143.                         However, it was also asked (vi) WHAT IS THE DEFILING OF IT? and WHAT IS THE CLEANSING OF IT?
  We answer that virtue’s torness, etc., is it’s defiling, and that its untorness etc., is it’s cleansing. Now that torness, etc., is comprised under the breach that has gain, fame, etc., as its cause, and under the seven bonds of sexuality. When a man has broken the training course at the beginning or at the end in any instance of the seven classes of offences,40 his virtue is called torn, like a cloth that is cut at the edge. But when he has broken it in the middle, it is called rent, like a cloth that is rent in the middle. When he has broken it twice or thrice in succession, it is called blotched, like a cow whose body is some such color as black or red with a discrepant color appearing on the back or the belly. When he has broken it [all over] at intervals, it is called mottled, like a cow speckled [all over] with discrepant-colored spots at intervals. This in the first place is how there comes to be torness with the breach that has gain, etc., as its cause.


144.                        And likewise with the seven bonds of sexuality; for this is said by the Blessed One: ‘Here, brahman, some ascetic or ‘brahman claims to lead the life of purity rightly; for he does ‘not [52] enter into actual sexual intercourse with women. Yet ‘he agrees to massage, manipulation, bathing and rubbing ‘down by women. He enjoys it, desires it and takes satisfaction ‘in it. This is what is torn, rent, blotched and mottled in one ‘who leads the life of purity. This man is said to lead a life of ‘purity that is unclean. As one who is bound by the bond of ‘sexuality, he will not be released from birth, ageing and ‘death, . . . he


145.                      ‘will not be released from suffering, I say. Furthermore, ‘brahman, . . . while he does not agree to [these things], yet he ‘jokes, plays and amuses himself with women . . . Furthermore,


146.                      ‘brahman, . . . while he does not agree to [these things], yet he ‘gazes and stares at women eye to eye . . . Furthermore,


147.                      ‘brahman, . . . while he does not agree to [these things],, yet he ‘listens to the sound of women through a wall or through a ‘fence as they laugh or talk or sing or weep . . . Furthermore,


148.                      ‘brahman, . . . while he does not agree to [these things], yet he ‘recalls laughs and talks and games that he formerly had with ‘women . . . Furthermore,


149.                      ‘brahman, . . . while he does not agree to [these things] [53] ‘yet he sees a householder or a householder’s son possessed ‘of, endowed with, and indulging, the five cords of sense ‘desire . . . Furthermore,


150.                        ‘brahman, while he does not agree to [these things], yet he ‘leads the life of purity aspiring to some order of deities, ‘[thinking] “Through this rite (virtue) or this ritual (vow) or ‘this asceticism I shall become a [great] deity or some [lesser] ‘deity”. He enjoys it, desires it, and takes satisfaction in it.  
  ‘ This, brahman, is what is torn, rent, blotched and mottled in ‘one who leads the life of purity. This man . . . will not be ‘released from suffering, I say’ (A.iv, 54-6).
  This is how torness, etc., should be understood as included under the breach that has gain, etc., as its cause and under the seven bonds of sexuality.


151.                          Untornness, however, is accomplished by the complete non-breaking of the training precepts, by making amends for those broken for which amends should be made, by the absence of the seven bonds of sexuality, and, as well, by the non-arising of such evil things as anger, enmity, contempt, domineering, envy, avarice, deceit, fraud, obduracy, presumption, pride (conceit), haughtiness, conceit (vanity), and negligence (see M. Sutta 7), and by the arising of such qualities as fewness of wishes, contentment, and effacement (see M. Sutta 24).


152.                          Virtues not broken for the purpose of gain, etc., and rectified by making amends after being broken by the faults of negligence, etc., and not damaged by the bonds of sexuality and by such evil things as anger and enmity, are called entirely untorn, unrent, unblotched, and unmottled. And those same virtues are liberating since they bring about the state of a freeman, and praised by the wise since it is by the wise that they are praised, and un-adhered-to since they are not adhered to by means of craving and views, and conducive to concentration since they conduce to access concentration or to absorption concentration. That is why their untornness etc., should be understood as ‘cleansing’ (see also Ch. VII, §101f.)


153.                          This cleansing comes about in two ways: through seeing the danger of failure in virtue, and through seeing the benefit of perfected virtue.  [54] Herein, the danger of failure in virtue can be seen in accordance with such suttas as that beginning ‘Bhikkhus, there are these five dangers for the unvirtuous in ‘the failure of virtue’ (A.iii, 252).


154.                          Furthermore, on account of his unvirtuousness an unvirtuous person is displeasing to deities and human beings, is uninstructable by his fellows in the life of purity, suffers when unvirtuousness is censured, and is remorseful when the virtuous are praised. Owing to that unvirtuousness he is as ugly as hemp cloth. Contact with him is painful because those who fall in with his views are brought to long-lasting suffering in the states of loss. He is worthless because he causes no great fruit [to accrue] to those who give him gifts. He is as hard to purify as a cesspit many years old. He is like a log from a pyre (see It. 99); for he is outside both [recluseship and the lay state]. Though claiming the bhikkhu state he is no bhikkhu, so he is like a donkey following a herd of cattle. He is always nervous, like a man who is everyone’s enemy. He is as unfit to live with as a dead carcass. Though he may have the qualities of learning, etc., he is unfit for the homage of his fellows in the life of purity as a charnel-ground fire is for that of brahmans. He is as incapable of reaching the distinction of attainment as a blind man is of seeing a visible object. He is as careless of the Good Law as a guttersnipe is of a kingdom. Though he fancies he is happy, yet he suffers because he reaps suffering as told in the Discourse on the Mass of Fire (A.iv, 128-34).

155.                          Now the Blessed One has shown that when the unvirtuous have their minds captured by pleasure and satisfaction in the indulgence of the five cords of sense-desires, in [receiving] salutation, in being honored, etc., the results of that kamma, directly visible in all ways, is very violent pain, with that [kamma] as its condition, capable of producing a gush of hot blood by causing agony of heart with the mere recollection of it. Here is the text:
  ‘Bhikkhus, do you see that great mass of fire burning, blazing ‘and glowing? —Yes, venerable sire. —What do you think, ‘bhikkhus, which is better, that one [gone forth] should sit ‘down or lie down embracing that mass of fire burning, blazing ‘and glowing, or that he should sit down or lie down embracing ‘a warrior-noble maiden or a brahman maiden or a maiden of ‘householder family, with soft, delicate hands and feet? –It ‘would be better, venerable sir, if he sat down or lay down ‘embracing that great mass of fire burning, blazing and ‘glowing.

156.                          ‘I say to you, bhikkhus, I declare to you, bhikkhus, that it ‘would be better for one [gone forth] who is unvirtuous, who is ‘evil-natured, of unclean and suspect habits, secretive of his ‘acts, who is not an ascetic and claims to be one, who does not ‘lead the life of purity and claims to do so, who is rotten ‘within, lecherous, and full of corruption, to sit down or lie ‘down embracing that great mass of fire burning, blazing and ‘glowing. Why is that? By his doing so, bhikkhus, he might ‘come to death or deadly suffering, yet he would not on that ‘account, on the break up of the body, after death, reappear in ‘states of loss, in any unhappy destiny, in perdition, in hell. But ‘if one who is unvirtuous, evil-natured, . . . and full of ‘corruption, should sit down or lie down embracing a warrior-‘noble maiden . . . that would be long for his harm and ‘suffering: on the break up of the body, after death, he would ‘reappear, in states of loss, in an unhappy destiny, in perdition, ‘in hell’ (A. iv, 128-9).

157.   Having thus shown by means of the analogy of the mass of fire the suffering that is bound up with women and has as its condition the indulgence of the five cords of sense-desires [by the unvirtuous], to the same intent he showed, by the following similes of the horse-hair rope, the sharp spear, the iron sheet, the iron ball, the iron bed, the iron chair, and the iron cauldron, the pain that has as its condition [acceptance of] homage and reverential salutation, and the use of robes, alms food, bed and chair, and dwelling [by unvirtuous bhikkhus]:
   ‘What do you think, bhikkhus, which is better, that one ‘should have a strong horse-hair rope twisted round both legs ‘by a strong man and tightened so that it cut through the outer ‘skin, and having cut through the outer skin it cut through the ‘inner skin, and having cut through the inner skin it cut ‘through ‘the flesh, and having cut through the flesh it cut ‘through the ‘sinews, and having cut through the sinews it cut ‘through the ‘bones, and having cut through the bones it ‘remained crushing ‘the bone-marrow—or that he should ‘consent to the homage of ‘great warrior nobles, great ‘brahmans, great householders?’ (A. iv, 129), [56]
  and ‘What do you think, bhikkhus, which is better, that one ‘should have a strong man wound one’s breast with a sharp ‘spear tempered in oil—or that he should consent to the ‘reverential salutation of great warrior nobles, great brahmans, ‘great householders?’ (A. iv, 130),
  and ‘What do you think, bhikkhus, which is better, that one’s ‘body should be wrapped by a strong man in a red-hot iron ‘sheet burning, blazing, and glowing—or that he should use ‘robes given out of faith by great warrior nobles, great ‘brahmans, great householders? (A. iv, 130-1), and ‘What do ‘you think, bhikkhus, which is better, that one’s mouth
‘should be prized open by a strong man with red-hot iron ‘tongs burning, blazing and glowing, and that into his mouth ‘should be put a red-hot iron ball burning, blazing and ‘glowing, which burns his lips and burns his mouth and ‘tongue and throat and belly and passes out below, carrying ‘with it his bowels and entrails—or that he should use alms ‘food given out of faith by great warrior nobles, . . . (A. iv, 131-2),
  and ‘What do you think bhikkhus, which is better, that one ‘should have a strong man seize him by the head or seize him ‘by the shoulders and seat him or lay him on a red-hot iron ‘bed or iron chair, burning, blazing and glowing—or that he ‘should use a bed or chair given out of faith by great warrior ‘nobles, . . .?’ (A. iv, 132-3).
  and ‘What do you think, bhikkhus, which is better, that one ‘should have a strong man take him feet up and head down ‘and plunge him into a red-hot metal cauldron burning, ‘blazing and glowing, to be boiled there in a swirl of froth,
‘and as he boils in the swirl of froth to be swept now up, now ‘down, and now across—or that he should use a dwelling ‘given out of faith by great warrior nobles . . .?, (A. iv. 133-4).


158.       What pleasure has a man of broken virtue
Forsaking not sense pleasures, which bear fruit
Of pain more violent even than the pain
In the embracing of a mass of fire?

What pleasure has he in accepting homage
Who, having failed in virtue, must partake
Of pain that will excel in agony
The crushing of his legs with horse-hair ropes? [57]

What pleasure has a man devoid of virtue
Accepting salutations of the faithful,
Which is the cause of pain acuter still
Than pain produced by stabbing with a spear?

What is the pleasure in the use of garments
For one without restraint, whereby in hell
He will for long be forced to undergo
The contact of the blazing iron sheet?

Although to him his alms food may seem tasty,
Who has no virtue, it is direst poison,
Because of which he surely will be made
For long to swallow burning iron balls.

And when the virtueless make use of couches
And chairs, though reckoned pleasing,
Because they will be tortured long indeed
On red-hot blazing iron beds and chairs.

Then what delight is there for one unvirtuous
Inhabiting a dwelling given in faith,
Since for that reason he will have to dwell
Shut up inside a blazing iron pan?

The Teacher of the world, in him condemning,
Described him in these terms: ‘Of suspect habits,
Full of corruption, lecherous as well,
By nature evil, rotten too within’.

So out upon the life of him abiding
Without restraint, of him that wears the guise
Of the ascetic that he will not be,
And damages and undermines himself !

What is the life he leads, since any person,
No matter who, with virtue to his credit
Avoids it here, as those that would look well
Keep far away from dung or from corpse?

He is not free from any sort of terror,
Though free enough from pleasure of attainment;
While heaven’s door is bolted fast against him,
He is well set upon the road to hell.

Who else if not one destitute of virtue
More fit to be the object of compassion?
Many indeed and grave are the defects
That brand a man neglectful of his virtue.

  Seeing danger in the failure of virtue should be understood as reviewing in such ways as these. And seeing benefits in perfected virtue should be understood in the opposite sense.


159.                        Furthermore, [58]

His virtue is immaculate,

His wearing of the bowl and robes

Gives pleasure and inspires trust,

His Going Forth will bear its fruit.


A bhikkhu in his virtue pure

Has never fear that self-reproach

Will enter in his heart: indeed

There is no darkness in the sun.


A bhikkhu in his virtue bright

Shines forth in the Ascetics’ Wood41

As by the brightness of his beams

The moon lights up the firmament.


Now if the bodily perfume

Of virtuous bhikkhus can succeed

In pleasing even deities,

What of the perfume of his virtue?


It is more perfect far than all

The other perfumes in the world,

Because the perfume virtue gives

Is borne unchecked in all directions.


The deeds done for a virtuous man,

Though they be few, will ear much fruit,

And so the virtuous man becomes

A vessel of honor and renown.


There are no cankers here and now

To plague the virtuous man at all;

The virtuous man digs out the root

Of suffering in lives to come.


Perfection among human kind

And even among deities,

If wished for, is not hard to gain

For him whose virtue is perfected:


But once his virtue is perfected,

His mind then seeks no other kind

Than the perfection of nibbana,

The state where utter peace prevails.


Such is the blessed fruit of virtue,

Showing full many a varied form,

So let a wise man know it well

This root of all perfection’s branches.


160.                        The mind of one who understands thus, shudders at failure in virtue and reaches out towards the perfecting of virtue. So virtue should be cleansed with all care, seeing this danger of failure in virtue and this benefit of the perfection of virtue in the way stated.

161.                        And at this point in the Path of Purification, which is shown under the headings of Virtue, Concentration and Understanding by the stanza, ‘When a wise man, established well in virtue’ (§1), Virtue, firstly, has been fully illustrated.


                  The first chapter called ‘The Description of
               Virtue’ in the Path of Purification composed for
                the purpose of gladdening good people.









40   The seven consisting of parajika, sanghadisesa, pacittiya, patidesaniya, dukkhata, thullaccaya, dubbhasita  (mentioned at Ma., ii, 33).

41   An allusion to the Cosinga Suttas (M. Suttas 31 and 32).