I believe there is a sutta in which the Buddha uses an example of whittling or carving a piece of wood to describe the process of refocusing your mind in meditation. What is this sutta?

2 Answers 2


My person does not reminde on a sutta taking the whittling of wood as a sample (for now), but a good simile of Ajahn Chah, which transports the message that if one does not make the basics, like generosity, virtue, the 7 treasures complete, it does not make much sense to meditate. Like:

Making Tables & Chairs

It's good to make the mind pure and at peace, but it's hard. You have to start with the externals — your bodily actions and words — and work your way in. The path that leads to purity, to being a contemplative, is a path that can wash away greed, anger, and delusion. You have to exercise restraint and self-control, which is why it's hard — but so what if it's hard?

It's like taking wood to make a table or make a chair. It's hard, but so what if it's hard? The wood has to go through that process. Before it can become a table or a chair, we have to go through the coarse and heavy stages.

It's the same with us. We have to become skillful where we aren't yet skillful, admirable where we aren't yet admirable, competent where we aren't yet competent.

[Note: This is a gift of Dhamma, not meant for commercial purpose or other low wordily gain by means of trade and exchange]


I am not sure that these are what you asking for.

  • Maha-Malunkya Sutta: Insight Meditation To Be Anāgāmi-Ariya


  • Maha Saropama Sutta: The Longer Heartwood-simile Discourse


  • Angulimala Sutta: About Angulimala


  • 1
    Please also quote the relevant fragment (sentence or paragraph) from the sutta.
    – ChrisW
    Commented Oct 14, 2017 at 9:41

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