Lazy_eye wrote:So the term defilements implies there was a mind that was pure. The idea of returning to or accessing one's pure mind comes up frequently in later schools, though it doesn't seem to me a Theravada notion. Still, isn't it basically implied by the term "defilements"?
Comy: "It may be asked why the Buddha had given this simile of the soiled cloth. He did so to show that effort brings great results. A cloth soiled by dirt that is adventitious (i.e., comes from outside; agantukehi malehi), if it is washed can again become clean because of the cloth's natural purity. But in the case of what is naturally black, as for instance (black) goat's fur, any effort (of washing it) will be in vain. Similarly, the mind too is soiled by adventitious defilements (agantukehi kilesehi). But originally, at the phases of rebirth(-consciousness) and the (sub-conscious) life-continuum, it is pure throughout (pakatiya pana sakale pi patisandhi-bhavanga-vare pandaram eva). As it was said (by the Enlightened One): 'This mind, monks, is luminous, but it becomes soiled by adventitious defilements' (AN 1.49). But by cleansing it one can make it more luminous, and effort therein is not in vain."
indian_buddhist wrote:I am only recently started learning Buddhism.
All notions of "there was a pure state" comes from notion of a permanent self. I dont think it is what the Buddha taught.
Lazy_eye wrote:yet if something can be "defiled" it must have previously been clean.
Edith Clampton wrote:Lazy_eye wrote:yet if something can be "defiled" it must have previously been clean.
Not at all; the word ‘defilement’ is quite non-committal about this. With some defiled things there may be a prior state of purity (as with iron before it’s defiled by rust). With others there may not (as with unextracted gold that’s defiled by its ore and has always been as far as anyone knows).
Edith Clampton (Mrs)
At a time of contraction, beings are mostly born in the Abhassara Brahma
world. And there they dwell, mind-made, feeding on delight, self luminous, moving
through the air, glorious—and they stay like that for a very long time. But sooner or later,
after a very long period, this world begins to expand again. At a time of expansion, the
beings from the Abhassara Brahma world, having passed away from there, are mostly
reborn in this world. Here they dwell, mind-made, feeding on delight, self-luminous,
moving through the air, glorious, and they stay like that for a very long time.
At that period, Vasettha, there was just one mass of water, and all was darkness, blinding
darkness. Neither moon nor sun appeared, no constellations or stars appeared, night and
day were not yet distinguished, nor months and fortnights, nor years and seasons; there
was no male and female, beings being reckoned just as beings. And sooner or
later, after a very long period of time, savory earth spread itself over the waters where
those beings were. It looked just like the skin that forms itself over hot milk as it cools. It
was endowed with color, smell, and taste. It was the color of fine ghee or butter and it
was very sweet, like pure wild honey.
Lazy_eye wrote:I don't know much about metallurgy,
Well, you know what happens next...the beings can't help wanting to taste the sweet, ghee-like substance, and it's all downhill from there. Maybe this passage offers some clues as to why the term "defilement" is used?
Edith Clampton wrote:...
Improbable, I think. Avijja is a defilement and the Suttas say there’s no discerning any first point to avijja. So that means there’s never been a time when we weren’t defiled. ...
SarathW wrote:Un defilement and wisdom (enlightenment) are two different things.
Once you have radiant consciousness (undefiled Citta) you should develop wisdom to attain Nirvana.
Radiant consciousness is not Nirvana.
James the Giant wrote:If the citta or whatever was originally undefiled, like you say, then you would have been enlightened back then.
You, and I, are not enlightened. Therefore the citta was never undefiled.
barcsimalsi wrote:The root of defilement is ignorant/wrong view. It is called defiled because the view one holds is distorted from the truth.
cooran wrote:This might be of interest:
Kilesa - Defilement
"But, Mālunkyāputta, in what way do you remember the five lower fetters as taught by me?”
“Venerable sir, I remember identity view as a lower fetter taught by the Blessed One. I remember doubt as a lower fetter taught by the Blessed One. I remember adherence to rules and observances as a lower fetter taught by the Blessed One. I remember sensual desire as a lower fetter taught by the Blessed One. I remember ill will as a lower fetter taught by the Blessed One. It is in this way, venerable sir, that I remember the five lower fetters as taught by the Blessed One.”
“Mālunkyāputta, to whom do you remember my having taught these five lower fetters in that way? Would not the wanderers of other sects confute you with the simile of the infant? For a young tender infant lying prone does not even have the notion ‘identity,’ so how could identity view arise in him? Yet the underlying tendency to identity view lies within him. A young tender infant lying prone does not even have the notion ‘teachings,’ so how could doubt about the teachings arise in him? Yet the underlying tendency to doubt lies within him. A young tender infant lying prone does not even have the notion ‘rules,’ so how could adherence to rules and observances arise in him? Yet the underlying tendency to adhere to rules and observances lies within him. A young tender infant lying prone does not even have the notion ‘sensual pleasures,’ so how could sensual desire arise in him? Yet the underlying tendency to sensual lust lies within him. A young tender infant lying prone does not even have the notion ‘beings,’ so how could ill will towards beings arise in him? Yet the underlying tendency to ill will lies within him. Would not the wanderers of other sects confute you with this simile of the infant?”
And what, Ānanda, is the path, the way to the abandoning of the five lower fetters? Here, with seclusion from the acquisitions, with the abandoning of unwholesome states, with the complete tranquillization of bodily inertia, quite secluded from sensual pleasures, secluded from unwholesome states, a bhikkhu enters upon and abides in the first jhāna, which is accompanied by applied and sustained thought, with rapture and pleasure born of seclusion.
Whatever exists therein of material form, feeling, perception, formations, and consciousness, he sees those states as impermanent, as suffering, as a disease, as a tumour, as a barb, as a calamity, as an affliction, as alien, as disintegrating, as void, as not self. He turns his mind away from those states and directs it towards the deathless element thus: ‘This is the peaceful, this is the sublime, that is, the stilling of all formations, the relinquishing of all attachments, the destruction of craving, dispassion, cessation, Nibbāna.’ If he is steady in that, he attains the destruction of the taints. But if he does not attain the destruction of the taints because of that desire for the Dhamma, that delight in the Dhamma, then with the destruction of the five lower fetters he becomes one due to reappear spontaneously in the Pure Abodes and there attain final Nibbāna without ever returning from that world. This is the path, the way to the abandoning of the five lower fetters.
I was reading over some posts concerning the kilesas yesterday and noticed, again, that there is something about the formulation of this concept that bugs me. I hadn't quite thought it through before but now I realize what the issue is.
When we speak of something being "defiled", it implies a prior state of purity, right? Something can't be defiled if it was that way to begin with; that is its natural state.
So the term defilements implies there was a mind that was pure. The idea of returning to or accessing one's pure mind comes up frequently in later schools, though it doesn't seem to me a Theravada notion. Still, isn't it basically implied by the term "defilements"?
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