Posted by: Upāsaka | 10/07/2015

A Bowl Full of Oil

280. “Suppose a crowd were to flock together, crying: ‘The fairest girl in the land, the fairest girl in the land!’ And that girl, displaying all her charms, would dance and sing for them and a still greater crowd would gather. Then suppose a man came along, fond of life, not liking death, fond of happiness, averse to pain, and they were to say to him: ‘See here, my man, here’s a bowl brimful of oil. You must carry it around amongst the crowd. Behind you will come a man with an uplifted sword, and if you spill a drop, off comes your head.’ Now, what do you think? Would that man, neglecting the bowl, turn his attention to outside things and grow slack?”
“Surely not, Lord.”
“Well, this is a parable I have made for your understanding, and this is its meaning. The bowl brimful of oil is a term for mindfulness of the body. So, this is how you should train yourself: “We shall cultivate mindfulness of the body, we shall make much of it, make it a vehicle, establish it, make it effective. It shall be increased and well applied.”

Samyutta Nikaya V.169

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