On one occasion the Blessed One was living at Savatthi in Jeta's Grove, Anathapindika's Park. There he addressed the bhikkhus thus: "Bhikkhus, suppose a cloth was defiled and stained, and a dyer dipped it in some dye or other, whatever color it maybe; it would look poorly dyed and impure in color. Why is that? Because of the impurity of the cloth. So too, when the mind is defiled, an unhappy destination may be expected."
"Bhikkhus, suppose a cloth was pure and bright, and a dyer dipped it in some dye or other, whatever color it maybe; it would look well-dyed and pure in color. Why is that? Because of the purity of the cloth. So too, when the mind is un-defiled, a happy destination may be expected. "
"What are the imperfections that defile the mind? 1. They are covetousness and unrighteous greed 2. Ill will 3. Anger 4. Revenge 5. Contempt 6. A domineering attitude 7. Envy 8. Avarice 9. Deceit 10. Fraud 11. Obstinacy 12. Presumption 13. Conceit 14. Arrogance 15. Vanity 16. Negligence..... are imperfections that defile the mind.
"Knowing the above characteristics are imperfections that defile the mind, a bhikkhu abandons it. When a bhikkhu has abandoned these defilements, he acquires perfect confidence in the Buddha thus: 'The Blessed One is accomplished, fully enlightened, perfect in true knowledge and conduct, sublime, knower of worlds, incomparable leader of persons to be tamed, teacher of gods and humans, enlightened, blessed.'
"He acquires perfect confidence in the Dhamma thus: 'The Dhamma is well proclaimed by the Blessed One, visible here and now, immediately effective, bidding you come and see, accessible and knowable individually by the wise.'
"He acquires perfect confidence in the Sangha thus: 'The Sangha of the Blessed One's disciples is practicing the good way, practicing the straight way, practicing the true way, practicing the proper way, that is, the four pairs of persons, the eight types of individuals; this Sangha of the Blessed One's disciples is worthy of gifts, worthy of hospitality, worthy of offerings, worthy of reverential salutation, the unsurpassed field of merit for the world.'
"When he has renounced, let go, abandoned and relinquished the imperfections of the mind in part, he considers thus: 'I am possessed of perfect confidence in the Buddha, the Dhamma and the sangha. He gains gladness connected with the Dhamma. When he is glad, rapture is born in him; the body becomes tranquil; he feels pleasure; the mind becomes concentrated. '
"Bhikkhus, if a bhikkhu of such virtue, such a state of concentration and such wisdom eats alms-food consisting of choice hill rice along with various sauces and curries, even that will be no obstacle for him. Just as a cloth that is defiled and stained becomes pure and bright with the help of clear water, or like gold becomes pure and bright with the help of a furnace. " "He abides pervading one quarter with a mind imbued with loving-kindness, likewise the second, likewise the third, likewise the fourth; so above, below, around, and everywhere, and to all as to himself, he abides pervading the all-encompassing world with a mind imbued with loving-kindness, immeasurable, without hostility and without ill will."
"He abides pervading one quarter with a mind imbued with compassion...with a mind imbued with appreciative joy...with a mind imbued with equanimity, likewise the second, likewise the third, likewise the fourth; so above, below, around, and everywhere, and to all as to himself, he abides pervading the all-encompassing world with a mind imbued with equanimity, immeasurable, without hostility and without ill will."
"He understands what exists, what is the inferior, there is the superior, and beyond there is an escape from this whole field of perception. When he knows and sees thus, his mind is liberated from the taint of sensual desire, from the taint of being, and from the taint of ignorance. When it is liberated there comes the knowledge: 'It is liberated.' He understands: 'Birth is destroyed, the holy life has been lived, what had to be done has been done, there is no more coming to any state of being.' This bhikkhu is called one bathed with the inner bathing."
Now on that occasion the brahmin Sundarika Bharadvaja was sitting not far from the Blessed One. Then he said to the Blessed One: "But does Master Gotama go to the Bahuka River to bathe?" Buddha: "Why, brahmin, go to the Bahuka River? What can the Bahuka River do?"
Brahmin: "Master Gotama, the Bahuka River is held by many to give liberation, it is held by many to give merit, and many wash away their evil actions in the Bahuka River." Then the Blessed One addressed the brahmin Sundarika Bharadvaja in verses: "Bahuka and Adhikakka, Gaya and Sundarika too, Payaga and Sarassati, And the stream Bahumati A fool may bathe there forever yet will not purify dark deeds.
What can the Sundarika bring to pass? What the Payaga? What the Bahuka? They cannot purify an evil-doer, A man who has done cruel and brutal deeds.
One pure in heart has evermore The Feast of Spring, the Holy Day; One fair in act, one pure in heart Brings his virtue to perfection.
It is here, brahmin, that you should bathe, To make yourself a refuge for all beings. And if you speak no falsehood, do not harm for living beings, Do not take what is not offered, With faith and free from avarice, What need for you to go to Gaya? For any well will be your Gaya."
When this was said, the brahmin Sundarika Bharadvaja said: "Magnificent, Master Gotama! Master Gotama has made the Dhamma clear in many Ways, as though he were turning upright what had been overthrown, revealing what was hidden, showing the way to one who was lost, or holding up a lamp in the dark for those with eyesight to see forms. I go to Master Gotama for refuge and to the Dhamma and to the Sangha of bhikkhus. I would receive the going forth under Master Gotama, I would receive the full admission."
Then the brahmin Sundarika Bharadvaja entered the monks order under the Blessed One. Then not long after his full admission, dwelling alone, withdrawn, diligent, ardent and resolute, the venerable Bharadvaja, by realizing for himself with direct knowledge, here and now entered upon and abide in that supreme goal of the holy life. He directly knew: "Birth is destroyed, the holy life has been lived, what had to be done has been done, there is no more coming to any state of being." And the venerable Bharadvaja became one of the arahants.
In summary, Buddha used the simile of the cloth to illustrate the 16 defilements of the mind: 1. Covetousness and unrighteous greed 2. Ill will 3. Anger 4. Revenge 5. Contempt 6. A domineering attitude 7. Envy 8. Avarice 9. Deceit 10. Fraud 11. Obstinacy 12. Presumption 13. Conceit 14. Arrogance 15. Vanity 16. Negligence
When one abandons these defilements, there will be unwavering faith in Buddha,Dhamma and sangha; then one who is virtuous, with concentration and wisdom who is equipped with a mind filled with loving kindness, compassion, sympathetic joy and equanimity will achieve goal of liberation ending the cycle of rebirth.
By WHH References: 1. www.accesstoinsight.org 2. https://suttacentral.net/ 3. The middle length discourses of the Buddha (Bhikkhu Bodhi)