Forum Post: Lessons towards a new Earth - Part 2
Posted 11 years ago on Oct. 16, 2011, 5:37 p.m. EST by thejunkie
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Licking honey from a razor blade: The Buddha also compared the pleasures of the senses to a greedy person who tries to lick sweet tasting honey from a razor blade and suffers from the ensuing wounds and infection of his tongue.
Denizens of hell blundering back into the fires of hell: The Buddha also compared indulging the pleasures of the senses to denizens of hell fooled into thinking they have reached a place that is a sanctuary from the suffering of hell, but instead are dropped anew into hell's fires.
A man who falls in love with an ogress: The Buddha also compared indulging the pleasures of the senses to a man who falls in love and co-habits with an ogress who he takes for a human maiden (but who will later become her victim).
A crow feeding from a floating elephant carcass: The Buddha also compared indulging the pleasures of the senses to a crow feeding from a floating elephant carcass who takes it for dry land (that will never sink) and is so concerned with feeding that the carcass floats so far out to sea that the crow cannot fly home, and eventually drowns from its folly.
This last metaphor clearly illustrates how no benefit can be found by indulging in sensual pleasure. All these dangers of indulging in sensual pleasures are the reason why the Buddha taught in the Dhammacakkapavattana Sutta that those leading the monastic life must avoid the extreme of indulging in sensual pleasure.
Furthermore, in the Mahaadukkhakhanda Sutta (The Greater Discourse on the Stems of Suffering) (M.i.83ff.), delivered at Savatthi, the Buddha expounds the dangers of sensual indulgence, in detail which exceeds even that of the Dhammacakkapavattana Sutta.
"O! Monks! What is indulgence of the senses? The senses are five, namely: images seen with the eyes, sounds heard with the ears, aromas smelled with the nose, savours tasted with the tongue, physical touch registered by the body. The indulgence of these five senses is of a nature to tempt us to attachment. O! Monks! The pleasures and enjoyment which come from sense contact are what we call the indulgence of the senses.
O! Monks! What are the dangers of sensual indulgence? The people of this world earn their livelihood in many ways: for example, some are farmers, some run businesses, some tend dairy cattle, some are soldiers, some are civil servants, some are elephant trainers, some are horse trainers. No matter which way one earns one's living, one has to endure hardship. In the winter one has to tolerate the cold while working. In the summer one has to tolerate the warmth while working. Sometimes one has to tolerate the humidity. One's skin becomes chapped in the wind and the sun. Sometimes, one has to tolerate pests such as gadflies, mosquitos and other biting insects. Sometimes one is threatened by poisonous animals such as snakes. Sometimes one becomes emaciated because one lacks sufficient means of physical support.
O! Monks! Whether one earns one's livelihood by arts or by sciences, one cannot avoid the hardships imposed by nature. All these are the dangers of sensual indulgence - the manifestation of suffering as we meet it in our lives - all coming as the result of our wish to indulge the senses. Whenever a person strives to earn a living, to do business, but does not achieve the success he requires, he will be disappointed, laments that he deserved more after all his efforts, that it is not befitting that he should make a loss, be without benefit - but it is all due to indulgence of the sense pleasures.
Even though a person makes a success of earning his living and becomes wealthy, it is not an end to his suffering - because now he must worry about how to protect his wealth from being taken away in taxes, taken away by robbers, damaged by fire, damaged by flooding, taken away by enemies - so his suffering continues.
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