Majjhima Nikaya


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Majjhima Nikāya
I. Mūlapaṇṇāsa
1. Mūlapariyāya Vagga

Sutta 7

Vatthūpama Suttaɱ

The Simile of the Cloth

Translated from the Pali by Sister Upalavanna

 


 

[1][chlm][pts][than][ntbb] I heard thus.

At one time the Blessed One lived in the monastery offered by Anathapindika in Jeta's grove in Savatthi

From there the Blessed One addressed the bhikkhus: 'O! Bhikkhus, just as an impure stained cloth when dyed into whatever colour, blue, yellow, red, or crimson, would take a bad hue and an impure colour because the cloth is impure and stained, in the same manner, bhikkhus, when the mind is defiled a bad state could be expected. Just as a pure unstained cloth when dyed into whatever colour, blue, yellow, red or crimson, it would take a pure colour and a bright hue, in the same manner, bhikkhus, when the mind is pure a good state could be expected.

'Bhikkhus, what are the minor defillements of the mind?

Covetousness is a defilement of the mind. Aversion is a defilement of the mind. Anger is a defilement of the mind. Ill will is a defilement of the mind. Contempt is a defilement of the mind. Mercilessness is a defilement of the mind. Jealousy is a defilement of the mind. Selfishness is a defilement of the mind. Hipocrisy is a defilement of the mind. Craftiness is a defilement of the mind. Stuborness is a defilement of the mind. Haughty talk is a defilement of the mind. Measuring is a defilelment of the mind. Conceit is a defilement of the mind. Intoxication is a defilement of the mind. Negligence is a defilement of the mind.

'Bhikkhus, the bhikkhu, knowing covetoussness as a defilement of the mind, dispels it; knowing aversion as a defilement of the mind dispels it; knowing anger as a defilelment of the mind dispels it; knowing ill will as a defilement of the mind dispels it; knowing contempt as a defilement of the mind dispels it; knowing mercilessness as a defilement of the mind dispels it; knowing jealousy as a defilement of the mind dispels it; knowing selfishness as a defilement of the mind dispels it; knowing hipocrisy as a defilement of the mind dispels it; knowing craftiness as a defilement of the mind dispels it; knowing stuborness as a defilement of the mind dispels it; knowing haughty talk as a defilement of the mind dispels it; knowing measuring as a defilement of the mind dispels it; knowing conceit as a defilement of the mind dispels it; knowing intoxication as a defilement of the mind, dispels it; knowing negligence as a defilement of the mind dispels it.

'He is endowed with unwavering faith in enlightenment: That Blessed One is worthy, rightfully enlightened, endowed with knowledge and conduct, well gone, knower of worlds, the incomparable tamer of those to be tamed, teacher of gods and men, enlightened and blessed.

'He is endowed with unwavering faith in the Teaching: The Blessed One's Teaching is well proclaimed, here and now, not a matter of time, inviting for inspection, leading beyond, for the wise to be realized by themselves.

'He is endowed with unwavering faith in the Community: The disciples of the Blessed One have fallen to the right path, the straightforward path, the wise path, and to the path of mutual understanding. They are the four pairs of the eight Great Men, the disciples of the Blessed One; worthy of offerings, hospitality, gifts; and reverential salutation, the highest field of merit for the world.

'When his mind is cleaned, released and established as far as the limit allows he, knowing, 'I have unwavering faith in enlightenment,' gains meanings in the Teaching and experiencs the Teaching, and joy arises; to the joyful there's delight. The delighted mind appeases the body. The appeased body feels pleasant. Of the pleasant, the mind concentrates. He, knowing, 'I have unwavering faith in the Teaching,' gains meanings in the Teaching and experiences the Teaching; and joy arises, to the joyful there's delight, the delighted mind appeases the body. The appeased body feels pleasant. Of the pleasant the mind concentrates. He knowing I have unwavering faith in the Community, gains meanings in the Teaching and experiences the Teaching, and joy arises, to the joyful there's delight, the delighted mind appeases the body. The appeased body feels pleasant. Of the pleasant the mind concentrates.

'As far as the limit goes my mind is cleaned, released, giving up is established, by that the Teaching has beccome meaningful and I experience the Teaching, and joy arise, to the joyful there's delight, the delighted mind appeases the body. The appeased body feels pleasant. Of the pleasant, the mind concentrates.

'O! Bhikkhus, if the bhikkhu with such virtues, thoughts, and wisdom were to partake of morsel food cooked out of fine rice with dark seeds picked, together with various soups and curries, there would not be any danger to him. Just as the impure stained cloth is cleaned with pure clean water, just as pure gold comes out of the furnace. Even so bhikkhus, if the bhikkhu with such virtues, thoughts and wisdom were to partake of morsel food cooked out of fine rice with dark seeds picked, together with various soups and curries, there would not be any danger to him.

'He abides pervading one direction with a mind of loving kindness, so too the second, third, fourth, above, below, across, always, for all purposes, he pervades the whole world with loving kindness, with a developed limitless mind without enmity and anger. He abides pervading one direction with a compassionate mind, so too the second, third, fourth, above, below, across, always, for all purposes, he pervades the whole world with compassion, with a developed, limitless mind without enmity and anger. He abides pervading one direction with intrinsic joy, so too the second, third, fourth, above, below, across, always, for all purposes, he pervades the whole world with intrinsic joy, with a developed limitless mind without enmity and anger. He abides pervading one direction with equanimity, so too the second, third, fourth, above, below, across, always, for all purposes, he pervades the whole world with a developed and limitless mind without enmity and anger.

'He knows, in this are unexalted and exalted states, there is a noble escape from this pereceptive sphere. When he knows and sees that, his mind seeks release from sensual desires, from desires to be, and from desires through ignorance. Knowledge arises, am released, birth is destroyed, the holy life is lived to the end, what should be done is done, there is nothing more to wish. Bhikkhus, to this is called internal cleaning.'

At that time the brahmin Sundarikabhāradvāja was sitting near the Blessed One, and asked, 'Does good Gotama go to Bāhuka river to bathe?'

'Brahmin, what is river Bāhuka, and what will it do?'

The brahmin said, 'Good Gotama, many people consider river Bāhuka is the release, River Bāhuka is meritorious. Many people wash off their demeritorious actions in river Bāhuka.'

Then the Blessed One addressed the brahmin Sundarikabhāradvāja in verses:

'River Bāhuka with many precious stones, rivers Gayā, Sundarikā,
And even Sarassatii, Payāga, and Bāhumathie
Fools may be forever submerged in these, but their dark actions will not be washed.
How could Sundarikā, Payāga, and Bāhuka help angry beings gone wrong?
Their evil actions will not be washed off.
The pure are always pure, to them every day is a sabbath day;
The pure with pure actions are always bound in virtues.
Brahmin, bathe here itself, develop loving kindness to all beings.
If you do not tell lies, do not hurt living things,
Do not take that not given, with faith become not selfish,
What could be done, gone to Gayā, may drink water there.'

When this was said the brahmin Sundarikabhāradvāja said thus to the Blessed One: 'Now I know good Gotama, It seems as though something over turned is re-installed, something covered is made manifest. It seems as though the path is told to someone who has lost his way. It seems as though a lamp is lighted for the darkness for those who have eyes to see forms. In various ways the Teaching is explained by good Gotama. Now I take refuge in good Gotama, in the Teaching and the Community. May I gain the going forth and the higher ordination.

The brahmin Sundarikabhāradvāja obtained the going forth and the higher ordination. Soon after the higher ordination, venerable Bhāradvāja, withdrawn from the crowd, abode alone and secluded, diligent for dispelling. Before long, for whatever purpose sons of clansmen go forth from the household and lead the holy life, that highest end of the holy life he realized and knew for himselff here and now: 'Birth is destroyed, the holy life is lived, what should be done is done, there is nothing more to wish.' Venerable Bhāradvāja became one of the noble ones.


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