Polishing the Mind


Dhamma Talks by Mogok Sayadaw; 27th June 1961

[At Sāvatthi, Jeta’s Grove, Anāthapindika’s monastery, Ven. Sariputta, Mahā Moggallāna & many monks were there. They requested Sariputta to give a teaching. He delivered the following teaching. (From the Majjima Nikāya, Anangana Sutta)

There were 4 types of persons in the world:

1. Someone had a lot of defilements & didn’t know about it. He was an inferior person.
2. Someone had a lot of defilements & knew about it. He was a superior person.
3. Someone had few of defilements didn’t know about it. He was an inferior person.
4. Someone had few of defilements & knew about it. He was a superior person

(Sayadaw gave this talk for the yogis to make corrections for themselves) Sariputta gave the similes for these 4 persons.

  1. A man bought a dirty bronze bowl from a market place & let it at home near a dirty conner & never cleaned it. And it became dirtier everyday.
  2. A man bought a dirty bronze bowl & at home look after it very well. He polished it everyday & became brighter & brighter.
  3. A man bought a clean bronze bowl & at home threw it near a dirty conner. And everyday it became dirtier.
  4. A man bought a clean bronze bowl & at home he looked after it very well And polished it everyday & became shinning.

The meanings of the similes are as follow:

The first man born with a lot of defilements & doesn’t know about it. So he associates with bad companions & goes to unsuitable & improper places & done many bad things. His mind becomes more & more defiled.

The 2nd man also born with a lot of defilements & knows about it. And associates with good friends, restrains himself, does good things & cultivates mind development. So his mind becomes purer.

The 3rd man born with fewer defilements & doesn’t know about it & associates with bad companions, goes to unsuitable places & done many bad things. His mind becomes defiled.

The 4th man born with fewer defilements and knows about it, associates with good companions, restrains himself, does good things and cultivates mind development. So his mind becomes easily pure. Combine the 1st and the 3rd persons and end up in the same ways and results.

The 2nd and the 4th are also end up with the same results and can realize Nibbāna in this life or next life. Everyone should check himself with the 4 persons. Correct mistakes and look after themselves, and practice diligently in this life to end dukkha.]

A person without knowing himself has defilements and the desire will never arise in his mind to clean it. And continue to do things connections with greed, hatred and delusion. He has defilements and making it more and more defiled. Without practice vipassanā will become more and more foolish.

After dies will born in the planes of misery. In this world there are too many people of this type. The 2nd person knows himself has defilements and practises vipassanā. And after dies born in the planes of bliss and realize Nibbāna.

The 3rd person born with fewer defilements and without knowing it and wandering amongst the forest of sensual objects. His defilements are rising up and increasing. With wrong companions and going amongst the 5 strands of sensual pleasures (kāmagunā).

Even a person with paramis has bad companions and going to the bad places, done bad things and his defilements becomes thicker and thicker (A very good example was Prince Ajātasattu associated with Devadatta and the outcome was very grave.)

The 4th person sometimes he is unavoidable has to go amongst the sensual pleasure but very careful to stay away from them and moving around with vipassanā knowledge.


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