The discourse of the Buddha on the Snake Simile (Alagaddupama Sutta) that is presented here, together with explanatory notes taken mostly from the commentarial literature, is the 22nd text in the “Collection of Discourses of Medium Length” (Majjhima Nikaya).
It is a text rich of contents and graced by many similes. At the very beginning there is a sequence of ten pithy similes on the perils of sense desires; then follows the simile on correctly or wrongly getting hold of a snake (from which our text derives its name); further, and still better known, the parable of the raft; and finally the simile of the vegetation of the Jeta Grove.
The evocative power of these similes will strengthen the impact of the sutta’s message, in him who ponders on them deeply and repeatedly.
The main concern of this discourse is to warn against misconceptions, misrepresentations and dilution of the Teaching.
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You yourselves must strive, the Buddhas only point the wayBuddha, Dhp 276