Meat Stuck in Your Teeth, Ajahn Chah
Sensual desire is something hard to escape from. It’s no different from eating meat and getting a piece of meat stuck in your teeth. Boy, does it hurt! Even before you finish the meal, you have to take a toothpick to get it out. Once it’s out, you feel relieved for a while and you don’t want to eat meat anymore. But when more meat comes your way, another piece gets stuck in your teeth. You take it out again and you feel relieved again. That’s all there is to sensual desire: nothing more than a piece of meat stuck in your teeth. You feel agitated and settled, and then you get it out of your system in whatever way. You don’t understand what it’s all about. It’s crazy.
A Frog on the Hook
Animals caught in traps and snares suffer. They’re tied down, strapped down tight. All they can do is wait for the hunter to come and get them. Like a bird caught in a snare: the snare pulls at its neck, and no matter how much it struggles, it can’t get free. It keeps struggling, thrashing back and forth, but it’s trapped. All it can do is wait for the hunter. When the hunter comes, that’s it. That’s Mara.
Our snares are sights, sounds smells, tastes, tactile sensations, and ideas. They tie us down. When we’re attached to sights, sounds, smells, tastes, tactile sensations, and ideas, we’re like a fish on a hook, waiting for the fisherman to come. No matter how much we struggle, we can’t get away. Actually, we’re worse off than a fish on a hook. We’re more like a frog on a hook—for when a frog swallows a hook, it goes all the way down to its gut. When a fish swallows a hook, it goes only as far as its mouth.
These reflections by Ajahn Chah are from the book, Ajahn Chah In Simple Terms, pp. 16-17.