Buddha Teaches his son Rahula



Introduction -


In any family, it is the law of nature to look after one’s own relatives, like Buddha who had lead Yasodaya (his wife) admitted to Bhikkhuni Sangha and later taught her the Dhamma to become an Arahat。 In the same manner, he taught in son Rahula, to become an Arahat at the age of 21。 That is why we must pay reverence to Buddha as well as our relatives who are in the higher planes of existence。 They are the one who will lead us on the right path to our own liberation。


It is a Lokadhamma that said Blood is thicker than water, always depend on our relatives at a higher plane of existence to help and lead us on the path to liberation。 This discourse of Buddha to his son Rahula exemplifies the law of nature for all beings existing in this 31 planes of existence。


We have observed devas and brahmas approach the Buddha and ask him questions and we have followed the Buddha on his journeys to fine-material planes to uproot the delusions of brahmas。 The Buddha also instructs gods indirectly, when they overhear him teaching humans。 In such situations, devas with the requisite supporting conditions from previous lives can attain awakening along with the human auditors。 A number of suttas conclude with a statement that the discourse was applauded by many devas and brahmas who attained one or more of the stages of awakening while listening in。 One example is a discourse the Buddha gave to his son Rahula


This article goes to show that because Rahula in his previous life had received from another Buddha the prediction that he will become an Arahat in the existence when he is the son of Buddha Gotama。It is another example to show that all who are born to the Family of Gotama shall one day attained their liberation through stages of awakening。

(stream-winner, once-returner, non-returner and Arahat


It also shows that beings living in Deva world can also attain their awakening like - becoming stream-enterers, some once-returners, some non-returners, and some Arahants。 It is not necessary for one to be in the human world to attain awakening。 Any oneliving in the higher abode (Devas and Brahmas) could also attain their awakening。

The Buddha had been instructing Rahula gradually from the time he was ordained as a novice at seven years of age。 The training became more profound as he grew in years and powers of discretion。 By the time Rahula was twenty-one, the Buddha decided it was time to lead him towards Arahantship。 So one day, after the Blessed One had finished his meal, he told the young monk to come along with him to the Blind Men's Grove near Savatthi for the afternoon。 Rahula agreed and followed。 But they were not alone, for the text tells us that "many thousands of deities followed the Blessed One, thinking: 'Today the Blessed One will lead the Venerable Rahula further to the destruction of the taints。' "The commentary says that these gods had been companions of Rahula's during a previous life in which he first made the aspiration to attain Arahantship as the son of a Buddha。

The Buddha sat down at the root of a tree and Rahula also took a seat。 The Buddha asked Rahula if each sense organ, each sense object, each kind of sense consciousness, and each kind of contact is permanent or impermanent。 Rahula stated that they are all impermanent。 We can deduce that the devas, invisibly present, were listening and simultaneously meditating on the appropriate answers。 The Buddha asked:


"Is what is impermanent pleasant or suffering?"


Rahula acknowledged that anything that is impermanent must be unsatisfactory or suffering。


Then the Teacher queried: "Is what is impermanent, suffering, and subject to change fit to be regarded thus: 'This is mine, this I am, this is my self'?"


"No" came the reply。 The invisible audience too must have drawn the same conclusion (the Devas who are also listening to Buddha teaching his son)。


Next the Buddha asked Rahula if the feeling, perception, mental formations, and consciousness that arise through the contact of the six sense organs with their objects are permanent or not。 These are the four mental aggregates that - along with material form - constitute a being。


Rahula again said that they are impermanent。 He must have deduced that since the contact between the sense organs and their objects changes every instant, the aggregates that derive from them must also be transitory。 And again he recognized that whatever is impermanent is unsatisfactory。 He also understood that it is untenable to consider anything impermanent and unsatisfactory as "I, mine, or myself," as the concept of control is at the heart of our ideas of "I" and "mine。"


The Buddha then concluded that once one understands these facts fully, and sees how all these things are causally connected, one becomes disenchanted with all conditioned things:

"Being disenchanted, he becomes dispassionate。 Through dispassion [his mind] is liberated。 When it is liberated there comes the knowledge: 'It is liberated。' He understands: 'Birth is destroyed, the holy life has been lived, what had to be done has been done, there is no more coming to any state of being。' "

That is, he attains full awakening, Arahantship, and is no longer subject to rebirth。 As Rahula listened to his father's words, his mind was released from the taints through non-clinging。 By fully penetrating the discourse he had become an Arahant, fully liberated from suffering


All the deva and brahma spectators listening to the discourse attained the paths and fruits: "And in those many thousands of deities there arose the spotless immaculate vision of the Dhamma: 'All that is subject to arising is subject to cessation。' " Some of them, according to the commentary, became stream-enterers, some once-returners, some non-returners, and some Arahants。 This variety was due to the differences in their prior preparation and present effort at the time of the sutta。 Even though this discourse was geared to a young monk, while the Buddha spoke higher beings developed their own insight through hearing it and purified their minds (MN 147; also at SN iv, 105–107)。



Ananta Metta


Maung Paw