Nyanaponika Thera

The Simile of the Cloth, and the Discourse on Effacement

The Simile of the Cloth, and the Discourse on Effacement

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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About Nyanaponika Thera

Nyanaponika Thera (Siegmund Feniger) was born on 21 July 1901 in Hanau, Germany. He came into contact with Buddhism early in his youth and left for Sri Lanka in 1936, where he was ordained as a novice and a year later as a monk by the famous German monk Nyanatiloka.

Interned in camps like Dehra Dun's in India, he worked intensively during the war years on translations of Pali texts. Not only as author of the now classic The Heart of Buddhist Meditation and of many other books and translations, but also as co-founder in 1958, editor and president of the Buddhist Publication Society he made a great contribution to the international dissemination of the Theravāda teachings. He died on October 19, 1994 in Kandy, Sri Lanka.

You yourselves must strive, the Buddhas only point the way

Buddha, Dhp 276
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