Preached by the Buddha at Ambalatthikā (near Veluvana) to Rāhula. It deals with falsehood. Like a minute drop of water is the recluse ship of those who shrink not from deliberate lying, it is thrown away, upset; it is empty and void. There is nothing evil they will not do, they run every risk, like an elephant who guards not his trunk. One should practise constant reflection, thereby abandoning all things conducive to woe, either to oneself or to others, and develop self-control and purity (M.i.414-20). Rāhula was evidently yet very young at the time of this sermon, for we find the Buddha making use of frequent similes, and pointing them out to him. According to the Cy., he was at the time only 7 years old (MA. ii. 636).
The Commentary says that it was preached because very young novices might be tempted to say things both proper and improper; they were likely to imagine things. This sutta is to warn Rāhula against the use of lies (MA.ii.635f.; AA.i.145; ii.547).
The Ambalatthika-Rāhulovāda Sutta is among the portions of scripture mentioned in the Bhābrā Edict of Asoka as being essentially worthy of study by all monks (See Mookerji: Asoka, p.119) (v.l. Ambalatthiya°).