An Asura chieftain. The Saṃyutta Nikāya SN.i.49f. says that on one occasion when he seized the Moon god, and on another the Sun god, both these invoked the aid of the Buddha. The Buddha then instructed Rāhu to let them free. Rāhu immediately let them go and ran to Vepacitti, “trembling and with stiffened hair.” This incident evidently refers to the Indian myth of the eclipses, and the legend has been annexed by the Buddhists to illustrate the Buddha’s power and pity.
Elsewhere. AN.ii.17 Rāhu is spoken of as the chief of those possessing a large body.
The seizure of the Moon by Rāhu and the escape from him is often used as a simile. Snp.465 Rāhu is one of the four “stains” of the Sun and the Moon, preventing them from shining in all their glory.AN.ii.53 Vin.ii.295 He is further mentioned as one of the five causes of lack of rain. When he gathers water into his hands and spills it into the ocean, there is no rain. AN.iii.243
Rāhu is mentioned DN.ii.259 as being among the Asuras who were present at the Mahāsmaya and as blessing that assembly. In this context he is called Rāhubhadda. The name Rāhumukha is given to a form of torture. MN.i.87 MN.iii.164