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Those Bound by the Senses are Destroyed by the Senses

There are a vast number of sense objects in the world, but you should see to it that your senses do not come into contact with too many of these. They are all impermanent things. By becoming captivated with small things your whole life becomes small and impure. You can see this in a number of living beings which are victims of one or two senses. For example, when a deer hears some melodious music, it becomes fascinated by it and can easily be captured. Therefore, a deer is bound by sound. A huge elephant can be controlled through the sense of touch and therefore becomes bound by touch. In this way a number of animals can be bound and controlled through different sense organs. Take for example a moth. When it sees light it gets strongly attracted to it; it becomes bound by the light and may be destroyed by it. In a similar way, a fish will swallow the bait and gets caught because it is bound by taste. And a bee will enter a flower and be bound by the power of smell; there it can get trapped for the night when the flower closes its petals.

Each one of these beings is bound by one of the sense organs; but man is bound by all five of them and, therefore, he is even more vulnerable than all these animals. Here is a small story:

Once upon a time a great sage undertook a tour of the country. He considered each one of the five elements as his teacher. Once he happened to go to the shore of the ocean; he was enjoying the waves and the various aspects of the ocean. As he was watching, along came a wave and brought some debris to the shore. He noticed that the moment any dross fell into the ocean the waves came and pushed it back out. The sage thought to himself, 'Why should the ocean which is so deep and vast find it necessary to throw out this little bit of filth? Could it not allow even such a small impurity to remain with it?' Then he went into meditation. In that meditation he understood that if the ocean were to allow any impurities to stay in its waters, these impurities would accumulate day by day and, in time, cover the whole ocean and pollute it. He decided that the ocean must have resolved not to allow any debris or impurity to come into it from the very beginning; in that way it had been able to remain clean and pure.

In the same way, right from the start, you should see to it that impure thoughts and ideas do not enter your mind, even in a small way. Not even the minutest impurity should be allowed to enter your heart. Before such an impurity can establish a foothold, you must immediately throw it out. If you give room to it, thinking that after all it is only a very insignificant thing and it cannot really harm you, then it will start growing in the heart. Therefore, if you understand the functioning of the senses and learn to limit them to the right use for which they were intended, then you will be able to benefit from them and not be disturbed by them. If instead, you allow the senses to rule you and bind you, neither joy nor peace of mind will be yours. Here is another small story to illustrate this.