Catching a Monkey

by admin Apr 6, 2007 2 Comments

Filed under: Stories

It has been so long since I posted something on here, looks like my Karmadude mojo has started to wear off. So, in the hope of getting back to blogging on here again, here is a little story about how South Indians used to catch monkeys using a coconut. I came across this story used as an example for, How can attachment bring us suffering, in an article about The Four Noble Truths.

One takes a coconut and makes a hole in it, just large enough that a monkey can squeeze its hand in. Next, tie the coconut down, and put a sweet inside. What happens next is pure attachment. The monkey smells the sweet, puts his hand into the coconut, grabs the sweet and … the hole is too small to let a fist out of the coconut. The last thing a monkey would consider is to let go of the sweet, so it is literally tied down by its own attachment. Often they only let go when they fall asleep or become unconscious because of exhaustion.

If I were the monkey and my laptop the sweet, I could totally be the monkey that gets caught!



  • Tracy

    Apr 9, 2007 | 8:32 am

    Thanks for a reminder of childhood, and a lesson learned. Where I grew up in Africa, boys would catch monkeys by using a hollowed out melon, and putting something in it that the monkeys wanted. As a newcomer to Buddhism, I am trying to learn non-attachment, this story illustrated it beautifully for me!

  • KarmaDude

    Apr 9, 2007 | 8:53 am

    @Tracy, I had a feeling this technique for catching monkeys applied to other places too. Thanks for sharing your childhood memory.

    Even though the story is an example for how attachment can bring us suffering, I wonder if attachment is a necessary natural instinct for survival? Could suppressing it lead to more suffering, especially the attachments necessary for survival?

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