Now, this action that I have done with my body is conducive to my own harm, to the harm of others, and that of both—hence, unskilful is this bodily action: entailing suffering and productive of pain’—such a bodily action of yours, Rahula, should be confessed, revealed, and made manifest to the Teacher, or to the learned, or to your brethren of the Holy Life. Having confessed, revealed, and made it manifest, you should acquire restraint in the future.

“If, on the other hand, Rahula, when through reflection you realize: ‘Now, this action that I have done with my body is neither conducive to my own harm, nor to the harm of others, nor to that of both,—hence, skilful is this bodily action, entailing pleasure and productive of happiness’—for that very reason, Rahula, should you abide in joy and happiness, training yourself, day and night, in meritorious states.

“Whatever action you desire to do by word, Rahula, of that particular verbal action you should reflect: ‘Now, this action that I desire to do by word—would this, my verbal action, be conducive to my own harm or to the harm of others, or to that of both?—Then, unskilful is this verbal action: entailing suffering and productive of pain.’

And he should reflect similarly before, during and after, verbal action. [11]

“If, on the other hand, Rahula, when reflecting you realize: ‘Now, this action that I have done by words is neither conducive to my own harm, nor to the harm of others, nor to, that of both,—hence, skilful is this verbal action, entailing pleasure and productive of happiness’—for that very reason, Rahula, should you abide in joy and happiness, training yourself, day and night, in meritorious states.

“Whatever action you desire to do by mind, Rahula, of that particular mental action you should reflect: ‘Now, this action that I desire to do by mind – would this, my mental action, be conducive to my own harm or to the harm of others, or to that of both?—Then, unskilful is this mental action, entailing suffering and productive of pain.’

And he should reflect, similarly before, during, and after, mental action.” [12]

“If, Rahula, when reflecting you realize; ‘Now this action that I have done by mind is conducive to my own harm, to the harm of others, and to that of both, hence unskilful is this mental action entailing suffering and productive of pain,’—such mental actions of yours, Rahula, should be loathed, abhorred and despised. [13] Thus loathing, abhorring and despising, you should acquire restraint in the future.

‘If, on the other hand, Rahula, when reflecting you should realize: ‘Now, this action that I have done by mind is neither conducive to my own harm, nor to the harm of others, nor to that of both,—hence skilful is this mental action, entailing pleasure and productive of happiness’—for this very reason, Rahula, should you abide in joy and happiness, training [14] yourself, day and night, in the meritorious states.

“For whosoever, Rahula, in the distant past Samanas or Brahmanas—purified their bodily, verbal and mental actions,—they all did so in exactly the same way—by constantly reflecting. Further, whosoever, Rahula; in the distant future—Samanas or Brahmanas—shall purify their bodily, verbal and mental actions,—they too will all do so in exactly the same way—by constantly reflecting. And further, whosoever, Rahula, at the present time—Samanas or Brahmanas—purify their bodily, verbal and mental actions’-they all do so in exactly the same way—by constantly reflecting:

“Accordingly, Rahula, thus must you train yourselves: ‘By constantly reflecting shall we purify our bodily actions; by constantly reflecting shall we purify our verbal actions; by constantly reflecting shall we purify our mental actions.”

Thus spoke the Blessed One. Delighted, the venerable Rahula rejoiced at his words.

Translation by Nyanaponika Thera, Buddhist Publication Society
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