Lesson 3.3.7: Ambalaṭṭhikarāhulovādasuttaṃ (How to Train Oneself and to Confess Shortcomings to One's Elders – part two)
Introduction to 3.3.7
(How to Train Oneself and to Confess Shortcomings to One`s Elders – part two)
The Buddha’s instruction to reflect on one’s intention in a threefold way with regard to all actions of body, speech and mind: - ……paccavekkhitvā paccavekkhitvā kāyena kammaṃ kattabbaṃ, paccavekkhitvā paccavekkhitvā vācāya kammaṃ kattabbaṃ, paccavekkhitvā paccavekkhitvā manasā kammaṃ kattabbaṃ……1 - under the threefold perspective whether it may lead to any harm what so ever for oneself, for others or oneself and others at the same time: - ……attabyābādhāyapi saṃvatteyya, parabyābādhāyapi saṃvatteyya, ubhayabyābādhāyapi saṃvatteyya…… - is in itself an extremely beneficial practice that should be applied by each and every one.
This reflection should not only be applied towards the threefold action of body, speech and mind of any present conduct but also be established as a wholesome and solid foundation for any given future comportment: - ……karontenapi te, rāhula, kāyena kammaṃ…… - ……kammaṃ kattukāmo…… - ……katvāpi te, rāhula, kāyena kammaṃ…… - and should also be applied to what one has done in the past. Thus it will provide a healthy base for what may be called confession of one's sins.
This practice of confession of one’s sins follows an ancient procedure – rather than faithfully relying on forgiveness of outside mercy – which is based on deep insight into one’s own weakness and faults and results in upright and determined resolution bound by an open declaration of avoiding such like actions in the future: "Kathañcānanda, paṭiññātakaraṇaṃ2 hoti? Idhānanda, bhikkhu codito3 vā acodito vā āpattiṃ4 sarati, vivarati5 uttānīkaroti6. Tena, ānanda, bhikkhunā vuḍḍhataraṃ bhikkhuṃ upasaṅkamitvā ekaṃsaṃ cīvaraṃ katvā pāde vanditvā ukkuṭikaṃ7 nisīditvā añjaliṃ paggahetvā evamassa vacanīyo – ‘ahaṃ, bhante, itthannāmaṃ8 āpattiṃ āpanno, taṃ paṭidesemī9’ti. So evamāha – ‘passasī’ti? ‘Āma passāmī’ti. ‘Āyatiṃ saṃvareyyāsī’ti. ‘Saṃvarissāmī’ti. Evaṃ kho, ānanda, paṭiññātakaraṇaṃ hoti."10 - “What, O’Ānanda is the act of acknowledgement? Here, Ānanda a Bhikkhu, rebuked or on his own account remembers an offence, lays it open and reveals it. Here, Ānanda, the Bhikkhu should approach his senior Bhikkhu and with his robe arranged on one shoulder, having expressed his respects by kneeling down at the feet, and then stretching forth his folded hands should speak thus: ‘Bhante, I have committed such and such an offence, I do confess it!’ The Senior then says: ‘Do you see it?’ ‘Yes, I see it’ ‘Will you refrain therefrom in future?’ Yes, I will refrain!’ This, O’Ānanda is the act of acknowledgement!”
The Buddha concludes the Ambalaṭṭhikarāhulovādasuttaṃ by mentioning that this procedure of purifying bodily actions, verbal actions and mental actions has been the sacred and ancient practice of all saints in the past, of present times and will remain the wholesome practice of all saints in future:
“Ye hi keci, rāhula, atītamaddhānaṃ samaṇā vā brāhmaṇā vā kāyakammaṃ parisodhesuṃ, vacīkammaṃ parisodhesuṃ, manokammaṃ parisodhesuṃ, …… Yepi hi keci, rāhula, anāgatamaddhānaṃ samaṇā vā brāhmaṇā vā ……Yepi hi keci, rāhula, etarahi samaṇā vā brāhmaṇā vā kāyakammaṃ parisodhenti, vacīkammaṃ parisodhenti, manokammaṃ parisodhenti, sabbe te evamevaṃ paccavekkhitvā paccavekkhitvā kāyakammaṃ parisodhenti, paccavekkhitvā paccavekkhitvā vacīkammaṃ parisodhenti, paccavekkhitvā paccavekkhitvā manokammaṃ parisodhenti.”11
May this beneficial advice bear its fruit even today to anyone who tries to put it into practice!
 Please refer to the vocabulary for the lesson
 paṭiññātakaraṇaṃ: paṭiññāta + karaṇaṃ: admitted, acknowledged + act
 codeti: (pp.) exhort; rebuke, reprove, complain
 āpatti: offence, crime, sin
 vivarati: uncover
 ukkuṭiko: kneeling down
 itthannāmaṃ: ittha + n + nāmaṃ: thus + named: such and such like
 Majjhimanikāye, Uparipaṇṇāsapāḷi, Devadahavaggo, Sāmagāmasuttaṃ
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