The Perfection of Truthfulness - Harita Jataka II

We read:

“The king, encouraging the recluse Harita

to make an effort to abandon his defilements,

spoke the seventh Stanza:

‘Lust arises in your body, and destroys your beauty

Abandon lustful excitement,

And you will prosper,

You will be praised by many for your wisdom.’ ”


When the Bodhisatta heard this,

he could regain his awareness and consider the danger in sense pleasures.

Thereupon he spoke the eighth Stanza:

“Sense pleasures are blinding,

they cause much suffering.

They injure gravely.

I shall look for the root of sensuousness,

I shall cut down lust with its bonds.”

The root of sensuous desire is unwise attention, ayoniso manasikara. Further on we read that the recluse developed samatha and could again attain jhana. He saw the danger of dwelling in an unsuitable place, that was the royal park. Therefore, he returned to the forest to be free from all taint of womankind. When he had come to the end of his life, he entered the Brahma plane.
The Buddha told this story in the Jeta Grove because of a discontented monk. When this monk saw a beautifully attired woman, defilements arose in him and he wanted to leave monkhood. When he was brought against his will to the Buddha by his teacher and preceptor, and the Buddha asked him whether it was true that he was a backslider, this monk said that it was true. Thereupon the Buddha said: ”Monk, defilements do not lead to happiness, they destroy good qualities, they cause rebirth in hell. Why should your defilements not cause your destruction? Why should a strong wind that strikes Mount Sineru not carry off a withered leaf? I myself, during the life I was the recluse Harita, had acquired the five supernatural powers and the eight attainments, and I strived after awakening wisdom. However, inspite of this, I was, because of this kind of defilement, unable to have awareness and I fell away from jhana.”
The Buddha taught this story so that we could see the disadvantage of akusala and the power of accumulated defilements.
We should reflect on what we read: “Why should a strong wind that strikes Mount Sineru not carry off a withered leaf?”
We all have defilements that are not yet eradicated and we are therefore not as steady as Mount Sineru, we are only like withered leaves, which are light and can be blown away by the wind, the wind of lobha, dosa and moha.
We read:

“When the Buddha had told the Harita Jataka,

he explained the Truths and after he had finished,

that monk attained the fruition of arahatship.”
Truthfulness is sincerity in the development of kusala to the degree of a  perfection. If there is no truthfulness, no sincerity in one’s actions, they cannot reach accomplishment. Sacca, truthfulness, is necessary for all kinds of kusala, be it dana, síla or mental development. One should not neglect the development of even the slightest degree of kusala.
If one develops the perfections in order to abandon defilements, one should notice also subtle defilements such as deceptive speech even with regard to small matters. If deceptive speech becomes someone’s habit, it will be easy to speak a lie and he will believe that it is not wrong to do so. If someone abstains from deceptive speech, if he is truthful, and acts in accordance with his promise, truthfulness will become natural to him. Then he is able to see the danger of akusala at the moment he tells a lie. Even deceptive speech concerning unimportant matters is akusala, but if someone accumulates deceptive speech all the time, he does not see its danger. Thus, we see that it is not easy to discern the characteristic of akusala. 


Topic 283