The Great Chronicle of Buddhas

by Ven. Mingun Sayadaw | 1990 | 1,044,401 words

This page describes Discourses delivered by the Buddha with Reference to Venerable Rahula contained within the book called the Great Chronicle of Buddhas (maha-buddha-vamsa), a large compilation of stories revolving around the Buddhas and Buddhist disciples. This page is part of the series known as the Monk Sudinna, the Son of the Kalanda Merchant. This great chronicle of Buddhas was compiled by Ven. Mingun Sayadaw who had a thorough understanding of the thousands and thousands of Buddhist teachings (suttas).

Part 5 - Discourses delivered by the Buddha with Reference to Venerable Rāhula

Several discourses were delivered to Venerable Rāhula by the Buddha:

(1) The Sāmaṇerapañha, “Questions for a novice”,
(2) the Ambalaṭṭhika Rāhulovāda Sutta, “Advice to Rāhula given in Ambalaṭṭhika Park”,
(3) the Rāhula-saṃyutta, “Saying connected with Rāhula”
(4) the Mahā-Rāhulovāda Sutta, “Greater Discourse as Advice to Rāhula”, and
(5) the Cūla Rāhulovāda Sutta, “Lesser Discourse as Advice to Rāhula”,

Gist of these Suttas: At the time when the Buddha visited the palace at Kapilavatthu for the first time and met Prince Rāhula who was then seven years old, the Prince asked for his inheritance, grasping the edge of the Buddha’s robe: “Father, you whose defilements have all been put away! Please grant me your inheritance!”

Accordingly the Buddha handed him over to Venerable Sāriputta to ordain him as a novice.

(1) Thereafter the Buddha decided to make some exhortations to Rāhula, for he thought: “Children tend to speak of all kinds of things, proper as well as improper.” He then summoned His son and said: “Rāhula, a sāmaṇera should not indulge in tiracchānakathā, ‘animal talks’ such as those about princes and rulers and the like, which are not conducive to the Path and Fruition. Dear son, if you wish to talk, talk about such and such Dhamma.” And the Buddha gave Rāhula a sermon, ‘Sāmaṇera-pañha’ by name, containing ten questions and fifty-five answers that are never left out by all Buddhas from Their Teaching. (Khuddaka-paṭha, the first book of the Khuddaka Nikāya)

(2) Again the Buddha considered: “Children are fond of telling lies. They are likely to say: ‘I see’ when they do not; or ‘I do not see’, when they do. Therefore I shall exhort Rāhula in advance.” Hence, He taught the Ambalaṭṭhika Rāhulovāda which enumerates seven examples in order: first, the four examples of water cups which can be easily seen by the eye, the two examples of an elephant in warfare, and one example of a mirror. (Ambalaṭṭhika-Rāhulovāda Sutta, Bhikkhu-Vagga, Majjhima-Paṇṇāsa, Mājjhima Nikāya.)

Besides, the Buddha taught Rāhula another Sutta which forbade the arising of craving for the four requisites, which removed desire, greed and craving for the five sensual pleasures, and explained the significant advantages of association with good friends. (Sutta-Nipāta I, this particular Sutta is called Abhiṇha Rāhulovāda Sutta)

(3) The Rāhula Saṃyutta teaches not to develop craving and desire for the three kinds of existence wherever one is born. (Saṃyutta Nikāya, etc.)

(4) The Mahā-Rāhulovāda Sutta was delivered in order not to cultivate gehassita chandarāga, thinking: ‘I am beautiful, my look is clean and serene’ with reference to one’s body. (Majjhima Paṇṇāsa, Majjhima Nikāya)

(5) After that when the Buddha was in his fourteenth year as an Enlightened One (when Rāhula-was newly ordained as a bhikkhu but had not yet completed a vassa), the Cūla

Rāhulovāda was taught so that Rāhula might attain arahatship right away (Upari-Paṇṇāsa, Majjhima Nikāya)

Of the above discourses,

Nothing can be said of the date of the deliverance of the Rāhula Sutta (Abhiññā Rāhulovda Sutta). In fact, it was taught by the Buddha off and on.

(1 & 2) The Sāmaṇera Pañha and the Amblaṭṭhika Rāhulovāda Sutta were delivered when Rāhula was a young sāmaṇera of seven.

(3) The Rāhula Saṃyutta was given occasionally during the period between Rāhula’s novitiate which commenced when he was seven and his ordination as a young bhikkhu who had not yet observed even a single.

(4) The teaching of the Mahā-Rāhulovāda took place when Rāhula was eighteen.

(5) The teaching of the Cūla-Rāhulovāda took place when Rāhula had just become a bhikkhu with no experience even for a vassa.

Among these Discourses, the Rāhula Sutta (Abhiññā Rāhulovāda Sutta) was given in order to exhort Rāhula incessantly; (1) The Sāmaṇera Pañha was preached to make Rāhula avoid talking about improper things. (2) The Ambatatthika Rāhulovāda Sutta was to instruct him not to tell lies knowingly. (3) The Rāhula Saṃyutta was given in order to let Rāhula receive the doctrine concerning Vipassanā-Knowledge; (4) The Mahā Rāhulovāda was taught in order to eradicate gehassaita chanda-rāga (the five sensual pleasures, the craving and greed for household life). (5) The Cūlā-Rāhulovāda Sutta was sermonized in order to make Rāhula attain arahatship when the fifteen vimutti-paripācanīya characteristics reached maturity (as he was then just a freshman in the community of bhikkhus).

With reference to this point, the Venerable Rāhula, desirous of extolling the Buddha’s virtues, spoke in the midst of bhikkhus as follows:

Kikī va bījaṃ rakkheyya, camarī valam uttamaṃ,
nipako sī1asampanno, mamaṃ rakkhe tathāgato

As a female pheasant protects her egg, as a yak safeguards his precious tail, so did the Exalted One, my father, the apple of the eye to the three classes of beings, has sheltered me, His own flesh and blood, the manner of which being comparable to that adopted by the pheasant or the yak, so that I might attain arahatship.

In this way, many discourses were delivered by the Buddha in connection with Venerable Rāhula.

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