Namo tassa bhagavato arahato sammāsambuddhassa

Introduction to 3.7.7 Cundasuttaṃ-3
Purifying Oneself by Training One`s Mind Properly


‘‘Anatthajanano lobho, lobho cittappakopano1;                

Bhayamantarato2 jātaṃ, taṃ jano nāvabujjhati.

Luddho atthaṃ na jānāti, luddho dhammaṃ na passati;

Andhatamaṃ3 tadā hoti, yaṃ lobho sahate4 naraṃ.

Yo ca lobhaṃ pahantvāna, lobhaneyye na lubbhati;

Lobho pahīyate tamhā, udabindūva5 pokkharā.


Anatthajanano doso, doso cittappakopano;

Bhayamantarato jātaṃ, taṃ jano nāvabujjhati.

Duṭṭho atthaṃ na jānāti, duṭṭho dhammaṃ na passati;

Andhatamaṃ tadā hoti, yaṃ doso sahate naraṃ.

Yo ca dosaṃ pahantvāna, dosaneyye na dussati;

Doso pahīyate tamhā, tālapakkaṃva6 bandhanā.


Anatthajanano moho, moho cittappakopano;

Bhayamantarato jātaṃ, taṃ jano nāvabujjhati.

Mūḷho atthaṃ na jānāti, mūḷho dhammaṃ na passati;

Andhatamaṃ tadā hoti, yaṃ moho sahate naraṃ.

Yo ca mohaṃ pahantvāna, mohaneyye na muyhati;

Mohaṃ vihanti so sabbaṃ, ādiccovudayaṃ7 tama’’nti.8


“Greed produces misfortune, greed agitates the mind,

The danger born within is not understood by such a person.

The greedy does not understand his welfare, the greedy does not see dhamma.

Overcome by greed such a person remains utterly blind at that time.

That one who has abandoned greed, who does not roll in thought of craving,

To him greed slips away like water drops from lotus flower.


Aversion produces misfortune, aversion agitates the mind,

The danger born within is not understood by such a person.

Such a person, imbued with aversion does not understand his welfare,

Imbued with aversion he does not see the dhamma.

Overcome by aversion such a person remains utterly blind at that time..

One who has left aversion behind and does not roll in thoughts of anger,

From him aversion drops away as a palm fruit loses its bondage.


Delusion produces misfortune, delusion agitates the mind,

The danger born within is not understood by such a person.

The deluded one does not understand his welfare,

Full of delusion such a person does not see dhamma.

Overcome by delusion such a person remains utterly blind at that time.

That one who has abandoned delusion and does not get bewildered by deluded thoughts.

He makes an end to all delusion as sunrise puts an end to darkness.”


     Two previous suttas9 the Akammaniyavaggo and the Adantavaggo pointed to the difficulty to control and discipline the thread of thoughts and to cope with a restless, fidgety and jumpy mind. This present selection, the remaining part from the Cundasutta refers to the root and causes of mental defilements, as depicted in the introducing quote from the Antarāmalasutta. The first and second part of the Cundasutta have stressed how physical and verbal defilements can corrupt day to day life10, the present one points to dominating mental impurities. This selection here is partly added to this chapter to refer back to the previous section but also included to emphasize how the Buddha highlights mental impurities in opposition to the prescribed development of untainted mental qualities.

     Buddha had delivered this discourse to Cunda, the smith’s son - Cundo kammāraputto – after Cunda had described to the Buddha how Brahmins usually perform acts of purity. Then Cunda wanted to know from the Buddha, how the disciples of the Buddha would purify themselves: ‘‘Yathā kathaṃ pana, bhante, ariyassa vinaye soceyyaṃ hoti? Sādhu me, bhante, bhagavā tathā dhammaṃ desetu yathā ariyassa vinaye soceyyaṃ hotī’’ti. The Buddha then revealed the ten acts that defile (three related to body, four ignoble utterances of speech and the three mental causes for unwholesomeness) and summarises to Cunda in the following way: ‘‘Ime kho, cunda, dasa akusalakammapathā. Imehi kho, cunda, dasahi akusalehi kammapathehi samannāgato kālasseva uṭṭhahantova sayanamhā pathaviṃ cepi āmasati11, asuciyeva hoti; no cepi pathaviṃ āmasati, asuciyeva hoti.” – “These Cunda are the ten courses of unwholesome actions. Whoever is engaged in these ten courses of unwholesome actions remains defiled, whether one touches the ground at the time of rising from one’s bed or whether one does not touch the ground – one remains defiled.”

     The Buddha then continued describing the ten actions and activities of wholesomeness12. While the Buddha here denotes modes of the main roots - abhijjhālu, byāpannacitto and micchādiṭṭhi - the Antarāmalasutta refers to the bases of all mental defilements by calling them the ‘three inner stains, three inner enemies, three inner foes, three inner murderers and three inner opponents’: – “Tayome, bhikkhave, antarāmalā antarāamittā antarāsapattā antarāvadhakā antarāpaccatthikā.” These three are: – “Lobho, bhikkhave, antarāmalo antarāamitto antarāsapatto antarāvadhako antarāpaccatthiko. Doso, bhikkhave, antarāmalo antarāamitto antarāsapatto antarāvadhako antarāpaccatthiko. Moho, bhikkhave, antarāmalo antarāamitto antarāsapatto antarāvadhako antarāpaccatthiko.” – “Greed, Bhikkhus, is the inner stain, the inner enemy, the inner foe, the inner murderer, the inner opponent. Aversion is, Bhikkhus, the inner stain, the inner enemy, the inner foe, the inner murderer, the inner opponent. Delusion Bhikkhus is the inner stain, the inner enemy, the inner foe, the inner murderer, the inner opponent.”

     In the well-known ‘cloth-simile’13 the Buddha highlights further in more detail when he begins to illustrate a filthy, stained cloth which – dyed in any colour – which would still continue to appear soiled and dirty and compares it to a pure and bright cloth – which when dyed in any colour – would continue to appear clean and untainted. Here he says: ‘Evameva kho, bhikkhave, citte saṃkiliṭṭhe, duggati pāṭikaṅkhā.’ – ‘In the same way, Bhikkhus, stand with a defiled mind – here an unhappy destiny can be expected!’ and then continues in reference to the bright cloth: ‘Evameva kho, bhikkhave, citte asaṃkiliṭṭhe, sugati pāṭikaṅkhā.’ – ‘‘In the same way, Bhikkus, stand with an untainted mind – here a fortunate destiny can be expected!’ and he proceeds: ‘Katame ca, bhikkhave, cittassa upakkilesā? Abhijjhāvisamalobho14 cittassa upakkileso, byāpādo cittassa upakkileso, kodho cittassa upakkileso, upanāho cittassa upakkileso, makkho cittassa upakkileso, paḷāso cittassa upakkileso, issā cittassa upakkileso, macchariyaṃ cittassa upakkileso, māyā cittassa upakkileso, sāṭheyyaṃ cittassa upakkileso, thambho cittassa upakkileso, sārambho cittassa upakkileso, māno cittassa upakkileso, atimāno cittassa upakkileso, mado cittassa upakkileso, pamādo cittassa upakkileso’. – ‘And what, Bhikkhus defiles the mind? It is the base of covetousness and unrighteous desire that defiles the mind; ill-will defiles the mind; anger defiles the mind; animosity defiles the mind; hypocrisy defiles the mind; malice defiles the mind; envy defiles the mind; avarice defiles the mind; deceit defiles the mind; treachery defiles the mind; obstinacy defiles the mind; pride defiles the mind; impetuosity defiles the mind; arrogance defiles the mind; conceit defiles the mind; vanity defiles the mind and negligence defiles the mind!’

     Comprehending such vast scope of contaminating input on any mental activity and comprehending likewise the effect that tainted thoughts will have on one’s physical and verbal actions:

Manopubbaṅgamā dhammā, manoseṭṭhā manomayā;

Manasā ce paduṭṭhena, bhāsati vā karoti vā15


every ardent meditator will gratefully remember to put forth all endeavour as the Buddha advised16: “…… anuppannānaṃ pāpakānaṃ akusalānaṃ dhammānaṃ anuppādāya chandaṃ janeti vāyamati vīriyaṃ ārabhati cittaṃ paggaṇhāti padahati……”

1. cittappakopano: citta + p + pakopano: mind + shaking, ´producing agitation

2. bhayamantarato: bhayaṃ + antarato: fear + inside

3. andhatamaṃ: andha + tamaṃ: dark, blind + darkness

4. sahate: (med.) bear, endure, overcome

5. udabindūva: uda + bindu + eva: water + drop + just

6. tālapakka: palm-nut

7. ādiccovudayaṃ: ādicco + v + udayaṃ: sun + rise

8. Antarāmalasutta, Catutthavaggo, Tikanipāto, Itivuttakapāḷi

9. See 3.7.5 Akammaniyavaggo & Adantavaggo – Mastering the Mind

10. Compare lesson: 3.4.6 Cundasuttaṃ-1 - About Speech that should be Avoided and that should be Performed and see also 3.5.4 Cundasuttaṃ-2 - How to Conduct Oneself Correctly in Right Action?

11. āmasati: to touch. When Cunda explains the custom of purification of the Brahmins he refers to the habit of touching the ground directly from one’s bed as a first act one is supposed to do. This act of is then followed by others like stroking cow dung, touching wet grass, tending the sacred fire etc., all of which are considered to purify.

12. The order in this and previous selections taken from the Cundasuttaṃ – see references above – is changed for the sake of emphasis. Therefore the ETP confronts the respective dasa akusalakammapathā directly with the dasa kusalakammapathā while the original text first portrays all the ten unwholesome courses of action and then opposes them to the ten wholesome courses of action.

13. Vatthasuttaṃ, Mūlapariyāyavaggo, Mūlapaṇṇāsapāḷi, Majjhimanikāyo

14. abhijjhāvisamalobho: abhijjhā + visama + lobho: covetousness + unrighteous, evil + greed. - Tattha sakabhaṇḍe chandarāgo abhijjhā, parabhaṇḍe visamalobho. Atha vā sakabhaṇḍe vā parabhaṇḍe vā hotu, yuttapattaṭṭhāne chandarāgo abhijjhā, ayuttāpattaṭṭhāne visamalobho. – It is covetousness where the existing desire directs itself towards one’s own possession; it is unrighteous greed if directed towards the possessions of others. Whether the existing desire is directing itself towards one’s own possession or that of others, if properly obtained it is covetousness, if inappropriate and unobtained it is unrighteous greed. (Vatthasuttavaṇṇanā)

15. Yamakavaggo, Dhammapadapāḷi, Khuddakanikāye


Pāli lesson (with audio) 3.7.7

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Last modified: Tuesday, 9 August 2022, 7:57 PM