Polishing the Mind


revised on 2019-08-12


Dhamma Talks by Mogok Sayadaw; 27th June 1961

[ At Sāvatthi, Jeta’s Grove, Anāthapiṇḍika’s monastery, Ven. Sāriputta, Mahā Moggallāna and many monks were there. They requested Sāriputta to give a teaching. He delivered the following teaching. (From the Majjhima Nikāya, Anaṅgaṇa Sutta, MN.5 Anaṅgaṇasuttaṃ)

There were four 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 and at home looked after it very well. He polished it every day and became brighter and brighter.
  3. A man bought a clean bronze bowl and at home threw it near a dirty corner. And every day it became dirtier.
  4. A man bought a clean bronze bowl and at home he looked after it very well and polished it every day and became shinning.

The meanings of the similes are as follow:

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

The second man is also born with a lot of defilements and knows about it. And he associates with good friends, restrains him himself, does good things and cultivates mind development. So his mind becomes purer.

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

The fourth 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 first and the third persons and end up in the same ways and results.

The second and the fourth are also end up with the same results and can realize Nibbāna in this life or next life. Everyone should check himself with the four persons; correct mistakes and look after them 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. He will become more and more foolish without practice vipassanā, being born in the planes of misery after death. In this world there are too many people of this type. The second person knows he himself has defilements and practises vipassanā. He'll be born in the planes of bliss and realize Nibbāna after death.

The third person was born with less defilement 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 five strands of sensual pleasures (kāmaguṇa).

A person, even with pāramīs, 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 fourth 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.


revised on 2019-08-12; cited from https://oba.org.tw/viewtopic.php?f=22&t=4084&p=35735#p35735 (posted on 2019-01-11)


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