Angulimala and Intentional Lying

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Angulimala and Intentional Lying

Postby sharath_chandra » Sun Aug 11, 2013 3:12 am

In the story of Angulimala as translated and interpreted by Ven.Thanissaro Bhikkhu ( http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html ) the following incident has been narrated :

Then Ven. Angulimala, early in the morning, having put on his robes and carrying his outer robe & bowl, went into Savatthi for alms. As he was going from house to house for alms, he saw a woman suffering a breech birth. On seeing her, the thought occurred to him: "How tormented are living beings! How tormented are living beings!" Then, having wandered for alms in Savatthi and returning from his alms round after his meal, he went to the Blessed One. On arrival, having bowed down to him, he sat to one side. As he was sitting there he said to the Blessed One, "Just now, lord, early in the morning, having put on my robes and carrying my outer robe & bowl, I went into Savatthi for alms. As I was going from house to house for alms, I saw a woman suffering a breech birth. On seeing her, the thought occurred to me: 'How tormented are living beings! How tormented are living beings!'"

"In that case, Angulimala, go to that woman and on arrival say to her, 'Sister, since I was born I do not recall intentionally killing a living being. Through this truth may there be wellbeing for you, wellbeing for your fetus.'"

"But, lord, wouldn't that be a lie for me? For I have intentionally killed many living beings."

"Then in that case, Angulimala, go to that woman and on arrival say to her, 'Sister, since I was born in the noble birth, I do not recall intentionally killing a living being. Through this truth may there be wellbeing for you, wellbeing for your fetus.'"

Responding, "As you say, lord," to the Blessed One, Angulimala went to that woman and on arrival said to her, "Sister, since I was born in the noble birth, I do not recall intentionally killing a living being. Through this may there be wellbeing for you, wellbeing for your fetus." And there was wellbeing for the woman, wellbeing for her fetus.

My humble question is:

Though Angulimala confessed to Buddha to having willfully killed many living beings, Buddha persists and asks Angulimala to back to the woman and make a statement which is not true. ( The only difference from the previous statement is that the words 'noble birth' being added). Yet on hearing this, the woman and the child were saved.

What exactly has transpired here?
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Re: Angulimala and Intentional Lying

Postby barcsimalsi » Sun Aug 11, 2013 3:42 am

I heard this explanation from one of Bhante Dhammavuddho's talks but forgot which one is it. His explanation on "since noble birth" means from the time a person attained fruition of the path.
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Re: Angulimala and Intentional Lying

Postby santa100 » Sun Aug 11, 2013 4:14 am

From Piya Tan's note ( http://dharmafarer.org/wordpress/wp-con ... 6-piya.pdf ):
"sister, since I was born,” yato’ham bhagini jato. Here the Buddha is actually referring to Angulimala’s
spiritual birth, but Angulimala, not yet an arahant, still recalling his past violence, misunderstood. In reply, the Buddha then refers to “birth amongst the noble ones” (ariyaya jatiya).
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Re: Angulimala and Intentional Lying

Postby Cittasanto » Sun Aug 11, 2013 9:51 am

The Buddha isn't asking him to lie, but declare the truth. Angulimala did kill and the original phasing was wrong on account of that (because birth could have been understood as the start of that very life), however, as Angulimala was now a "noble one" the clarification of "noble birth" indicates since the moment he became one of the noble ones.
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