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September 2020
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5-10-2007-Spiritual Community of The True Followers of The Path Shown by The Awakened One-Index of Similes
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Chulmani Chedi in Heaven
Celetial beings hover in the sky. Sakka, in green skin, kneels by a monk to hear the preaching. The central theme of the painting is the Chulmani Chedi (stupa) in the middle of an octagonal shaped courtyard. Aside from the natural pigments used in this painting, the figures and the chedi are also gilded with gold leaf giving the picture a subtle richness.

19th Century, Bangkok Period
Natural pigments on teak wood
Original teak wood frame
Size: 80 cm (ht.) x 60 cm (width)

Index of Similes

This is a partial index of the similes and metaphors that appear in the suttas available at Access to Insight. Only the imagery that illustrates points of Dhamma is included here; imagery that serves primarily a literary or narrative function is not included (e.g., Ambapali’s description of her long-lost youthful beauty). The subject of each image is given in the braces {}. The tilde (~) stands for the head-word in a given entry.

Suttas without hyperlinks are those not currently available at Access to Insight; they are included here only for reference.


A [go up]

B [go up]

  • Bamboo: destroyed by its own fruit {evil} Dhp 164, Iti 50; spreading {solitude in the wilderness} Sn 1.3
  • Bathman or bathman’s apprentice {rapture of 1st jhana} DN 2, DN 11, DN 12, MN 39, MN 119, AN 5.28
  • Bandits {external sense media} SN 35.197
  • Barley reaper {defilements} Miln II.1.8
  • Beast of burden {persistence} Sn 1.4
  • Beauty queen {mindfulness} SN 47.20
  • Bee gathering nectar {sage} Dhp 49
  • Bird: escaping from net {rarity of heavenly birth} Dhp 174; leaving no track {arahant} Dhp 92; sighting shore {seeking the Buddha; meaning of Tathagata} DN 11, AN 6.54; spattered with dirt {mindfulness} SN 9.1; with wings as its only burden {contentment} DN 2, DN 11
  • Blindness {ignorance} MN 75
  • Blind men: row of {ignorance} MN 95; and the elephant {ignorance} Ud 6.4
  • Blind sea-turtle poking his head up through a yoke {rarity of human birth} MN 129, SN 56.48
  • Boat being bailed out {defilements} Dhp 369
  • Bog {sensuality} Sn 4.15
  • Boil, festering {the body} AN 9.15
  • Boiling the River Ganges {speech} MN 21
  • Bones: chain or heap {sensuality} MN 54, AN 5.76; mountain {length of samsara} Iti 24
  • Bottomless chasm {painful feeling} SN 36.4
  • Boulder thrown into lake {kamma} SN 42.6
  • Bowl of poison {passion} Thig 14
  • Branch, man grasping a {self-view} AN 4.178
  • Bubble on water {appropriate attention} SN 22.95
  • Bull: born into a herd of cattle {arahant} AN 5.179; yoked to a load {endurance} Thag 14.2. See also Cow.
  • Burning ghee or oil {meditation on the fire property} Ud 8.9, Ud 8.10
  • Burning grass or leaves {not-self} SN 35.101
  • Burning refuge {dukkha} Sn 3.8
  • Butcher or butcher’s apprentice: {meditation on the four properties} DN 22, MN 119; {trance of non-breathing} MN 36. See also Bull, Cow.
  • Butcher of goats {kamma} AN 3.99
  • Butter from water{wrong view} MN 126

C [go up]

D [go up]

E [go up]

F [go up]

G [go up]

H [go up]

I [go up]

J [go up]

K [go up]

L [go up]

M [go up]

  • Magic show {the body} Thig 14
  • Magician {consciousness} SN 22.95
  • Man: burning different kinds of wood {persistence and exertion} MN 90; carrying burning grass torch {sensuality} MN 54; pursuing a woman {unworthy teacher} DN 12; repaid by king {feeling} Miln II.3.9; returning home after long absence {kamma} Dhp 219; seeking heartwood {seeking the Buddha} MN 18, MN 138; seeking heartwood {appropriate attention} SN 22.95; seeking heartwood {not-self} SN 35.193; with borrowed goods {sensuality} MN 54;
  • Man & woman in love {desire}“: MN 101
  • Meat thrown into a fire {brevity of life} AN 7.70
  • Merchant with caravan {avoiding evil} Dhp 123
  • Middle of the sea {stillness of mind} Sn 4.14
  • Milk: {evil deed} Dhp 71; from a cow {self-view} DN 9; from a cow’s horn {wrong view} MN 126. See also Cow.
  • Mirage: {the body} Dhp 46, Thig 14; {perception} SN 22.95
  • Mire, person stuck in the {ignorance} MN 8
  • Mirror of the Dhamma {stream-entry} DN 16
  • Money {uposatha observance} AN 10.46
  • Monkey: caught in tar trap {mindfulness} SN 47.7; in forest {heedlessness} Dhp 334; swinging from branch to branch {untrained in Dhamma; inconstancy of mind} SN 12.61, Sn 4.4
  • Moon: {arahant} Dhp 413; {good will} Iti 27 (a), (b); {heedfulness} AN 10.15; {jhana} Dhp 387; full {arahant} Thig 1.3; set free from a cloud {heedfulness, skillfulness} Dhp 172, Dhp 382, Iti 74; waning {unvirtuous person} DN 31, SN 5.10; waxing {virtuous person} DN 31;
  • Morning star {good will} Iti 27
  • Mother risking life for child {good will} Sn 1.8
  • Mountain: of gold {sensuality} SN 4.20; of solid rock {arahant} Ud 3.4, Thag 14.1 of solid rock {imperturbability} AN 6.55; of solid rock {restraint} Dhp 7;
  • Mountains crushing in from all directions {brevity of life} SN 3.25
  • Mules, tamed {self-tamed person} Dhp 322
  • Muñja grass {resolve and determination} Sn 3.2
  • Mural painted on wall {the body} Thig 14
  • Murderer with sword: {disenchantment} AN 6.103; {heedfulness} AN 7.46
  • Mustard seed: {passion} Dhp 407; {sensuality} Dhp 401. (Note: the famous parable in which the Buddha instructs a grieving Kisa Gotami to fetch a mustard seed from the first household she can find that has never known death is found in the Commentaries to Thig 10.1 (ThigA X.1) and Dhp 114.)

N [go up]

  • Noise from a soft catskin bag {speech} MN 21

O [go up]

  • Ocean: an abode for mighty creatures {Dhamma-vinaya} Ud 5.5; crossing over the {arahant} Iti 69; slope of ~ floor {progress of Dhamma practice} Ud 5.5; greatness of {stream-entry} SN 13.8; intolerance to dead bodies {unvirtuous person} Ud 5.5; many treasures of {37 wings to awakening} Ud 5.5; middle of ~ is calm {stillness of mind} Sn 4.14; polluted by a pot of poison {abuse towards the Tathagata} Iti 89; salty taste of {release} Ud 5.5; stability of {restraint of the Vinaya} Ud 5.5; steady level of {nibbana} Ud 5.5. See also Flood.
  • Oil from gravel {wrong view} MN 126
  • Oil lamp: depends on wick and fuel {feeling} SN 36.7; flickering of {six senses} MN 146
  • Ornament of gold {arahant} AN 4.28
  • Ox: {suffering} Dhp 1; {person who doesn’t listen} Dhp 152; eating corn {sensuality} SN 35.205; joined by a single yoke {sense-bases and their objects} SN 35.191

P [go up]

Q [go up]

  • Quail snared by a rotten creeper {attachments} MN 66

R [go up]

S [go up]

T [go up]

  • Tall building in central square {passing away and re-appearance of beings} DN 2, DN 11, DN 12, MN 39
  • Tangle: SN 7.6
  • Tangled skein {craving} AN 4.199
  • Tank filled with water {supranormal powers} AN 5.28
  • Tendon in fire {perception of the unattractive} AN 7.46
  • Thief shot with spears {consciousness} SN 12.63
  • Thoroughbred. See Horse.
  • Thundercloud: {conviction} SN 3.24; {discernment} AN 4.102
  • Tortoise evading a jackal {sense-restraint} SN 35.199
  • Track of ox {kamma} Dhp 1
  • Trades. See Crafts and Trades.
  • Trader watching over a fine steed {self-training} Dhp 380
  • Trail in space {arahant} Dhp 254
  • Travel: from village to village {recollection of past lives} DN 2, DN 11, DN 12, MN 39; in desolate country {hindrances} DN 2, DN 11, DN 12, MN 39
  • Treasure, doorways leading to {doors to the Deathless} MN 52, AN 11.17
  • Tree: changing {inconstancy} MN 146; gold {the body} Thig 14; growing back after having been cut {craving} Dhp 338; growing on mountain {craving} AN 3.48; haven for birds {conviction} AN 5.38; killed by vine {vice} Dhp 162, {three unskillful roots} AN 3.69; leaning to the east {virtue} SN 55.22; overcome by wind {restraint} Dhp 7; pliant {the mind} AN 1.47; shedding its leaves {solitude in the wilderness} Sn 1.3 (a, b); with delicious fruit {sensuality} MN 54; with roots cut {aggregates} Thig 5.8
  • Tuning a stringed instrument {right effort} AN 6.55
  • Turban or head on fire, person with {aroused persistence} AN 6.20 (a, b), AN 10.51, Thag 1.39
  • Turban tightening around one’s head {pain} MN 36
  • Turner or turner’s apprentice {mindfulness} DN 22
  • Turtle lanced by harpoon {the perils of fame} SN 17.3
  • Tusker: see Elephant.

U [go up]

V [go up]

  • Village: empty {internal sense media} SN 35.197; leaving one’s {jhana} MN 105
  • Vine: creeping {craving} Dhp 334; killing a tree {vice} Dhp 162
  • Vipers {elements} SN 35.197
  • Vomit, person eating his or her own {fetters} MN 105
  • Vulture forced to drop his prey {sensuality} MN 54

W [go up]

XYZ [go up]


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