A master took his 2 students into a forest. There he took a hollow coconut with a small hole and inserted sweet rice. Then he tied it to a tree and waited with his student nearby.
Soon, a monkey came along, sniffed the rice, inserted his paw, and screeched in frustration when he was unable to withdraw his paw (now a fist clenching the rice) through the narrow opening.
'Let go of the rice, silly! Run!' screamed the students, amazed by its obvious stupidity... but to no avail.
'What was the trap that caught the monkey?' asked the master.
'Rice,' said one student.
'The coconut,' said another.
'No,' replied the wise master, 'The trap was greed - he only had to let go of his attachment to be free. Likewise, we are the ones who trap ourselves. We are always responsible. The real trap is always within, not out there. The causes of suffering are in us. External situations are only conditions.'
With that, he hacked the coconut open... and the unrepentant monkey ran away with a fistful of rice.
'He won't be so lucky every time. This is how they catch monkeys here! Don't be like him! Am I being compassionate trying to teach the monkey and you this lesson? But did he really learn? What is in your monkey fist that you still hold on to?'
Thank you for visiting!