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who, me, a greedy monkey?

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Here’s an old story of how excessive attachment can cause suffering while–all the while–relief is within reach. 

monkey“Vijay, it’s time to prepare the monkey traps,” said my uncle. “Monkey traps?” I asked. Tito, my uncle’s odd-job-man, was sitting on the deck, seaman’s knife in hand, amidst a heap of green coconuts. “Keep the hole small,” my uncle shouted over my shoulder, “and hollow the coconut well.” Each hollowed-out coconut was filled with a mixture of boiled rice and fruit through the small hole. Then the coconut was chained to a stake, which was driven firmly into the ground. And then we hid in the bushes in silence.

Suddenly there was rattling sound. A monkey was struggling, one hand trapped inside the coconut. My uncle put his arm around my shoulder and, “Vijay, you know why the monkey gets trapped? Because of its greed.” He picked up a hollowed-out coconut and said, “Look at this hole. It is just big enough so that the monkey’s hand can go in, but too small for full fist filled with rice to come out. Because his greed won’t allow him to let go of the rice and take out his hand, the monkey remains trapped, a victim of his own greed.”


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