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." â€” "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 color. And why is that? Because the cloth was not clean. So too, monks, when the mind is defiled,1 an unhappy destination [in a future existence] may be expected.
"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 color. 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 expected.
3. "And what, monks, are the defilements of the mind?2 (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 mind.3
4. "Knowing, monks, covetousness and unrighteous greed to be a defilement of the mind, the monk abandons them.4 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.
<dl><dd>1</dd><dd>"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' (AN 1.49). 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:
- abhijjha-visama-lobha, covetousness and unrighteous greed
- byapada, ill will
- kodha, anger
- upanaha, hostility or malice
- makkha, denigration or detraction; contempt
- palasa, domineering or presumption
- issa, envy
- macchariya, jealousy, or avarice; selfishness
- maya, hypocrisy or deceit
- satheyya, fraud
- thambha, obstinacy, obduracy
- sarambha, presumption or rivalry; impetuosity
- mana, conceit
- atimana, arrogance, haughtiness
- mada, vanity or pride
- pamada, negligence or heedlessness; in social behavior, 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-paÃ±Ã±a 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 attention.
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 following order:
- "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):
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.
OK, obviously there is an enormous amount of information in these few verses. (Does anyone know who or what Comy. refers to?)
I have a confession to make. I began to read this sutra, which seemed accessible. Then I read the notes, which make it much harder. I got tangled up in a level of Buddhist theory I don't know anything about: stream-entry, non-returners, and so on. I went from place to place looking these things up, and I almost despaired of being able to post a coherent comment about this sutra.
But it occurs to me -- I don't have to. I will simply share my *efforts* to figure this stuff out, and perhaps you, my friends here on gather, will help me fill in the blanks in my understanding.
So then, this is about purifying our minds. Until we clean the sixteen defilements from our minds, our understanding of the Dhamma will be muddy and smudged. So far, so sensible.
Why sixteen defilements? I have noticed before that the sutras often include numbered lists, which I'm sure were valuable memory aids.
I do find the list useful as a sort of personal checklist. You know, when you get that niggling feeling that maybe you shouldn't post a particular comment? I think that I will in future give good attention to this feeling and check the list of defilements. Does this comment result from greed, anger, hostility, etc.?
And then we get to the practical advice about abandoning the defilements. So, in Buddhist theory, the activity or stage of development called "stream-entry" is the way to abandon denigration, domineering, envy, jealousy, hypocrisy and fraud; the activity or stage of development called "once-returning" is the way to abandon ill will, anger, malice,Â negligence; and the activity or stage of development called "Arahatship" is the way to abandonÂ covetousness and unrighteous greed, obstinacy, presumption, conceit, arrogance,Â vanity.
So, gather-friends, here's my plan. I'd like to explore these verses in more detail before going on in this sutra (which next tells us what happens after these defilements are abandoned.) I'd like to find and think out loud (or at least in writing) explanations for these activities or stages of development called "stream-entry", "once-returning" and "Arahatship."
More in a day or two, as I have some reading to do before I can write.