Saturday, February 26, 2011

Truth or Dare, Rahula - Speaking the truth

Rahula, Speaking the Truth
A Sharing by Amy

26 Feb 2011

The Research Says…
“Lying is a technique that is used to influence and manipulate other’s thoughts and attitude”. A human generally start lying at very early age of 4 or 5. At this age even a child is able to judge things in terms of personal interest and benefits. Normally children start lying to get out of some trouble or simply because they have desires of some objects like toys etc and they want their parents to bring that thing for them.

Why do People Lie?
• Avoid Punishment : People often lie to avoid punishments. Children learn this in their early age and adults continue to do so.
• Getting Approval : Not just to avoid punishment, but they even lie also to have an approval of their expectation.
• Privacy : Everyone needs some privacy and hence, lied for the protection of privacy
• Avoid Conflict : People often lie to avoid the conflicts. They prefer lying over the arguments.

What did the Buddha say about lying?

Foremost in Quietly Doing Good

Rahula, Shakyamuni's only child was born while his father was still Prince Siddhattha of the Shakyas. Siddhattha was nineteen when, at the instigation of his father Suddhodana, he married Yasodhara. Early in life, Siddhattha became aware of the suffering inherent in birth into this world and more and more of his time wrapped in the contemplation of liberation from suffering. His desire to seek an end to suffering grew ever stronger. King Suddhodana had arranged the marriage with Yasodhara in the hope of preventing his heir from abandoning the secular world for a life of religious pursuit. No doubt the king was overjoyed to hear that after ten years of marriage Yasodhara had given birth to a son. He imagined that this would change Siddhattha's mind about leaving home. Upon hearing of the event, however, Siddhattha cried out, "A hindrance [rahula] has been born; bonds of affection have been created!" This is said to be why he named his son Rahula.

At that time India was torn by violent battles among great kingdoms. The strong constantly threatened the weak, and some people rejected the validity of morality. They claimed that there was no evil in taking life, stealing, or causing others suffering, since no retribution for deeds done in this world waited in the world to come. Many eagerly accepted this doctrine. Prince Siddhattha witnessed this world firsthand and foresaw clearly the downfall of his society. He resolved to find a way to lead people from unhappiness as quickly as possible.
The birth of a son must have been a tremendous cause of concern to the prince. Seven days after Rahula came into the world, Siddhattha broke the bonds of affection tying him to the infant and silently left the palace for a life of religious pursuit. To Yasodhara, who had lost her husband, and to Suddhodana, who had lost his son, Rahula must truly have been a child of sorrow. But this may have made them treat him all the more tenderly. Surrounded with affection, Rahula grew rapidly.

After Prince Siddhattha left home to pursue a life of religion, not a day passed that Yasodhara did not worry about the harsh suffering that her husband must be enduring. He had been accustomed to the softest cushions and many attendants. Now he slept in open fields and submitted himself to all kinds of ascetic hardships. Finally word reached her one day that Siddhattha had attained enlightenment and become a buddha. Soon afterward she learned that he was returning, to visit Kapilavatthu, the capital.

He arrived in the company of a large number of disciples. They stayed in a forest outside the city, but paid a visit to King, Suddhodana at the palace. During this visit, Yasodhara pointed out the Buddha to Rahula and said. "That noble person is your father." Rahula advanced and looked up at his father, who returned his gaze but departed without saying a word.

Yasodhara hurried to her son and urged him to ask his father's blessing. Rahula did as he was told. Shakyamuni, turning back to look at his son, nodded and instructed the boy to follow as he continued walking. The boy did so in silence. When they reached the forest, Shakyamuni ordered Sariputta to shave Rahula's head, exchange his clothes for those of a monk, and make him a novice in the Sangha. Rahula is said to have been nine at the time.

Perhaps Shakyamuni foresaw the imminent fall of the Shakya tribe to one of the larger Indian kingdoms of the day. He must have realized how profoundly Yasodhara would suffer when her only son was taken away to lead a life of religious pursuit. No doubt he found it wrenching to tear his own child away from the comfort and wealth of life in the palace and compel him to wear the coarse robe of a monk and become a mendicant. Nonetheless, he was determined to live his son the precious legacy of enlightenment-eternal life and peace-attained only through strict religious discipline. Rahula's task was to follow the Way to its completion; and as a consequence of his actions, his mother too would eventually be brought to enlightenment.

As a member of the Sangha, Rahula underwent exactly the same discipline as all the other monks. When he was in training near his father at the Jetavana Monastery, a senior member of the Sangha returned from a long journey. Since rooms were assigned by seniority, Rahula had to give up his quarters to this monk. As luck would have it, it rained heavily the night he was forced to sleep outdoors, and he took refuge in a latrine. As might be expected, he grew very tired and dozed off. Suddenly he was awakened by a voice: "Who's there?" Recognizing it as his father's,

Rahula identified himself. "I see !" said Shakyamuni. After a moment's silence, Rahula heard the sound of his departing footsteps.

Though training at his father's side, Rahula was unable to call him father or draw close to him. Nor could he expect to receive from his father any sign of affection. Perhaps it was the sadness of being unable to treat his father as a father that prompted him to small acts of mischief. For instance, he once misdirected a lay believer who had come to the monastery and had asked him how to find Shakyamuni. Word of this reached Shakyamuni; that evening, to his son's great amazement, he took the unprecedented step of going to Rahula's quarters.

Rahula prepared his room and watched joyfully as his father approached. Inside the room, Shakyamuni called for water. Rahula brought it. When Rahula had washed his father's feet, Shakyamuni asked, "Rahula, can you drink this water?"

Rahula replied, "No. It was clean, but now that 1 have washed your feet in it, it's too dirty to drink."

Shakyamuni then instructed Rahula to throw the water away and return with the container. Rahula did as he was told, and Shakyamuni said, "Rahula, would you put food in this containers" Rahula answered, "No, I would not put food in a container that had just held dirty water."

Hearing this, Shakyamuni said, "A person who knows that lying is evil but lies anyway and hurts others is like water that is fouled or a container that has been dirtied. Sin begins with lying, which summons all evil to itself. And the suffering caused by lying inevitably rebounds upon the liar."

Enlightened by Shakyamuni's words, from that time forth Rahula was diligent in quietly obeying all the rules of the Sangha and became revered among the other disciples as foremost in quietly doing good.

How to practise perfect speech?
Six kinds of speech are used in human communication:
1. False speech that is not beneficial, and displeasing to others.
For instance, if one makes an accusation of immorality against a person who is virtuous, then the accuser’s speech is false. His accusation might be believed by another person who would then distrust the accused person, and thus unwittingly earn demerit. The accused person will also feel unhappy because he has been unjustly accused. The false accusation will not be liked by the wise, so such speech is malicious and inappropriate.
2. False speech that is not beneficial, but pleasing to many.
Included in this category are fictional tales, backbiting, which causes misunderstanding and disunity, and erroneous religious discourses. Tales, novels, and stories are mere fabrications. They are not accounts of real events, and do not benefit the reader, who may become sexually aroused, sad, angry, or dejected. Yet these tales and stories are liked by many people. The backbiter makes false accusations and one-sided statements, designed to cause destruction of friendliness and unity. Propaganda of the present-day contains many such lies and unwarranted accusations. Though slander causes distress, the listener may feel that it is intended for his own good.
3. Speech that is true, not beneficial, and displeasing to others.
This category includes, for instance, calling a thief a thief, a cheat a cheat, a fool a fool, or a blind person blind. Though it is true, it has no benefit, nor is it liked by the person concerned. The Buddha never used this kind of speech.
4. Speech that is true, not beneficial, but pleasing to many.
This category includes, for instance, quoting somebody and setting him against another. Such speech causes disharmony and distress, but the listener might be pleased because the speaker is sharing a confidence. This kind of speech includes political rumour and gossip, which may be true and relished by many, but is of no benefit. Moreover, it disturbs those who are cultivating a spiritual path. Such speech was never used by the Buddha.
5. Speech that is true and beneficial, though not pleasing to some.
Such speech includes admonitions like, “You are suffering now because you have done many unwholesome deeds in your previous existences. If you do not reform, but continue doing unwholesome deeds, saving yourself from hell will be difficult.” This admonition is motivated by good intentions for the welfare of others. Such forthrightness may be displeasing to others; nevertheless, it should sometimes be used. The Buddha used such speech when necessary.
6. Speech that is true, beneficial, and pleasing to many.
This category includes discourses on charity, morality, and mental culture. Religious discourses are beneficial and liked by wise and moral persons, so the Buddha used such speech whenever it was appropriate. The Buddha mostly used this kind of speech.
Choosing the right words for the occasion is important. Saying something true and beneficial may be inappropriate when festivities are being held. For instance, at a wedding ceremony or a novice initiation, when people are light-hearted, talking about serious subjects like meditation on death or the stages of insight leading to nibbāna is inappropriate. Conversely, giving a discourse on blessings (mangala) is inappropriate at a memorial ceremony.

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