THE SIMILE OF THE CLOTH
This discourse of the Buddha -- the seventh in the Collection of
Middle Length Texts (Majjhima Nikaya) -- deals first with a set of
sixteen defilements of the human mind; and in its second part, with
the disciple's progress to the highest goal of Arahatship, which can
be achieved if -- and only if -- these impurities are gradually
reduced and finally eliminated. While there are also defilements of
//insight// which must be removed for the attainment of the goal, the
sixteen defilements dealt with here are all of an //ethical// nature
and are concerned with man's //social behaviour//. Only the last of
these sixteen, negligence, may also refer to purely personal concerns
as well as to one's relations with others.
A glance through the list (see Note 2) will show that all these
sixteen defilements derive from greediness and selfishness, from
aversion, self-assertion and conceit, or their combinations. If we
take, for instance, contempt, being a weaker nuance of (5)
denigration, we see that aversion and conceit contribute to it; (7)
envy is fed by greediness and aversion. The pairs of contributive
factors here exemplified do not, of course, occur at the same moment
of consciousness; but their repeated, separate presence favours the
arising of such derivatives as contempt and envy. On the other hand,
if those secondary defilements such as contempt and envy (and all the
others) appear frequently, they will bring about a close serial
association of their "feeders," as for instance hate motivated by
conceit, or hate motivated by greed; and these may easily become
habitual sequences, automatic chain reactions in our impulsive life.
Interlocked in such a manner, the negative forces in our mind --
the defilements, roots of evil, and fetters -- will become more
powerful and much more difficult to dislodge. They will form "closed
systems" hard to penetrate, covering ever larger areas of our mind.
What may first have been isolated occurrences of unwholesome thoughts
and acts, will grow into hardened traits of character productive of an
unhappy destiny in future lives (see Discourse Sec. 2). And in all
these grave consequences, the secondary or derivative defilements have
a great share. Hence it is of vital importance that we do not fall
victim to the last in the list of those defilements -- negligence --
and are not negligent in watchfulness and self-control.
"Out of regard for your own good, it is proper to
strive with heedfulness; out of regard for others'
good, it is proper to strive with heedfulness; out
of regard for your own and others' good, it is
proper to strive with heedfulness."
(Nidana Samy., No. 22)
As to "others' good," how much more pleasant and harmonious will
be human relations, individual and communal, if there is less
pettiness and peevishness, fewer vanities and jealousies, and less
self-assertiveness in words and deeds! As already remarked: if these
minor blemishes are reduced, the larger and more serious defilements
will have fewer opportunities. How often do deadly conflicts and deep
involvement in guilt arise from petty but unresolved resentments!
The composition of our list of defilements alone makes it clear
that the Buddha was well aware of the social impact of these
impurities; and the structure of the discourse shows that he regarded
the removal of these defilements as an integral part of the mental
training aiming at deliverance. Hence we may summarise this part of
the discourse by saying that //our social conduct strongly affects the
chances of our spiritual progress//.
The nature of that influence is illustrated by the simile of the
cloth. If the texture of our mind is tarnished by blemishes in our
social behaviour, "the new colouring" of //higher mentality//
(//adhicitta//) and //higher wisdom// (//adhipanna//) cannot
penetrate. The stains that soil the single strands of thought will
show through the superficial colouring; and besides, the impure matter
win reduce the porosity of the tissue, i.e. the receptivity of our
mind, and thus prevent full absorption of any results gained in
meditation or understanding. Through the accumulating "waste products"
of uninhibited defilements, a mental atmosphere is created that
resists any depth penetration of spiritual forces and values.
First, in accordance with the method of Satipatthana, right
mindfulness, the presence of the defilements in one's behaviour has to
be clearly noticed and honestly acknowledged, without attempts at
evasion, at minimizing or self-justification, for instance, by giving
them more "respectable names. This is what is implied in the words of
the discourse: "//Knowing// (the respective blemish) to be a
defilement of the mind . . . " Such knowledge by itself may often
discourage the recurrence of the defilements or weaken the strength of
their manifestations. According to the Buddhist Teachers of Old (see
Note 4, para. 1), this knowledge should be extended to the nature of
the defilements, the causes and circumstances of their arising, their
cessation, and the means of effecting their cessation. This is an
example of how to apply to an actual situation the formula of the Four
Noble Truths as embodied in the contemplation of mind-objects
(//dhammanupassana//) of the Satipatthana Sutta. Another example is
the application of the four truths to higher states of mind, the
Divine Abidings, for the purpose of developing insight (Sec. 13 and
notes 13, 14).
When the Noble Disciple, on attaining to one of the higher paths,
sees himself freed from the defilements, deep joy will arise in him,
enthusiasm for the goal and the way, and an unshakable confidence in
the Triple Gem. So says our text (Sec. 6-10). But a foretaste of all
these fruits and blessings can already be gained by him who has
succeeded in noticeably weakening and reducing the defilements. Such
enthusiasm and strengthened confidence, being derived from his
personal experience, will be of great value to him, adding wings to
his further progress. To the extent of his experience, he will have
verified for himself the virtues of the Dhamma:
"Well proclaimed by the Blessed One is the Dhamma,
realisable here and now, possessed of immediate
result, bidding you come and see, accessible, and
knowable individually by the wise."
For rendering this discourse, use has been made chiefly of the
translation by the Venerable Nanamoli Thera (from an unpublished
manuscript), and also of the translations by the Venerable Soma Thera
and I. B. Horner. Grateful acknowledgement is offered to these able
translators. For some key passages, however, the Editor decided to use
his own version, partly for the reason of conformity with the
commentarial explanations. The Notes have been supplied by the Editor.
In these Notes, it was thought desirable to furnish the commentarial
references supporting the renderings chosen, and in these cases the
inclusion of Pali words was unavoidable. But an effort has been made
to make these notes intelligible and helpful to readers who are not
familiar with the Pali language as well.
The Simile of the Cloth
1. Thus have I heard. Once the Blessed One was staying at
Savatthi, in Jeta's Grove, Anathapindika's monastery. There he
addressed the monks thus: "Monks." -- "Venerable sir," they replied.
The Blessed One said this:
2. "Monks, suppose a cloth were stained and dirty, and a dyer
dipped it in some dye or other, whether blue or yellow or red or pink,
it would take the dye badly and be impure in colour. And why is that?
Because the cloth was not clean. So too, monks, when the mind is
defiled, an unhappy destination (in a future existence) may be
"Monks, suppose a cloth were clean and bright, and a dyer dipped
it in some dye or other, whether blue or yellow or red or pink, it
would take the dye well and be pure in colour. And why is that?
Because the cloth was clean. So too, monks, when the mind is
undefiled, a happy destination (in a future existence) may be
3. "And what, monks, are the defilements of the mind? (1)
Covetousness and unrighteous greed are a defilement of the
mind; (2) ill will is a defilement of the mind; (3) anger is
a defilement of the mind; (4) hostility..... (5) denigration
. . . (6) domineering . . . (7) envy..... (8) jealousy . . .
(9) hypocrisy . . . (10) fraud..... (11) obstinacy . . .
(12) presumption..... (13) conceit . . . (14) arrogance . .
. (15) vanity . . . (16) negligence is a defilement of the
4. "Knowing, monks, covetousness and unrighteous greed to be a
defilement of the mind, the monk abandons them. Knowing ill will to
be a defilement of the mind, he abandons it. Knowing anger to be a
defilement of the mind, he abandons it. Knowing hostility to be a
defilement of the mind, he abandons it. Knowing denigration to be a
defilement of the mind, he abandons it. Knowing domineering to be a
defilement of the mind, he abandons it. Knowing envy to be a
defilement of the mind, he abandons it. Knowing jealousy to be a
defilement of the mind, he abandons it. Knowing hypocrisy to be a
defilement of the mind, he abandons it. Knowing fraud to be a
defilement of the mind, he abandons it. Knowing obstinacy to be a
defilement of the mind, he abandons it. Knowing presumption to be a
defilement of the mind, he abandons it. Knowing conceit to be a
defilement of the mind, he abandons it. Knowing arrogance to be a
defilement of the mind, he abandons it. Knowing vanity to be a
defilement of the mind, he abandons it. Knowing negligence to be a
defilement of the mind, he abandons it.
5. "When in the monk who thus knows that covetousness and
unrighteous greed are a defilement of the mind, this covetousness and
unrighteous greed have been abandoned; when in him who thus knows that
ill will is a defilement of the mind, this ill will has been
abandoned; . . . when in him who thus knows that negligence is a
defilement of the mind, this negligence has been abandoned -- 
6. -- he thereupon gains unwavering confidence in the Buddha
thus: 'Thus indeed is the Blessed One: he is accomplished, fully
enlightened, endowed with (clear) vision and (virtuous) conduct,
sublime, knower of the worlds, the incomparable guide of men who are
tractable, the teacher of gods and men, enlightened and blessed.'
7. -- he gains unwavering confidence in the Dhamma thus: 'Well
proclaimed by the Blessed One is the Dhamma, realisable here and now,
possessed of immediate result, bidding you come and see, accessible
and knowable individually by the wise.
8. -- he gains unwavering confidence in the Sangha thus: 'The
Sangha of the Blessed One's disciples has entered on the good way, has
entered on the straight way, has entered on the true way, has entered
on the proper way; that is to say, the four pairs of men, the eight
types of persons; this Sangha of the Blessed One's disciples is worthy
of gifts, worthy of hospitality, worthy of offerings, worthy of
reverential salutation, the incomparable field of merit for the
9. "When he has given up, renounced, let go, abandoned and
relinquished (the defilements) in part, he knows: 'I am endowed
with unwavering confidence in the Buddha . . . in the Dhamma . . . in
the Sangha; and he gains enthusiasm for the goal, gains enthusiasm for
the Dhamma, gains gladness connected with the Dhamma. When he is
gladdened, joy is born in him; being joyous in mind, his body becomes
tranquil; his body being tranquil, he feels happiness; and the mind of
him who is happy becomes concentrated.
10. "He knows: 'I have given up, renounced, let go, abandoned and
relinquished (the defilements) in part'; and he gains enthusiasm for
the goal, gains enthusiasm for the Dhamma, gains gladness connected
with the Dhamma. When he is gladdened, joy is born in him; being
joyous in mind, his body becomes tranquil; when his body is tranquil,
he feels happiness; and the mind of him who is happy becomes
11. "If, monks, a monk of such virtue, such concentration and such
wisdom eats almsfood consisting of choice hill-rice together with
various sauces and curries, even that will be no obstacle for him.
"Just as cloth that is stained and dirty becomes clean and bright
with the help of pure water, or just as gold becomes clean and bright
with the help of a furnace, so too, if a monk of such virtue, such
concentration and such wisdom eats almsfood consisting of choice
hill-rice together with various sauces and curries, even that will be
no obstacle for him.
12. "He abides, having suffused with a mind of loving-kindness
 one direction of the world, likewise the second, likewise the
third, likewise the fourth, and so above, below, around and
everywhere, and to all as to himself; he abides suffusing the entire
universe with loving-kindness, with a mind grown great, lofty,
boundless and free from enmity and ill will.
"He abides, having suffused with a mind of compassion . . . of
sympathetic joy . . . of equanimity one direction of the world,
likewise the second, likewise the third, likewise the fourth, and so
above, below, around and everywhere, and to all as to himself; he
abides suffusing the entire universe with equanimity, with a mind
grown great, lofty, boundless and free from enmity and ill will.
13. "He understands what exists, what is low, what is
excellent, and what escape there is from this (whole) field of
14. "When he knows and sees  in this way, his mind becomes
liberated from the canker of sensual desire, liberated from the canker
of becoming, liberated from the canker of ignorance.  When
liberated, there is knowledge: 'It is liberated'; and he knows:
'Birth is exhausted, the life of purity has been lived, the task is
done, there is no more of this to come.' Such a monk is called 'one
bathed with the inner bathing." 
15. Now at that time the brahmin Sundarika Bharadvaja  was
seated not far from the Blessed One, and he spoke to the Blessed One
thus: "But does Master Gotama go to the Bahuka River to bathe?"
"What good, brahmin, is the Bahuka River? What can the Bahuka
"Truly, Master Gotama, many people believe that the Bahuka River
gives purification, many people believe that the Bahuka River gives
merit. For in the Bahuka River many people wash away the evil deeds
they have done."
16. Then the Blessed One addressed the brahmin Sundarika
Bharadvaja in these stanzas: 
"Bahuka and Adhikakka,
Gaya and Sundarika, Payaga and Sarassati,
And the stream Bahumati --
A fool may there forever bathe,
Yet will not purify his black deeds.
What can Sundarika bring to pass?
What can the Payaga and the Bahuka?
They cannot purify an evil-doer,
A man performing brutal and cruel acts.
One pure in heart has evermore
The Feast of Cleansing and the Holy Day;
One pure in heart who does good deeds
Has his observances perfect for all times.
It is here, O brahmin, that you should bathe
To make yourself a safe refuge for all beings.
And if you speak no untruth,
Nor work any harm for breathing things,
Nor take what is not offered,
With faith and with no avarice,
To Gaya gone, what would it do for you?
Let any well your Gaya be!"
17. When this was said, the brahmin Sundarika Bharadvaja spoke
"Magnificent, Master Gotama, magnificent, Master Gotama! The
Dhamma has been made clear in many ways by Master Gotama, as though he
were righting the overthrown, revealing the hidden, showing the way to
one who is lost, or holding up a lamp in the dark for those with
eyesight to see forms.
18. "I go to Master Gotama for refuge, and to the Dhamma, and to
the Sangha. May I receive the (first ordination of) going forth under
Master Gotama, may I receive the full admission!
19. And the brahmin Sundarika Bharadvaja received the (first
ordination of) going forth under the Blessed One, and he received the
full admission. And not long after his full admission, dwelling alone,
secluded, diligent, ardent and resolute, the venerable Bharadvaja by
his own realisation understood and attained in this very life that
supreme goal of the pure life, for which men of good family go forth
from home life into homelessness. And he had direct knowledge thus:
"Birth is exhausted, the pure life has been lived, the task is done,
there is no more of this to come."
And the venerable Bharadvaja became one of the Arahats.
1. "//So too, monks, if the mind is defiled . . .//" Comy: "It may be
asked why the Buddha had given this simile of the soiled cloth.
He did so to show that effort brings great results. A cloth
soiled by dirt that is adventitious (i.e. comes from outside;
//agantukehi malehi//), if it is washed can again become clean
because of the cloth's natural purity. But in the case of what is
naturally black, as for instance (black) goat's fur, any effort
(of washing it) will be in vain. Similarly, the mind too is
soiled by adventitious defilements (//agantukehi kilesehi//). But
originally, at the phases of rebirth(-consciousness) and the
(sub-conscious) life-continuum, it is pure throughout (//pakatiya
pana sakale pi patisandhi-bhavanga-vare pandaram eva//). As it
was said (by the Enlightened One): 'This mind, monks, is
luminous, but it becomes soiled by adventitious defilements'
(Anguttara Nikaya I). But by cleansing it one can make it more
luminous, and effort therein is not in vain."
2. "//Defilements of the mind//" (//cittassa upakkilesa//). Comy.:
"When explaining the mental defilements, why did the Blessed One
mention greed first? Because it arises first. For with all beings
wherever they arise, up to the level of the (Brahma heaven of
the) Pure Abodes, it is first greed that arises by way of lust
for existence (//bhava-nikanti//). Then the other defilements
will appear, being produced according to circumstances. The
defilements of mind, however, are not limited to the sixteen
mentioned in this discourse. But one should understand that, by
indicating here the method, all defilements are included."
Sub.Comy. mentions the following additional defilements: fear,
cowardice, shamelessness and lack of scruples, insatiability,
evil ambitions, etc.
3. The Sixteen Defilements of Mind
1. //abhijjha-visama-lobha//, covetousness and unrighteous greed
2. //byapada//, ill will
3. //kodha//, anger
4. //upanaha//, hostility or malice
5. //makkha//, denigration or detraction; contempt
6. //palasa//, domineering or presumption
7. //issa//, envy
8. //macchariya//, jealousy, or avarice; selfishness
9. //maya//, hypocrisy or deceit
10. //satheyya//, fraud
11. //thambha//, obstinacy, obduracy
12. //sarambha//, presumption or rivalry; impetuosity
13. //mana//, conceit
14. //atimana//, arrogance, haughtiness
15. //mada//, vanity or pride
16. //pamada//, negligence or heedlessness; in social behaviour,
this leads to lack of consideration.
The defilements (3) to (16) appear frequently as a group in
the discourses, e.g. in Majjh. 3; while in Majjh. 8 (reproduced
in this publication) No. 15 is omitted. A list of seventeen
defilements appears regularly in each last discourse of Books 3
to 11 of the Anguttara Nikaya, which carry the title
//Ragapeyyala//, the Repetitive Text on Greed (etc.). In these
texts of the Anguttara Nikaya, the first two defilements in the
above list are called greed (//lobha//) and hate (//dosa//), to
which delusion (//moha//) is added; all the fourteen other
defilements are identical with the above list.
4. "//Knowing covetousness and unrighteous greed to be a defilement of
the mind, the monk abandons them.//"
//Knowing// (//viditva//). Sub.Comy.: "Having known it either
through the incipient wisdom (//pubbabhaga-panna// of the
worldling, i.e. before attaining to Stream-entry) or through the
wisdom of the two lower paths (Stream-entry and Once-returning).
He knows the defilements as to their nature, cause, cessation and
means of effecting cessation." This application of the formula of
the Four Noble Truths to the defilements deserves close
//Abandons them// (//pajahati//). Comy.: "He abandons the
respective defilement through (his attainment of) the noble path
where there is 'abandoning by eradication'
(//samucchedappahana-vasena ariya-maggena//)," which according to
Sub.Comy. is the "final abandoning" (//accantappahana//). Before
the attainment of the noble paths, all "abandoning" of
defilements is of a temporary nature. See Nyanatiloka Thera,
//Buddhist Dictionary//, s. v. //pahana//.
According to the Comy., the sixteen defilements are finally
abandoned by the noble paths (or stages of sanctity) in the
"By the //path of Stream-entry// (//sotapatti-magga//) are
abandoned: (5) denigration, (6) domineering, (7) envy, (8)
jealousy, (9) hypocrisy, (10) fraud.
"//By the path of Non-returning// (//anagami-magga//): (2) ill
will, (3) anger, (4) malice, (16) negligence.
"//By the path of Arahatship// (//arahatta-magga//): (1)
covetousness and unrighteous greed, (11) obstinacy, (12)
presumption, (13) conceit, (14) arrogance, (15) vanity."
If, in the last group of terms, covetousness is taken in a
restricted sense as referring only to the craving for the five
sense objects, it is finally abandoned by the path of
Non-returning; and this is according to Comy. the meaning
intended here. All greed, however, including the hankering after
fine material and immaterial existence, is eradicated only on the
path of Arahatship; hence the classification under the latter in
the list above.
Comy. repeatedly stresses that wherever in our text
"abandoning" is mentioned, reference is to the Non-returner
(//anagami//); for also in the case of defilements overcome on
Stream-entry (see above), the states of mind which produce those
defilements are eliminated only by the path of Non-returning.
5. Comy. emphasizes the connection of this paragraph with the
following, saying that the statements on each of the sixteen
defilements should be connected with the next' paragraphs, e.g.
"when in him . . . ill will has been abandoned, he thereupon
gains unwavering confidence . . . " Hence the grammatical
construction of the original Pali passage -- though rather
awkward in English -- has been retained in this translation.
The disciple's direct experience of being freed of this or
that defilement becomes for him a living test of his former still
imperfectly proven trust in the Buddha, Dhamma and Sangha. Now
this trust has become a firm conviction, an unshakable
confidence, based on experience.
6. "//Unwavering confidence//" (//aveccappasada//). Comy.: "unshakable
and immutable trust." Confidence of that nature is not attained
before Stream-entry because only at that stage is the fetter of
sceptical doubt (//vicikiccha-samyojana//) finally eliminated.
Unwavering confidence in the Buddha, Dhamma and Sangha are three
of four characteristic qualities of a Stream-winner
(//sotapannassa angani//); the fourth is unbroken morality, which
may be taken to be implied in Sec. 9 of our discourse referring
to the relinquishment of the defilements.
7. "//When he has given up . . . (the defilements) in part//"
(//yatodhi//): that is, to the extent to which the respective
defilements are eliminated by the paths of sanctitude (see Note
4). //Odhi//: limit, limitation. //yatodhi// = //yato odhi//;
another reading: //yathodhi// = //yatha-odhi//.
Bhikkhu Nanamoli translates this paragraph thus: "And whatever
(from among those imperfections) has, according to the limitation
(set by whichever of the first three paths he has attained), been
given up, has been (forever) dropped, let go, abandoned,
In the //Vibhanga// of the Abhidhamma Pitaka, we read in the
chapter //Jhana-vibhanga//: "He is a bhikkhu because he has
abandoned defilements limitedly; or because he has abandoned
defilements without limitation" (//odhiso kilesanam pahana
bhikkhu; anodhiso kilesanam pahana bhikkhu//).
8. "//Gains enthusiasm for the goal, gains enthusiasm for the
Dhamma//" (//labhati atthavedam labhati dhammavedam//).
Comy.: "When reviewing (//paccavekkhato//)* the abandonment
of the defilements and his unwavering confidence, strong joy
arises in the Non-returner in the thought: 'Such and such
defilements are now abandoned by me.' It is like the joy of a
king who learns that a rebellion in the frontier region has been
*["Reviewing" (//paccavekkhana//) is a commentarial term, but
is derived, apart from actual meditative experience, from close
scrutiny of sutta passages like our present one. "Reviewing" may
occur immediately after attainment of the jhanas or the paths and
fruitions (e.g. the last sentence of Sec. 14), or as a reviewing
of the defilements abandoned (as in Sec. 10) or those remaining.
See //Visuddhimagga//, transl. by Nanamoli, p. 789.]
Enthusiasm (//veda//). According to Comy., the word veda
occurs in the Pali texts with three connotations: 1. (Vedic)
scripture (//gantha//), 2. joy (//somanassa//), 3. knowledge
(//nana//). "Here it signifies joy and the knowledge connected
with that joy."
//Attha// (rendered here as "goal") and //dhamma// are a
frequently occurring pair of terms obviously intended to
supplement each other. Often they mean letter (//dhamma//) and
spirit (or meaning: //attha//) of the doctrine; but this hardly
fits here. These two terms occur also among the four kinds of
analytic knowledge (//patisambhida-nana//; or knowledge of
doctrinal discrimination). //Attha-patisambhida// is explained as
the discriminative knowledge of "the result of a cause"; while
//dhamma-patisambhida// is concerned with the cause or condition.
The Comy. applies now the same interpretation to our present
textual passage, saying: "//Attha-veda// is the enthusiasm arisen
in him who reviews his unwavering confidence; //dhamma-veda// is
the enthusiasm arisen in him who reviews 'the abandonment of the
defilement in part,' which is the cause of that unwavering
confidence . . . " Hence the two terms refer to "the joy that has
as its object the unwavering confidence in the Buddha, and so
forth; and the joy inherent in the knowledge (of the abandonment;
Our rendering of attha (Skt.://artha//) b; "goal" is supported
by Comy.: "The unwavering confidence is called //attha// because
it has to be reached (//araniyato//), i.e. to be approached
(//upagantabbato//)," in the sense of a limited goal, or
Cf. Ang 5:10: //tasmim dhamme attha-patisamvedi ca hoti
dhammapatisamvedi ca; tassa atthapatisamvedino
dhammapatisamvedino pamojjam jayati . . .// This text continues,
as our present discourse does, with the arising of joy (or
rapture; //piti//) from gladness (//pamojja//). //Attha// and
//dhamma// refer here to the meaning and text of the Buddha word.
9. The Pali equivalents for this series of terms* are: 1. //pamojja//
(gladness), 2. //piti// (joy or rapture), 3. //passaddhi//
(tranquillity), 4. //sukha// (happiness), 5. //samadhi//
(concentration). Nos. 2, 3, 5 are factors of enlightenment
(//bojjhanga//). The function of tranquillity is here the calming
of any slight bodily and mental unrest resulting from rapturous
joy, and so transforming the latter into serene happiness
followed by meditative absorption. This frequently occurring
passage illustrates the importance given in the Buddha's Teaching
to happiness as a necessary condition for the attainment of
concentration and of spiritual progress in general.
* [Here the noun forms are given, while the original has, in some
cases, the verbal forms.]
10. "//Of such virtue, such concentration, such wisdom//" (//evam-silo
evam-dhammo evam-panno//). Comy.: "This refers to the (three)
parts (of the Noble Eightfold Path), namely, virtue,
concentration and wisdom (//sila-//, //samadhi-//,
//panna-kkhandha//), associated (here) with the path of
Non-returning." Comy. merely refers dhammo to the path-category
of concentration (//samadhi-kkhandha//). Sub.Comy. quotes a
parallel passage "//evam-dhamma ti Bhagavanto ahesum//," found in
the Mahapadana Sutta (Digha 15), the Acchariya-abbhutadhamma
Sutta (Majjh. 123), and the Nalanda Sutta of the Satipatthana
Samyutta. The Digha Comy. explains //samadhi-pakkha-dhamma// as
"mental states belonging to concentration."
11. "//No obstacle//," i.e. for the attainment of the path and
fruition (of Arahatship), says Comy. For a Non-returner who has
eliminated the fetter of sense-desire, there is no attachment to
12. "//With a mind of Loving-kindness//" (//metta-sahagatena
cetasa//). This, and the following, refer to the four Divine
Abidings (//brahma-vihara//). On these see Wheel Nos. 6 and 7.
13. "//He understands what exists, what is low, what is excellent//"
(//so 'atthi idam atthi hinam atthi panitam . . . ' pajanati//).
Comy.: "Having shown the Non-returner's meditation on the
Divine Abidings, the Blessed One now shows his practice of
insight (//vipassana//), aiming at Arahatship; and he indicates
his attainment of it by the words: 'He understands what exists,'
etc. This Non-returner, having arisen from the meditation on any
of the four Divine Abidings, defines as 'mind' (//nama//) those
very states of the Divine Abidings and the mental factors
associated with them. He then defines as 'matter' (//rupa//) the
heart base (//hadaya-vatthu//) being the physical support (of
mind) and the four elements which, on their part, are the support
of the heart base. In that way he defines as 'matter' the
elements and corporeal phenomena derived from them
(//bhutupadayadhamma//). When defining 'mind and matter' in this
manner, '//he understands what exists//' (//atthi idan'ti//; lit.
'There is this'). Hereby a definition of the truth of suffering
has been given."
"Then, in comprehending the origin of that suffering, he
understands '//what is low//.' Thereby the truth of the origin of
suffering has been defined. Further, by investigating the means
of giving it up, he understands '//what is excellent//. Hereby
the truth of the path has been defined."
14."//. . . and what escape there is from this (whole) field of
perception//" (//atthi uttari imassa sannaga-tassa nissaranam//).
Comy.: "He knows: 'There is Nibbana as an escape beyond that
perception of the Divine Abidings attained by me.' Hereby the
truth of cessation has been defined."
15. Comy.: "When, by insight-wisdom (//vipassana//), he thus knows the
Four Noble Truths in these four ways (i.e. 'what exists,' etc.);
and when he thus //sees// them by path-wisdom (//magga-panna//).
16. //Kamasava bhavasava avijjasava//. The mention of liberation from
the cankers (//asava//) indicates the monk's attainment of
Arahatship which is also called "exhaustion of the cankers"
17. "//Bathed with the inner bathing//" (//sinato antarena
sinanena//). According to the Comy., the Buddha used this phrase
to rouse the attention of the brahmin Sundarika Bharadvaja, who
was in the assembly and who believed in purification by ritual
bathing. The Buddha foresaw that if he were to speak in praise of
"purification by bathing," the brahmin would feel inspired to
take ordination under him and finally attain to Arahatship.
18. //Bharadvaja// was the clan name of the brahmin. //Sundarika// was
the name of the river to which that brahmin ascribed purifying
power. See also the Sundarika-Bharadvaja Sutta in the //Sutta
19. Based on Bhikkhu Nanamoli's version, with a few alterations.
20. Three are fords; the other four are rivers.
21. The text has //Phaggu// which is a day of brahminic purification
in the month of Phagguna (February-March). Nanamoli translates it
as "Feast of Spring."
23. "//It is here, 0 brahmin, that you should bathe.//" Comy.: i.e. in
the Buddha's Dispensation, in the waters of the Noble Eightfold
In the //Psalms of the Sisters// (//Therigatha//), the nun
Punnika speaks to a brahmin as follows:
"Nay now, who, ignorant to the ignorant,
Hath told thee this: that water-baptism
From evil kamma can avail to free?
Why then the fishes and the tortoises,
The frogs, the watersnake, the crocodiles
And all that haunt the water straight to heaven
Will go. Yea, all who evil kamma work --
Butchers of sheep and swine, fishers, hunters of
Thieves, murderers -- so they but splash themselves
With water, are from evil kamma free!"
Transl. by C. A. F. Rhys Davids From Early Buddhist Poetry,
ed. I. B. Horner Publ. by Ananda Semage, Colombo 11