Month: June 2016

The Mahā-Rahulovada Sutta


The Mahā-Rahulovada Sutta

Translated by Bhikkhu Ñāṇamoli and Bhikkhu Bodhi
Dictated by Sakya Longyen

Thus, have I heard:

On one occasion the Blessed One was living at Sāvatthī in Jeta’s grove, Anāthapiṇḍi’s park. Then when it was morning, the Blessed One dressed, and taking his bowl and outer robe, went into Sāvatthī for alms. The Venerable Rahula also dressed, and taking his bowl and outer robe, followed close behind the Blessed One.

Then the Blessed One looked back and addressed the Venerable Rahula thus:

Rahula, any kind of material form whatever, whether past, future, or present, internal or external, gross or subtle, inferior or superior, far or near, all material form should be seen as it actually is with proper wisdom thus: ‘This is not mine, this I am not, this is not my self.

Only material form, Blessed One? Only material form, Sublime One?”

Material form, Rahula, and feeling, perception, formations, and consciousness.”

Then the Venerable Rahula considered thus, “Who would go into the towns for alms today when personally admonished by the Blessed One?” Thus, he turned back and sat down at the root of a tree, folding his legs crosswise, setting his body erect, and establishing mindfulness in front of him.

The Venerable Sariputta saw him sitting there and addressed him thus.

Rahula, develop mindfulness of breathing. When mindfulness of breathing is developed and cultivated, it is of great fruit and great benefit.”

Then when it was evening, the Venerable Rahula rose from meditation and went to the Blessed One. After paying homage to him, he sat down at one side and asked the Blessed One.

Venerable Sir, how is mindfulness of breathing developed and cultivated so that it is of great fruit and great benefit?”

Rahula, whatever internally belonging to oneself is solid, solidified, and clung to, that is head hairs, body hairs, nails, teeth, skin, flesh, sinews, bones, bone-marrow, kidneys, heart, liver, diaphragm, spleen, lungs, large intestines, small intestines, content of the stomach, faeces, or whatever else internally belonging to oneself is solid, solidified, and clung to, this is called the internal earth element.

Now both the internal earth element and the external earth element are simply earth element. And that should be seen as it actually is with proper wisdom thus: ‘This is not mine, this I am not, this is not my self.’ When one sees it thus, as it actually is with proper wisdom, one becomes disenchanted with the earth element and makes the mind dispassionate towards the earth element.”

What, Rahula, is the water element? The water element may be either internal or external. What is the internal water element? Whatever internally belonging to oneself is water, watery, and clung to, that is bile, phlegm, pus, blood, sweat, fat, tears, grease, spittle, snot, oil of the joints, urine, or whatever else internally belonging to oneself is water, watery, and clung to, this is called the internal water element.

Now both the internal water element and the external water element are simply water element. And that should be seen as it actually is with proper wisdom thus: ‘This is not mine, this I am not, this is not my self.’ When one sees it thus, as it actually is with proper wisdom, one becomes disenchanted with the water element and makes the mind dispassionate towards the water element.”

What, Rahula, is the fire element? The fire element may be either internal or external. What is the internal fire element? Whatever internally belonging to oneself is fire, fiery, and clung to, that is that by which one is warmed, ages, and is consumed, and that by which what is eaten, drunk, consumed, and tasted gets completely digested, or whatever else internally belonging to oneself is fire, fiery, and clung to, this is called the internal fire element.

Now both the internal fire element and the external fire element are simply fire element. And that should be seen as it actually is with proper wisdom thus: ‘This is not mine, this I am not, this is not my self.’ When one sees it thus, as it actually is with proper wisdom, one becomes disenchanted with the fire element and makes the mind dispassionate towards the fire element.”

What, Rahula, is the air element? The air element may be either internal or external. What is the internal air element? Whatever internally belonging to oneself is air, airy, and clung to, that is up-going winds, down-going winds, wind in the belly, wind in the bowels, winds that course through the limbs, in-breath and out-breath, or whatever else internally belonging to oneself is air, airy, and clung to, this is called the internal air element.

Now both the internal air element and the external air element are simply air element. And that should be seen as it actually is with proper wisdom thus: ‘This is not mine, this I am not, this is not my self.’ When one sees it thus, as it actually is with proper wisdom, one becomes disenchanted with the air element and makes the mind dispassionate towards the air element.”

What, Rahula, is the space element? The space element may be either internal or external. What is the internal space element? Whatever internally belonging to oneself is space, spatial, and clung to, that is the holes of the ears, the nostrils, the door of the mouth, and that aperture whereby what is eaten, drunk, consumed, and tasted gets swallowed, and where it collects, and whereby it is excreted from below, or whatever else internally belonging to oneself is space, spatial, and clung to, this is called the internal space element.

Now both the internal space element and the external space element are simply space element. And that should be seen as it actually is with proper wisdom thus: ‘This is not mine, this I am not, this is not my self.’ When one sees it thus, as it actually is with proper wisdom, one becomes disenchanted with the space element and makes the mind dispassionate towards the space element.

Rahula, develop meditation that is like the earth. For when you develop meditation that is like the earth, arisen, agreeable, and disagreeable contacts will not invade your mind and remain. Just as people throw clean things and dirty things, excrement, urine, spittle, pus, and blood on the earth and the earth is not horrified, humiliated, and disgusted because of that, so too Rahula, develop meditation that is like the earth. For when you develop meditation that is like the earth, arisen, agreeable, and disagreeable contacts will not invade your mind and remain.

Rahula, develop meditation that is like water. For when you develop meditation that is like water, arisen, agreeable, and disagreeable contacts will not invade your mind and remain. Just as people wash clean things and dirty things, excrement, urine, spittle, pus, and blood in water and the water is not horrified, humiliated, and disgusted because of that, so too Rahula, develop meditation that is like water. For when you develop meditation that is like water, arisen, agreeable, and disagreeable contacts will not invade your mind and remain.

Rahula, develop meditation that is like fire. For when you develop meditation that is like fire, arisen, agreeable, and disagreeable contacts will not invade your mind and remain. Just as people burn clean things and dirty things, excrement, urine, spittle, pus, and blood in fire and the fire is not horrified, humiliated, and disgusted because of that, so too Rahula, develop meditation that is like fire. For when you develop meditation that is like fire, arisen, agreeable, and disagreeable contacts will not invade your mind and remain.

Rahula, develop meditation that is like air. For when you develop meditation that is like air, arisen, agreeable, and disagreeable contacts will not invade your mind and remain. Just as the air blows on clean things and dirty things, on excrement, urine, spittle, pus, and blood and the air is not horrified, humiliated, and disgusted because of that, so too Rahula, develop meditation that is like air. For when you develop meditation that is like air, arisen, agreeable, and disagreeable contacts will not invade your mind and remain.

Rahula, develop meditation that is like space. For when you develop meditation that is like space, arisen, agreeable, and disagreeable contacts will not invade your mind and remain. Just as space is not established anywhere, so too Rahula, develop meditation that is like space. For when you develop meditation that is like space, arisen, agreeable, and disagreeable contacts will not invade your mind and remain.

Rahula, develop meditation on loving-kindness. For when you develop meditation on loving-kindness, any ill-will will be abandoned.

Rahula, develop meditation on compassion. For when you develop meditation on compassion, any cruelty will be abandoned.

Rahula, develop meditation on appreciative joy. For when you develop meditation on appreciative joy, any discontent will be abandoned.

Rahula, develop meditation on equanimity. For when you develop meditation on equanimity, any aversion will be abandoned.

Rahula, develop meditation on foulness. For when you develop meditation on foulness, any lust will be abandoned.

Rahula, develop meditation on the perception of impermanence. For when you develop meditation on the perception of impermanence, the conceit ‘I am’ will be abandoned.

Rahula, develop meditation on mindfulness of breathing. When mindfulness of breathing is developed and cultivated, it is of great fruit and great benefit. And how is mindfulness of breathing developed and cultivated so that it is of great fruit and great benefit?

Here, Rahula, a bhikkhu, gone to the forest, or to the root of a tree, or to an empty hearth, sits down. Having folded his legs crosswise, set his body erect, and established mindfulness in front of him, ever mindful he breathes in, mindful he breathes out.

Breathing in long, he understands, ‘I breathe in long,’ or breathing out long, he understands, ‘I breathe out long.’

Breathing in short, he understands, ‘I breathe in short,’ or breathing out short, he understands, ‘I breathe out short.’

He trains thus, ‘I shall breathe in, experiencing the whole body.’ He trains thus, ‘I shall breathe out, experiencing the whole body.’

He trains thus, ‘I shall breathe in, tranquillising the bodily formation.’ He trains thus, ‘I shall breathe out, tranquillising the bodily formation.’

He trains thus, ‘I shall breathe in, experiencing rapture.’ He trains thus, ‘I shall breathe out, experiencing rapture.’

He trains thus, ‘I shall breathe in, experiencing pleasure.’ He trains thus, ‘I shall breathe out, experiencing pleasure.’

He trains thus, ‘I shall breathe in, experiencing the mental formation.’ He trains thus, ‘I shall breathe out, experiencing the mental formation.’

He trains thus, ‘I shall breathe in, tranquillising the mental formation.’ He trains thus, ‘I shall breathe out, tranquillising the mental formation.’

He trains thus, ‘I shall breathe in, experiencing the mind.’ He trains thus, ‘I shall breathe out, experiencing the mind.’

He trains thus, ‘I shall breathe in, gladdening the mind.’ He trains thus, ‘I shall breathe out, gladdening the mind.’

He trains thus, ‘I shall breathe in, concentrating the mind.’ He trains thus, ‘I shall breathe out, concentrating the mind.’

He trains thus, ‘I shall breathe in, liberating the mind.’ He trains thus, ‘I shall breathe out, liberating the mind.’

He trains thus, ‘I shall breathe in, contemplating impermanence.’ He trains thus, ‘I shall breathe out, contemplating impermanence.’

He trains thus, ‘I shall breathe in, contemplating fading away.’ He trains thus, ‘I shall breathe out, contemplating fading away.’

He trains thus, ‘I shall breathe in, contemplating cessation.’ He trains thus, ‘I shall breathe out, contemplating cessation.’

He trains thus, ‘I shall breathe in, contemplating relinquishment.’ He trains thus, ‘I shall breathe out, contemplating relinquishment.’

Rahula, that is how mindfulness of breathing is developed and cultivated, so that it is of great fruit and great benefit. When mindfulness of breathing is developed and cultivated in this way, even the final in-breath and out-breath are known as they cease, not unknown.”

This is what the Blessed One said. The Venerable Rahula was satisfied and delighted in the Blessed One’s words.