do you know the simile of the lute:
Kindred Sayings' (IV, Salāyatana-vagga, Kindred Sayings on
Sense, Fourth Fifty, Ch.IV, par. 205, The Lute)
the sound of a lute has never been heard by a rājah or royal minister.
Then he hears the sound of a lute and says:
'Good man, pray, what is that sound so entrancing, so delightful,
so intoxicating, so ravishing, of such power to bind?'
Then they say to him :
'That, lord, is the sound of what is called a lute,
that sound so entrancing, so delightful,
so intoxicating, so ravishing, of such power to bind.'
Then he says: 'Go, my man. Fetch me that lute.'
So they fetch him that lute and say to him :
'This, lord, is that lute,
the sound of which is so entrancing... of such power to bind.'
Then he says: 'Enough of this lute, my man. Fetch me that sound.'
They say to him: 'This lute so called, lord,
consists of divers parts, a great number of parts.
It speaks because it is compounded of divers parts,
to wit, owing to the belly, owing to the parchment,
the handle, the frame, the strings,
owing to the bridge and proper effort of a player.
Thus, lord, this lute, so called,
consists of divers parts, of great number of parts.
It speaks because it is compounded of divers parts.'
Then that rājah breaks up that lute into ten or a hundred pieces.
Having done so, he splinters and splinters it again.
Having done so, he burns it in fire, then makes it a heap of ashes
and winnows the heap of ashes in a strong wind
or lets them be borne down by the swift stream of a river.
Then he says: 'A poor thing is what you call a lute,
a lute, my men, whatever a lute may be.
Herein the world is exceeding careless and led astray.'
Even so, monks,
a monk investigating body as far as there is scope for body,
investigating feeling, perception, the activities (sankhārakkhandha),
investigating consciousness, so far as there is scope for consciousness,
- -in all of these investigations,
whatever there be of 'I' or 'I am' or 'Mine',
there is none of that for him'.