MN 61 as translated by Bhikkhu Sujato (ellipsis expansions by me)

unedited source at suttacentral.net this is licenced CC0

this local post links here

Middle length discourses of the Buddha Sutta 61 search keywords MN 61 for other translations

Advice to Rāhula at Ambalaṭṭhika

So I have heard. At one time the Buddha was staying near Rājagaha, in the Bamboo Grove, the squirrels’ feeding ground.

Now at that time Venerable Rāhula (Buddha’s son) was staying at Ambalaṭṭhikā. Then in the late afternoon, the Buddha came out of retreat and went to Ambalaṭṭhika to see Venerable Rāhula. Rāhula saw the Buddha coming off in the distance. He spread out a seat and placed water for washing the feet. The Buddha sat on the seat spread out, and washed his feet. Rāhula bowed to the Buddha and sat down to one side.

Then the Buddha, leaving a little water in the washing pot, addressed Rāhula, “Rāhula, do you see this little bit of water left in the pot?”

“Yes, sir.”

“That’s how little of the ascetic’s nature is left in those who are not ashamed to tell a deliberate lie.”

Then the Buddha, tossing away what little water was left in the pot, said to Rāhula, “Do you see this little bit of water that was tossed away?”

“Yes, sir.”

“That’s how the ascetic’s nature is tossed away in those who are not ashamed to tell a deliberate lie.”

Then the Buddha, turning the pot upside down, said to Rāhula, “Do you see how this pot is turned upside down?”

“Yes, sir.”

“That’s how the ascetic’s nature is turned upside down in those who are not ashamed to tell a deliberate lie.”

Then the Buddha, turning the pot right side up, said to Rāhula, “Do you see how this pot is vacant and hollow?”

“Yes, sir.”

“That’s how vacant and hollow the ascetic’s nature is in those who are not ashamed to tell a deliberate lie.

Suppose there was a royal bull elephant with tusks like plows, able to draw a heavy load, pedigreed and battle-hardened. In battle it uses its fore-feet and hind-feet, its fore-quarters and hind-quarters, its head, ears, tusks, and tail, but it still protects its trunk. So its rider thinks: ‘This royal bull elephant still protects its trunk. It has not fully dedicated its life.’ But when that royal bull elephant … in battle uses its fore-feet and hind-feet, its fore-quarters and hind-quarters, its head, ears, tusks, and tail, and its trunk, its rider thinks: ‘This royal bull elephant … in battle uses its fore-feet and hind-feet, its fore-quarters and hind-quarters, its head, ears, tusks, and tail, and its trunk. It has fully dedicated its life. Now there is nothing that royal bull elephant would not do.’

In the same way, when someone is not ashamed to tell a deliberate lie, there is no bad deed they would not do, I say. So you should train like this: ‘I will not tell a lie, even for a joke.’

What do you think, Rāhula? What is the purpose of a mirror?”

“It’s for checking your reflection, sir.”

“In the same way, deeds of body, speech, and mind should be done only after repeated checking.

When you want to act with the body, you should check on that same deed: ‘Does this act with the body that I want to do lead to hurting myself, hurting others, or hurting both? Is it unskillful, with suffering as its outcome and result?’ If, while checking in this way, you know: ‘This act with the body that I want to do leads to hurting myself, hurting others, or hurting both. It’s unskillful, with suffering as its outcome and result.’ To the best of your ability, Rāhula, you should not do such a deed. But if, while checking in this way, you know: ‘This act with the body that I want to do doesn’t lead to hurting myself, hurting others, or hurting both. It’s skillful, with happiness as its outcome and result.’ Then, Rāhula, you should do such a deed.

While you are acting with the body, you should check on that same act: ‘Does this act with the body that I am doing lead to hurting myself, hurting others, or hurting both? Is it unskillful, with suffering as its outcome and result?’ If, while checking in this way, you know: ‘This act with the body that I am doing leads to hurting myself, hurting others, or hurting both. It’s unskillful, with suffering as its outcome and result.’ Then, Rāhula, you should desist from such a deed. But if, while checking in this way, you know: ‘This act with the body that I am doing doesn’t lead to hurting myself, hurting others, or hurting both. It’s skillful, with happiness as its outcome and result.’ Then, Rāhula, you should continue doing such a deed.

After you have acted with the body, you should check on that same act: ‘Does this act with the body that I have done lead to hurting myself, hurting others, or hurting both? Is it unskillful, with suffering as its outcome and result?’ If, while checking in this way, you know: ‘This act with the body that I have done leads to hurting myself, hurting others, or hurting both. It’s unskillful, with suffering as its outcome and result.’ Then, Rāhula, you should confess, reveal, and clarify such a deed to the Teacher or a sensible spiritual companion. And having revealed it you should restrain yourself in future. But if, while checking in this way, you know: ‘This act with the body that I have done doesn’t lead to hurting myself, hurting others, or hurting both. It’s skillful, with happiness as its outcome and result.’ Then, Rāhula, you should live in rapture and joy because of this, training day and night in skillful qualities.

When you want to act with speech, you should check on that same deed: ‘Does this act of speech that I want to do lead to hurting myself, hurting others, or hurting both?’ Is it unskillful, with suffering as its outcome and result?’ If, while checking in this way, you know: ‘This act of speech that I want to do leads to hurting myself, hurting others, or hurting both. It’s unskillful, with suffering as its outcome and result.’ To the best of your ability, Rāhula, you should not do such a deed. But if, while checking in this way, you know: ‘This act of speech that I want to do doesn’t lead to hurting myself, hurting others, or hurting both. It’s skillful, with happiness as its outcome and result.’ Then, Rāhula, you should do such a deed.

While you are acting with speech, you should check on that same act: ‘Does this act of speech that I am doing lead to hurting myself, hurting others, or hurting both? Is it unskillful, with suffering as its outcome and result?’ If, while checking in this way, you know: ‘This act of speech that I am doing leads to hurting myself, hurting others, or hurting both. It’s unskillful, with suffering as its outcome and result.’ Then, Rāhula, you should desist from such a deed. But if, while checking in this way, you know: ‘This act of speech that I am doing doesn’t lead to hurting myself, hurting others, or hurting both. It’s skillful, with happiness as its outcome and result.’ Then, Rāhula, you should continue doing such a deed.

  After you have acted of speech, you should check on that same act: ‘Does this act of speech that I have done lead to hurting myself, hurting others, or hurting both? Is it unskillful, with suffering as its outcome and result?’   If, while checking in this way, you know: ‘This act of speech that I have done leads to hurting myself, hurting others, or hurting both. It’s unskillful, with suffering as its outcome and result.’ Then, Rāhula, you should confess, reveal, and clarify such a deed to the Teacher or a sensible spiritual companion. And having revealed it you should restrain yourself in future. But if, while checking in this way, you know: ‘This act of speech that I have done doesn’t lead to hurting myself, hurting others, or hurting both. It’s skillful, with happiness as its outcome and result.’ Then, Rāhula, you should live in rapture and joy because of this, training day and night in skillful qualities.

When you want to act with the mind, you should check on that same deed: ‘Does this act of mind that I want to do lead to hurting myself, hurting others, or hurting both?’ Is it unskillful, with suffering as its outcome and result?’ If, while checking in this way, you know: ‘This act of mind that I want to do leads to hurting myself, hurting others, or hurting both. It’s unskillful, with suffering as its outcome and result.’ To the best of your ability, Rāhula, you should not do such a deed. But if, while checking in this way, you know: ‘This act of mind that I want to do doesn’t lead to hurting myself, hurting others, or hurting both. It’s skillful, with happiness as its outcome and result.’ Then, Rāhula, you should do such a deed.

While you are acting with the mind, you should check on that same act: ‘Does this act with the mind that I am doing lead to hurting myself, hurting others, or hurting both? Is it unskillful, with suffering as its outcome and result?’ If, while checking in this way, you know: ‘This act with the mind that I am doing leads to hurting myself, hurting others, or hurting both. It’s unskillful, with suffering as its outcome and result.’ Then, Rāhula, you should desist from such a deed. But if, while checking in this way, you know: ‘This act with the mind that I am doing doesn’t lead to hurting myself, hurting others, or hurting both. It’s skillful, with happiness as its outcome and result.’ Then, Rāhula, you should continue doing such a deed.

After you have acted with the mind, you should check on that same act: ‘Did this act with the mind that I did lead to hurting myself, hurting others, or hurting both? Is it unskillful, with suffering as its outcome and result?’ If, while checking in this way, you know: ‘This act of mind that I have done leads to hurting myself, hurting others, or hurting both. It’s unskillful, with suffering as its outcome and result.’ Then, Rāhula, you should be horrified, repelled, and disgusted by that deed. And being repelled, you should restrain yourself in the future. But if, while checking in this way, you know: ‘This act with the mind that I have done doesn’t lead to hurting myself, hurting others, or hurting both. It’s skillful, with happiness as its outcome and result.’ Then, Rāhula, you should live in rapture and joy because of this, training day and night in skillful qualities.

All the ascetics and brahmins of the past, future, and present who purify their physical, verbal, and mental actions do so after repeatedly checking. So Rāhula, you should train yourself like this: ‘I will purify my physical, verbal, and mental actions after repeatedly checking.’”

That is what the Buddha said. Satisfied, Venerable Rāhula was happy with what the Buddha said.