Sutta Translation

Pali Tipitaka > Sutta Pitaka > Majjhima Nikaya > Maharahulovada Sutta

1. Eva.m me suta.m - eka.m samaya.m Bhagavaa Saavatthiya.m viharati Jetavane Anaathapi.n.dikassa aaraame. Atha kho Bhagavaa pubba.nhasamaya.m nivaasetvaa pattaciivaramaadaaya saavatthi.m pi.n.daaya paavisi. Aayasmaapi kho Raahulo pubba.nhasamaya.m nivaasetvaa pattaciivaramaadaaya Bhagavanta.m pi.t.thito pi.t.thito anubandhi. Atha kho Bhagavaa apaloketvaa aayasmanta.m Raahula.m aamantesi - "Ya.m ki˝ci, Raahula, ruupa.m - atiitaanaagatapaccuppanna.m ajjhatta.m vaa bahiddhaa vaa o.laarika.m vaa sukhuma.m vaa hiina.m vaa pa.niita.m vaa ya.m duure santike vaa - sabba.m ruupa.m 'neta.m mama, nesohamasmi, na meso attaa'ti evameta.m yathaabhuuta.m sammappa˝˝aaya da.t.thabban"ti. "Ruupameva nu kho, Bhagavaa, ruupameva nu kho, sugataa"ti? "Ruupampi, Raahula, vedanaapi, Raahula, sa˝˝aapi, Raahula, sa'nkhaaraapi, Raahula, vi˝˝aa.nampi, Raahulaa"ti. Atha kho aayasmaa Raahulo "Ko najja Bhagavataa sammukhaa ovaadena ovadito gaama.m pi.n.daaya pavisissatii"ti tato pa.tinivattitvaa a˝˝atarasmi.m rukkhamuule nisiidi palla'nka.m aabhujitvaa uju.m kaaya.m pa.nidhaaya parimukha.m sati.m upa.t.thapetvaa. Addasaa kho aayasmaa Saariputto aayasmanta.m Raahula.m a˝˝atarasmi.m rukkhamuule nisinna.m palla'nka.m aabhujitvaa uju.m kaaya.m pa.nidhaaya parimukha.m sati.m upa.t.thapetvaa. Disvaana aayasmanta.m Raahula.m aamantesi - "Aanaapaanassati.m, Raahula, bhaavana.m bhaavehi. Aanaapaanassati, Raahula, bhaavanaa bhaavitaa bahuliikataa mahapphalaa hoti mahaanisa.msaa"ti.

Eva.m me suta.m - eka.m samaya.m Bhagavaa Saavatthiya.m viharati Jeta-vane Anaathapi.n.dikassa aaraame.
thus / by me / heard / one / time / the Blessed One / Savatthi / stays / Jeta's forest / of Anathapindika / in garden
Thus have I heard. At one time the Blessed One stayed in the garden of Anathapindika, in Jeta's forest, near Savatthi.

  • me - by me, first person singular enclitic, used in instrumental, dative and genitive cases;
  • suta.m - heard, present participle of sunaati 'hears';
  • eka.m - one, single, only;
  • samaya.m - time, period, season; condition;
  • Bhagavaa - the Blessed One, the Fortunate One (epithet for the Buddha);
  • viharati - stays, abides, dwells, sojourns, lives; behaves, leads a life;
  • vana.m - forest; wood;
  • aaraamo - pleasure-ground, park, garden, in Vinaya there is a comment that garden (aaramaa) are of two kinds, with flowers or with fruit.

Atha kho Bhagavaa pubba.nha-samaya.m nivaasetvaa patta-ciivaram-aadaaya saavatthi.m pi.n.daaya paavisi.
then / the Blessed One / morning-time / having dressed / bowl-robe-having taken / Savatthi / for alms / entered
Then, when it was morning, the Blessed One, having dressed and taken his robe and bowl, entered Savatthi for alms.

  • atha kho - then;
  • pubba.nha - forenoon, morning;
  • pubba.nhasamaya.m - when it was morning;
  • pubba.nhasamaya.m nivaasetvaa pattaciivaramaadaaya - describing the setting out on his round of the bhikkhu, see PED nivaaseti (p372);
  • pi.n.daaya - for alms (dative).

Aayasmaa-pi kho Raahulo pubba.nhasamaya.m nivaasetvaa pattaciivaramaadaaya Bhagavanta.m pi.t.thito pi.t.thito anubandhi.
venerable-too / - / Rahula / when it was morning / having dressed / having taken (his) robe and bowl / the Blessed One / from behind / from behind / followed
Venerable Rahula too, when it was morning, having dressed and taken his robe and bowl, followed the Blessed One closely from behind.

  • aayasmaa - (respectful appellation) venerable;
  • kho - (affirmative emphasis);
  • pattaciivaramaadaaya - having taken (his) robe and bowl;
  • pi.t.thito - (pi.t.thi + to) from behind;
  • pi.t.thito pi.t.thito - closely from behind.

[ Commentary ]


Atha kho Bhagavaa apaloketvaa aayasmanta.m Raahula.m aamantesi -
and then / the Blessed One / looking back towards / venerable / Rahula / addressed
And then the Blessed One, looking back towards the venerable Rahula, addressed him:

  • apaloketvaa - looking back towards (absolutive of apaloketi);
  • aayasmanta.m - venerable (aayasmant acc.);
  • aamantesi - addressed, spoke to (2nd, 3rd person past of amanteti).

"Ya.m ki˝ci, Raahula, ruupa.m -
whatever / Rahula / form
"Rahula, whatever form -

  • ya.m ki˝ci - whatever.

atiita-anaagata-paccuppanna.m ajjhatta.m vaa bahiddhaa vaa o.laarika.m vaa sukhuma.m vaa hiina.m vaa pa.niita.m vaa ya.m duure santike vaa -
past-future-present / internal / or / external / or / gross / or / subtle / or / base / or / exalted / or / whether far or near
past, future or present, internal or external, gross or subtle, base or exalted, whether it is far or near -

  • attita - past, gone by; former, belonging to the past times (pp. of acceti 'passes');
  • anaagata - future (neg. pp. of aagacchati 'comes, arrives');
  • paccupanna.m - present, existing, arisen;
  • ajjhatta.m - interior, internal;
  • bahiddhaa - external, exterior;
  • o.laarika.m - coarse, gross;
  • ya.m duure santike vaa - whether far or near.

sabba.m ruupa.m 'n-eta.m mama, n-eso-ham-asmi, na m-eso attaa'ti evam-eta.m yathaabhuuta.m sammappa˝˝aaya da.t.thabban"ti.
all / form / not-this / mine / not this I am / not / for me-this / self / thus-this / as it is / with perfect wisdom / should be regarded
all form should be seen as it is with right wisdom in such a way. Thus "this is not mine, this I am not, this is not myself"[1]."

  • 'neta.m = na - not; eta.m - this;
  • mama - mine (gen. dat. of aha.m 'I');
  • nesohamasmi - na eso aha.m asmi, this I am not; eso - this (etad); asmi - am (atthi);
  • meso - me eso;
  • atta - self, myself (reflective pronoun);
  • -ti - (quotation marker);
  • evameta.m = eva.m - thus; eta.m - this;
  • yathaabhuuta.m - as it is;
  • sammappa˝˝aaya - with right wisdom (instrumental).

[1] This verse is explained in MN28 Mahahatthipadopama Sutta (The Greater Discourse on the Elephant's Footprint).


"Ruupam-eva nu kho, Bhagavaa, ruupameva nu kho, sugataa"ti?
form only / - / Blessed One / form only / - / Sugata
"Form only, Blessed One? Form only, Sugata[2]?"

  • nu kho - (question).

[2] Sugata - frequent epithet of Buddha.
Common renderings:
I: emphasis on '-gata' - the Well-gone, the Well-farer (Rhys Davids, Woodward, Horner, Walshe, Norman. Most common PTS rendering);
II: emphasis on 'su-' - the Sublime One (Đanamoli), the Fortunate One (Bodhi), the Blissful One.


"Ruupampi, Raahula, vedanaapi, Raahula, sa˝˝aapi, Raahula, sa'nkhaaraapi, Raahula, vi˝˝aa.nampi, Raahulaa"ti.
form too / Rahula / feeling too / Rahula / apperception too / Rahula / determination too / Rahula / consciousness too / Rahula
"Also feeling, apperception[3], determinations and consciousness, Rahula, as well as form."

[3] apperception (sa˝˝aa): the mental process of discrimination and categorization of the sense impressions, resulting in their labeling. For example, the process in which the color of the visible object is designated as 'blue', 'yellow', or 'red'.

[ Commentary ]


Atha kho aayasmaa Raahulo
then / venerable / Rahula
Then the venerable Rahula thought,


"Ko najja Bhagavataa sammukhaa ovaadena ovadito gaama.m pi.n.daaya pavisissatii"ti tato pa.tinivattitvaa a˝˝atarasmi.m rukkhamuule nisiidi palla'nka.m aabhujitvaa uju.m kaaya.m pa.nidhaaya parimukha.m sati.m upa.t.thapetvaa.
who / indeed today / by the Blessed One / personally / advice / having been exhorted / to village / for alms / to go / from that place / to turn back again / a certain / at foot of a tree / sat down / sitting cross-legged / upright / body / to apply / before him / mindfulness / having established
"Who indeed, after being personally exhorted by the Blessed One himself today, would go into the village for alms?" Turning back, he sat down at the foot of a certain tree, crossed his legs and, keeping his body upright, established mindfulness before him.

  • ko najja - [comm.] ko nu ajja - who would today : ko - (pronoun interrogative) can be taken as who (masc. sing.) [see Warder Ch12 for more info.]; nu - indeed; ajja - now, today;
  • Bhagavataa - (Bhagavant ins.) by the Blessed One;
  • sammukhaa - personally, face to face, before;
  • ovaadena - (ovaada ins.) advice;
  • ovadito - (ovadati pp. passive) having been instructed, exhorted, given advice;
  • pi.n.daaya - for alms;
  • pavisissatii - to go in, enter (pavisati, future 3rd person sing.);
  • tato - from that place;
  • pa.tinivattitvaa - (gerund) to turn back again;
  • a˝˝atarasmi.m - (a˝˝atara loc.) a certain;
  • rukkhamuula = rukkha + muula = (n.) foot of a tree
  • nisiidi - sat down;
  • palla'nka.m aabhujitvaa - sitting cross-legged (see PED pallanka);
  • uju.m - straight, upright (adj.);
  • pa.nidhaaya - (gerund) to apply, direct;
  • parimukha.m - before him [Vibhanga: at the tip of the nose or the centre of the upper lip];
  • sati.m - mindfulness;
  • upa.t.thapetva - having fixed, established (upa.t.theti).

[ Commentary ]


Addasaa kho aayasmaa Saariputto aayasmanta.m Raahula.m a˝˝atarasmi.m rukkhamuule nisinna.m palla'nka.m aabhujitvaa uju.m kaaya.m pa.nidhaaya parimukha.m sati.m upa.t.thapetvaa.
saw / - / venerable / Sariputta / venerable / Rahula / a certain / at foot of a tree / seated / sitting cross-legged / upright / body / to apply / before him / mindfulness / having established
The venerable Sariputta saw the venerable Rahula seated at the foot of that tree, cross-legged and body upright with mindfulness established before him.

  • addasaa - saw (dassa aor.);
  • nisinna.m - seated (nisinna acc.).

[ Commentary ]


Disvaana aayasmanta.m Raahula.m aamantesi -
having seen / venerable / Rahula / addressed
Having seen the venerable Rahula, he addressed him:

  • disvaana - (gerund) having seen.

"Aana-apaana-ssati.m, Raahula, bhaavana.m bhaavehi.
in breathing-out breathing-mindfulness / Rahula / development by meditation / cultivate
"Cultivate the development of mindfulness on in and out breathing, Rahula.

  • aana - in breathing;
  • apaana - out breathing;
  • sati.m - (acc.) mindfulness;
  • bhaavana.m - (acc.) development by meditation;
  • bhaavehi - (imperative) cultivate.

Aana-apaana-ssati, Raahula, bhaavanaa bhaavitaa bahuliikataa maha-pphalaa hoti maha-anisa.msaa"ti.
in breathing-out breathing-mindfulness / Rahula / development by meditation / cultivated / practised frequently / great fruit / is / great profit
The development of mindfulness on in and out breathing, Rahula, is of great fruit and profit."

  • bhaavitaa - (pp.) cultivated;
  • bahuliikataa - practised frequently (PED bahulii);
  • hoti - there is;
  • aanisa.msaa - that which is commendable, profit, merit, benefits;
  • [Comm.]: 'mahapphalaa' and 'mahaanisa.msaa' are synonyms for the case of this sutta.

[ Commentary ]

Thus have I heard. At one time the Blessed One stayed in the garden of Anathapindika, in Jeta's forest, near Savatthi. Then, when it was morning, the Blessed One, having dressed and taken his robe and bowl, entered Savatthi for alms. Venerable Rahula too, when it was morning, having dressed and taken his robe and bowl, followed the Blessed One closely from behind.

And then the Blessed One, looking back towards the venerable Rahula, addressed him: "Rahula, whatever form - past, future or present, internal or external, gross or subtle, base or exalted, whether it is far or near - all form should be seen as it is with right wisdom in such a way: "This is not mine, I am not this, this is not me"[1]."

"Form only, Blessed One? Form only, Sugata[2]?"

"Also feeling, apperception[3], determinations and consciousness, Rahula, as well as form."

Then the venerable Rahula thought, "Who indeed, after being personally exhorted by the Blessed One himself today, would go into the village for alms?" Turning back, he sat down at the foot of a certain tree, crossed his legs and, keeping his body upright, established mindfulness before him.

The venerable Sariputta saw the venerable Rahula seated at the foot of that tree, cross-legged and body upright with mindfulness established before him. Having seen the venerable Rahula, he addressed him: "Cultivate the development of mindfulness on in and out breathing, Rahula. The development of mindfulness on in and out breathing, Rahula, is of great fruit and profit."

[1] This verse is explained in MN28 Mahahatthipadopama Sutta (The Greater Discourse on the Elephant's Footprint).

[2] Sugata - frequent epithet of Buddha.
Common renderings:
I: emphasis on '-gata' - the Well-gone, the Well-farer (Rhys Davids, Woodward, Horner, Walshe, Norman. Most common PTS rendering);
II: emphasis on 'su-' - the Sublime One (Đanamoli), the Fortunate One (Bodhi), the Blissful One.

[3] apperception (sa˝˝aa): the mental process of discrimination and categorization of the sense impressions, resulting in their labeling. For example, the process in which the color of the visible object is designated as 'blue', 'yellow', or 'red'.

* The commentary, papa˝casuudanii, states why the Buddha explained to Rahula the meditation on rupa (because he was too attached to his body, attabhaava, and does not see things with insight wisdom), and why Sariputta explained to him aanaapaanasati (because he saw Rahula is already in sitting position and aanaapaanasati, mindfulness of breathing, is suitable for the sitting posture).

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