This discourse of the Buddha — the seventh in the Collection of Middle Length Texts (Majjhima Nikaya) — deals first with a set of sixteen defilements of the human mind; and in its second part, with the disciple’s progress to the highest goal of Arahatship, which can be achieved if — and only if — these impurities are gradually reduced and finally eliminated.
While there are also defilements of insight which must be removed for the attainment of the goal, the sixteen defilements dealt with here are all of an ethical nature and are concerned with man’s social behavior. Only the last of these sixteen, negligence, may also refer to purely personal concerns as well as to one’s relations with others.
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You yourselves must strive, the Buddhas only point the wayBuddha, Dhp 276