The Simile of the Cloth (Vatthuupama Sutta)

The Simile of the Cloth

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, 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, when the mind is pure a good state could be expected.

What are the minor defilements of the mind?

  1. Covetousness – acquisitiveness (to wish others’ things to be mine).
  2. Aversion – hatred
  3. Anger – wrath
  4. Ill will
  5. Contempt – to say that other/s don’t have good qualities who actually have them
  6. Mercilessness
  7. Jealousy
  8. Selfishness / stinginess / miserliness
  9. Hypocrisy / deception
  10. Craftiness
  11. Stubbornness
  12. Haughty talk /arrogance
  13. Measuring – comparison with others
  14. Conceit
  15. Intoxication–being carried away with one’s own ‘superiority’
  16. Negligence / addiction to lusts of life

The Simile of the ClothOne who knows these defilements of the mind dispels them. 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.

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 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, 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

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.

The Simile of the ClothHe 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 un-exalted and exalted states, there is a noble escape from this perceptive 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. This is called internal cleaning.

By Sachie Panawala, BBN Community member