SuttaCentral

Looking for Sutta about cleaning the mind like a dirty pond

This sutta helped me a lot to understand what needed to be done during meditation.

Perhaps it’s the Jambālīsutta AN 4.178. Bhante Sujato uses the word “billabong” to describe a stagnant pond, which is a word commonly used in Australia coming from a first nations language of the the Wiradhuri people.

Suppose there was a billabong that had been stagnant for many years. And someone was to close off the inlets and open up the drains, and the heavens didn’t provide enough rain. You wouldn’t expect that billabong to break its banks. In the same way, take a mendicant who enters and remains in a certain peaceful release of the heart. They focus on smashing ignorance, but their mind isn’t eager, confident, settled, and decided about it. You wouldn’t expect that mendicant to smash ignorance.

Next, take a mendicant who enters and remains in a peaceful release of the heart. They focus on smashing ignorance, and their mind is eager, confident, settled, and decided about it. You’d expect that mendicant to smash ignorance. Suppose there was a billabong that had been stagnant for many years. And someone was to open up the inlets and close off the drains, and the heavens provided plenty of rain. You’d expect that billabong to break its banks. In the same way, take a mendicant who enters and remains in a certain peaceful release of the heart. They focus on smashing ignorance, and their mind is eager, confident, settled, and decided about it. You’d expect that mendicant to smash ignorance.

Or it could be: AN1.45. A Pool of Water

“Suppose there were a pool of water—sullied, turbid, and muddy. A man with good eyesight standing there on the bank would not see shells, gravel, and pebbles, or shoals of fish swimming about and resting. Why is that? Because of the sullied nature of the water. In the same way, that a monk with a sullied mind would know his own benefit, the benefit of others, the benefit of both; that he would realize a superior human state, a truly noble distinction of knowledge & vision: Such a thing is impossible. Why is that? Because of the sullied nature of his mind.”

If you do a search in SC using terms such as “pool”, “inlet”, “stagnant”, “pond” you will come up with some other possibilities- it’s a common simile used by the Buddha.

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SN 46.55, with parallel at AN 5:193-194, has a series of analogies involving water being sullied by each hindrance:

“Brahmin, there’s a time when your heart is overcome and mired in sensual desire and you don’t truly understand the escape from sensual desire that has arisen. At that time you don’t truly know or see your own good, the good of another, or the good of both. Even hymns that are long-practiced don’t spring to mind, let alone those that are not practiced.

Suppose there was a bowl of water that was mixed with dye such as red lac, turmeric, indigo, or rose madder. Even a person with good eyesight checking their own reflection wouldn’t truly know it or see it.

In the same way, when your heart is overcome and mired in sensual desire … Even hymns that are long-practiced don’t spring to mind, let alone those that are not practiced.

Furthermore, when your heart is overcome and mired in ill will … Even hymns that are long-practiced don’t spring to mind, let alone those that are not practiced.

Suppose there was a bowl of water that was heated by fire, boiling and bubbling. Even a person with good eyesight checking their own reflection wouldn’t truly know it or see it.

In the same way, when your heart is overcome and mired in ill will … Even hymns that are long-practiced don’t spring to mind, let alone those that are not practiced.

Furthermore, when your heart is overcome and mired in dullness and drowsiness … Even hymns that are long-practiced don’t spring to mind, let alone those that are not practiced.

Suppose there was a bowl of water overgrown with moss and aquatic plants. Even a person with good eyesight checking their own reflection wouldn’t truly know it or see it.

In the same way, when your heart is overcome and mired in dullness and drowsiness … Even hymns that are long-practiced don’t spring to mind, let alone those that are not practiced.

Furthermore, when your heart is overcome and mired in restlessness and remorse … Even hymns that are long-practiced don’t spring to mind, let alone those that are not practiced.

Suppose there was a bowl of water stirred by the wind, churning, swirling, and rippling. Even a person with good eyesight checking their own reflection wouldn’t truly know it or see it.

In the same way, when your heart is overcome and mired in restlessness and remorse … Even hymns that are long-practiced don’t spring to mind, let alone those that are not practiced.

Furthermore, when your heart is overcome and mired in doubt … Even hymns that are long-practiced don’t spring to mind, let alone those that are not practiced.

Suppose there was a bowl of water that was cloudy, murky, and muddy, hidden in the darkness. Even a person with good eyesight checking their own reflection wouldn’t truly know it or see it.

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Aha I think it’s the second one. Thanks Bhante. :pray:t4:

That one helped me also when I first tried meditation according Buddha Dhamma. Thanks. :pray:t4: