The Great Chronicle of Buddhas

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

This page describes Mara’s Threat to 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 Buddha’s Fourteenth Vassa at Savatthi. 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 - Māra’s Threat to Rāhula

One day, when night fell, a large number of theras went into the Jetavana monastery, visited the Venerable Rāhula’s place and took their seats. As Rāhula was just a junior monk, he could not prevent senior theras from taking seats at his place, he then looked for another place and, finding none, had to lie down at the entrance to the Fragrant Chamber of the Buddha. At that time, the young Rāhula had just attained arahatship but he had not completed a vassa yet as a bhikkhu.

From the celestial abode of Vasavatti, its residence, Māra saw Venerable Rāhula lying at the entrance of the Fragrant Chamber and conceived an idea:

“The Monk Gotama’s small finger (meaning Rāhula) that will suffer when hurt is sleeping outside the Fragrant Chamber. The Monk Gotama himself was sleeping inside. If I hurt the small finger, it would mean that I hurt the Monk Gotama as well.”

So he assumed the appearance of a huge elephant, approached Rāhula and embraced Rāhula’s head with his trunk; moreover he made a heron-like sound at a high pitch.

Even while sitting in the Fragrant Chamber, the Buddha knew it was Mara and said:

“Hey Māra, even a hundred thousand māras, let alone you, are incapable of frightening my son Rāhula. In fact, my son has no fear at all. He is free from craving, very energetic and highly intelligent.”

In order to stamp His word with the seal of Dhamma, the Buddha uttered the following two verses:

Niṭṭhangato asamtasi
vītataṇho anaṅgano
Acchindi bhavasallāni
antimo'yaṃ samussayo

(Hey Māra, a disturbing one! My son) Rāhula is one who has realized his goal, that is arahatship called Brahmacariya pariyosāna. He is absolutely free from fear, he is purified of the hundred and eight kinds of real craving; he is devoid of the one thousand and five hundred mental defilements; he has uprooted the thorns and spikes of all existences such as sensual (kāma), material (rūpa) and immaterial (arūpa). The body (of my son Rāhula) in the present existence is his last body.

Vītataṇho anādāno
Akkharānaṃ sannipātaṃ
jaññā pubbāparām ca.
Sa ve antimasārīro mahāpañño
mahāpuriso ti vuccuti

(He who is) purified of the hundred and eight kinds of real craving, has no attachment at all; does not grasp the five aggregates of the body and the mind as ‘I’, ‘mine’ and ‘my self’ is clever in respect of the fourfold analytical knowledge of meaning, truth, wit and analysis; sees the combinations of letters known as natural speech (sabhāva-nirutti) as they really are (If one knowing no natural speech says ‘phusso’ wrongly with reference to the mental concomitant of phassa: he knows it is ‘phasso’, the correct word of the natural speech.) He clearly knows the preceding syllable from the following and the following syllable from the preceding. (Of the three syllabic word cetanā, for instance, if the initial syllable alone is distinct, from it he correctly knows the indistinct middle and final ones: if the middle syllable alone is distinct, from it he correctly knows the indistinct initial and final in like manner; if the final syllable alone is distinct, from it he correctly knows the indistinct initial and middle in like manner. That person, having his final, is indeed to be spoken of as a man of great wisdom, an extraordinary man free from one thousand and five hundred moral defilements. By the end of the discourse many attained sotāpatti-phala and so on.

Aware of the fact that the Buddha came to know his identity, Māra disappeared from that very place.

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