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?
"Having understood name-and-form, which is a product of prolificity,
And which is the root of all malady within and without,
He is released from bondage to the root of all maladies,
That Such-like-one is truly known as 'the one who has understood'." (Snp 3.6)
"Whether I were to preach in brief, Sāriputta, or whether I were to preach in detail, Sāriputta, or whether I were to preach both in brief or in detail, Sāriputta, rare are those who understand." (A I 333, Sāriputtasutta)