Similes and classic Dhamma stories in practice

Theravāda in the 21st century - modern applications of ancient wisdom
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retrofuturist
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Similes and classic Dhamma stories in practice

Postby retrofuturist » Fri May 22, 2009 1:42 am

Greetings,

I thought it might be interesting to find out which Dhamma similes people have found useful in their actual practice.

For example, the taming of the wild elephant... I've been using this simile lately to centre myself and try to prevent the mind wandering of in streams of papanca. I hope to tame this elephant and make it give up on escape (into the realm of sensory pleasures).

Another simile I've found useful in the past is the one about balancing of bowl of oil on your head, whilst there's entertainments all round, and villains waiting to slit your throat if you spill a drop.

Mara as a personification of evil and unwholesomeness also seems like a useful device, though I've not used it often and it doesn't quite classify as a simile.

Has anyone else found a practical application for any of the classic Dhamma similes?

:buddha2:

Metta,
Retro. :)
"When we transcend one level of truth, the new level becomes what is true for us. The previous one is now false. What one experiences may not be what is experienced by the world in general, but that may well be truer. (Ven. Nanananda)

“I hope, Anuruddha, that you are all living in concord, with mutual appreciation, without disputing, blending like milk and water, viewing each other with kindly eyes.” (MN 31)

Never again...

MMK23
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Re: Similes and classic Dhamma stories in practice

Postby MMK23 » Fri May 22, 2009 6:09 am

Hey Retro :-)

I thought I would be a bit cheeky and share a favourite elephant simile of my own :-)

From the vimuttimagga:

A walker in infatuation, who has not gathered wisdom, should not work at any subject of meditation, because of his lack of skill. Owing to lack of skill, his efforts will be fruitless. It is comparable to a man who rides an elephant without a goad.


;) But seriously. This is also highly related to my experience and has led me to a belief in the most serious harnessing of the ego prior to meditation.

:bow:

MMK23

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piotr
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Re: Similes and classic Dhamma stories in practice

Postby piotr » Fri May 22, 2009 4:13 pm

Hi,

I like the simile of the path which leads to the park (S. 51:15). Its message goes against the current of popular belief that actual practice requires abandonment of desire to practice. I find it very useful.
Bhagavaṃmūlakā no, bhante, dhammā...

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kc2dpt
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Re: Similes and classic Dhamma stories in practice

Postby kc2dpt » Fri May 22, 2009 5:38 pm

Leper simile. Magandiya Suta?
Reminds me that I am very deluded about the nature of pleasure.
- Peter

Be heedful and you will accomplish your goal.

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David N. Snyder
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Re: Similes and classic Dhamma stories in practice

Postby David N. Snyder » Sat May 23, 2009 4:27 am

One of my favorites is the Blind Sea Turtle (who only comes up for air once every 50,000 years or so and the likelihood that she puts her head through a relatively small hoop being the likelihood of being re-born human again).

A great reminder to keep at the practice and not to put it off for some next great fix of entertainment, etc.

Max Nanasy
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Re: Similes and classic Dhamma stories in practice

Postby Max Nanasy » Fri Feb 06, 2015 2:17 am

The poisoned arrow simile reminds me that Buddhist theory is useless without Buddhist practice, and that theory that's not relatable to practice is usually not very useful at all.

"It's just as if a man were wounded with an arrow thickly smeared with poison. His friends & companions, kinsmen & relatives would provide him with a surgeon, and the man would say, 'I won't have this arrow removed until I know whether the man who wounded me was a noble warrior, a brahman, a merchant, or a worker.' He would say, 'I won't have this arrow removed until I know the given name & clan name of the man who wounded me... until I know whether he was tall, medium, or short... until I know whether he was dark, ruddy-brown, or golden-colored... until I know his home village, town, or city... until I know whether the bow with which I was wounded was a long bow or a crossbow... until I know whether the bowstring with which I was wounded was fiber, bamboo threads, sinew, hemp, or bark... until I know whether the shaft with which I was wounded was wild or cultivated... until I know whether the feathers of the shaft with which I was wounded were those of a vulture, a stork, a hawk, a peacock, or another bird... until I know whether the shaft with which I was wounded was bound with the sinew of an ox, a water buffalo, a langur, or a monkey.' He would say, 'I won't have this arrow removed until I know whether the shaft with which I was wounded was that of a common arrow, a curved arrow, a barbed, a calf-toothed, or an oleander arrow.' The man would die and those things would still remain unknown to him.
Last edited by Max Nanasy on Fri Feb 06, 2015 3:00 am, edited 1 time in total.
Metta :heart:

alan
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Re: Similes and classic Dhamma stories in practice

Postby alan » Fri Feb 06, 2015 2:38 am

The post which many animals are tethered to, each wanting to go to their own desires.
(Many of these are found in one section of the SN.)


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