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The Buddha tells us that sights, sounds, smells, tastes, tactile sensations, and ideas are poisonous.

It’s like a man with a strong thirst from having traveled a long way. He asks for water, but the person with the water tells him, “You can drink this water if you want. Its color is good, its smell is good, its flavor is good, but it’s poisonous, I want you to know. It can poison you to death or give you pains like death.” But the thirsty man won’t listen because he’s so thirsty.

Or like a person after surgery. He’s been told by the doctors not to drink water, but he asks for water to drink.

A person thirsty for sensuality is like this: thirsty for sights, thirsty for sounds, for smells, for tastes, all of which are poisonous.

The Buddha tells us that sights, sounds, smells, tastes, tactile sensations, and ideas are poisonous. They’re traps. But we don’t listen to him. Like the man thirsty for water who won’t listen to the warning because his thirst is so great: No matter how much trouble or pain he’ll get into, all he asks is for water to drink. He doesn’t care if, after he drinks the water, he’ll die or suffer pains like death. As soon as he gets his hand on a glass, he keeps on drinking. A person thirsty for sensuality drinks in sights, drinks in sounds, drinks in smells, drinks in tastes, drinks in tactile sensations, drinks in ideas. They seem delicious, so he keeps on drinking them in. He can’t stop. He’ll drink them in until he dies — caught in the act, right in the middle of sensuality.

Venerable Ajahn Chah

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