Thursday, December 20, 2018

The Buddha's advice to his son

John D. Ireland, excerpt, Rahula Sutra (Sn 2.11); Amber Larson, Dhr. Seven, Wisdom Quarterly
Young Prince Rahula, prompted by his mother (Bimba Devi/Yasodhara) asks for his "inheritance." After renouncing the world, the Buddha came back to save his son, wife, family, relatives, friends, and the whole world by teaching the Path to Freedom he had discovered. The Buddha gives his son his inheritance by directing Ven. Sariputra to ordain the boy, giving him a spiritual inheritance far better than the one he asked for.
All in the family: Rahula, the Buddha, Ananda
"Rahula, renouncing the five [captivating] pleasures of the senses that [trap,] entrance, and delight the mind, and with confidence departing from home, become one to make an end of  all suffering!
"Associate with good friends, and choose remote lodgings, secluded, free of noise. Eat but moderately. Robes, alms (food), medicinal remedies, and a dwelling -- use without craving (clinging to) these things. Be not one who returns to the world.*
  • *By being dragged back to the world by craving for these things (Commentary).
Rahula, when you see your father -- that's him in the front -- ask him for your inheritance.
The mother of Rahula, Bimba Devi
Practice restraint according to the Discipline (monastic disciplinary code or vinaya), and exercise restraint of the five sense faculties.

"Practice mindfulness of the body to continually develop dispassion [towards it to gain freedom from it.] Avoid the sign of the beautiful (subha) that is connected with passion [and therefore with clinging]. By meditating on the foul* aspects, cultivate a mind that is calm and collected (pure, concentrated, undistracted).
  • *The "foul" (asubha, unlovely) refers to contemplation of the body by bringing to mind the body as a corpse moving through various stages of decomposition and the contemplation of the 32 parts of the body as it is now -- as a means of being able to let go and develop liberating detachment from the body and dispassion toward its beautiful signs or aspects (subha-nimitta).
"Meditate on the signless.*

The marriage of Prince Siddhartha and Princess Bimba (Yasodhara) before birth of Rahula
  • *The signless (animitta) is one of the Three Liberations (vimokkha) by which beings are freed from the world (rebirth, samsara). The other two are desirelessness (appanihita) and emptiness (sunnata, the impersonal nature of all condition things). The signless is connected with the idea of impermanence of all conditioned things (cf. The Path of Purification, Visuddhi Magga, XXI 67f).
Princess Bimba holding Prince Siddhartha (W)
"And [thereby] get rid of the tendency toward conceit (mana, misconceiving). By thoroughly understanding and uprooting conceit one will live in the (highest, unmatched) peace."

"In this way the Buddha repeatedly advised his son, who became a Buddhist monk named Venerable Rahula."

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