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Ambalaṭṭhika-Rāhulovāda Sutta

v.l. Ambalaṭṭhiya°– Taught by the Buddha at Ambalaṭṭhikā (near Veḷuvana) to Rāhula. It deals with falsehood. Like a minute drop of water is the recluseship of those who shrink not from deliberate lying, it is thrown away, upset; it is empty and void. There is nothing evil they will not do, they run every risk, like an elephant who doesn’t guard his trunk. One should practise constant reflection, thereby abandoning all things conducive to suffering, either to oneself or to others, and develop self-control and purity (M.i.414‑20). Rāhula was evidently still very young at the time of this discourse, for we find the Buddha making use of frequent similes, and pointing them out to him. According to the Commentary, he was only 7 years old at the time (MA. ii. 636).

The Commentary says that it was taught because very young novices might be tempted to say things both proper and improper; they were likely to imagine things. This sutta is to warn Rāhula against the use of lies (MA.ii.635 f; AA.i.145; ii.547).

The Ambalaṭṭhika-Rāhulovāda Sutta is among the portions of scripture mentioned in the Bhābrā Edict of Asoka as being essentially worthy of study by all monks (See Mookerji: Asoka, p.119).

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