Once upon a time, there were many monkeys that lived in this forest. The monkeys constantly went into the nearby village to steal food, causing the villagers to become very angry. The villagers did not know what to do with the monkeys. One day they held a meeting amongst all the villagers and decided to send a hunter after the monkeys. The hunter that was assigned to hunt down the monkeys chased after the monkeys. After a very long time of chasing after it, there was still no luck. For the monkeys were all too clever, and would run fast, climb trees, and jump from tree to tree. It was nearly impossible for the hunter to capture any of them. The monkeys were merely too quick for the hunter.
Just as the hunter was about to give up, a wise old man gave him some instructions on how to capture the monkeys. He was told to get a rope, coconut, and some peanuts. Following the old man’s instructions, the hunter cut a portion of the top of the coconut, leaving a small hole in the center just big enough for a monkey to fit its hand in. He then placed the peanuts inside the hole and tied the coconut to the tree with the rope. Since it was getting late, he then called it a night and went home to get some rest.
The next morning when the hunter woke up, he went to check on his coconut. Just as the old wise man had advised him, a monkey was still there running around the tree in a circle with his hand stuck inside of the coconut. After witnessing such a consequence, the rest of the monkeys in the forest then learned a very harsh lesson to not steal food from the villagers. Who caught the monkey?
Once the monkey had stuck its hand in the coconut to retrieve the peanuts, when it tightened its fingers around the peanuts, its fist became larger than the hole. Therefore, its hand was stuck in the coconut. Since the monkey was greedy and did not want to let go of the peanuts, the hunter was easily able to grab hold of it. If it had not been greedy for the peanuts, it would’ve been able to run free. The hunter was not actually the one that caught the monkey, because he was sleeping the whole night. In the end, it was the monkey that imprisoned itself to the tree due to his own greed.
Because of such greed, the monkey drew an attachment to the peanut. With such an attachment, he caused himself suffering. People with many attachments have a lot of suffering. If a person suffers a lot, it causes them to drown in the “ocean of suffering”.