Buddha’s Parable of
five Creatures Tied With Rope
“Uttara, a disciple of the vedic scholar Parasara approaches Gautama Buddha and tells him that aspirants such as himself have been instructed to practise self-control by withdrawing their sense-organs from the outside world so that the senses of Touch, Sound, Sight, Taste and Smell may be curbed.
“The Enlightened One instructs Uttara, ‘In our Method we accord training to understand and quieten the Mind on which alone impact pleasure-and-pain sensations acquired by the senses. A rope is utilised to tie up a crocodile, a fox, a dog, a snake and a bird, one next to the other. If the end of the rope is let go, what would happen? Will not the crocodile seek to go towards the swamp, the fox to the forest, the dog to the village, the viper to the grassland and the bird towards the sky? In the result, the strongest of the five would drag the other four and the rope too in its direction.
“Suppose now you tie the end of the rope securely to a stone-pillar. The creatures will still strive to stray but finding their efforts fruitless, quieten down after a while.
“Know then, Uttara, that in this parable the five creatures are the five senses and the rope is the Mind. Tie the rope to the Source and Origin of the Universe which Vedantins call the Brahman. The senses will now have no option but to subside and come under discipline.
“This is the Noble Method, Uttara. Try it and adopt it if it suits you; and not because I recommend it.
“Such were the Teachings of Gautama Buddha. They were no sermons but only conditional counsel. If you want something you do not have at the present moment, you should agree to some condition in order to secure it. You have the fullest freedom to go otherwise.
“Self-Effort is what the Great One insisted upon. His advice comes with the authority of Self-Experience.
“May we be diligent followers of the Path if we value our inner Peace and Happiness.”