Once Ananda saw an archer perform extraordinary feats. He told the Buddha how much this had impressed him – and coming from the warrior caste, Ananda must have been temperamentally disposed to appreciate such displays of martial skill. The Buddha used this statement to draw an analogy. He said it was more difficult to understand and penetrate the Four Noble Truths than to hit and penetrate with an arrow a hair split seven times. (SN 56:45).
Another report says that Ananda once saw the famous brahmin Janussoni, a disciple of the Buddha, driving along in his glorious white chariot. he heard the people exclaim that the brahmin’s chariot was the most beautiful of all. Ananda reported this to the Buddha and asked him how one could describe the best chariot according to the Dhamma. The Buddha explained the vehicle to Nibbana by means of a detailed simile:
Faith and wisdom are the draught-animals, moral shame the brake, intellect the reins, mindfulness the charioteer, virtue the accessories, meditation the axle, energy the wheels, equanimity the balance, renunciation the chassis; the weapons are love, harmlessness, and solitude, and patience is its armour (SN 45:4).
Once the Buddha was in the village of Ekanala in Magadha. The rain had fallen and it was sowing time. In the early morning when the leaves were still wet with dew, the Buddha went to the field where Kasibharadvaja, a Brahmin and farmer, had five hundred ploughs at work. When the Blessed One arrived, it was the time to distribute food to the workers. The Buddha waited there for his alm food, but when the Brahmin saw him, he sneered, saying,
“I plough and sow, and having ploughed and sown, I eat. O ascetic, you should also plough and sow, and having ploughed and sown, you should eat.”
“O Brahmin, I too plough and sow. And having ploughed and sown, I eat,” replied the Buddha.
The puzzled Brahmin asked, “You claim that you plough and sow, but I do not see you ploughing?”
The Buddha replied:
“I sow faith as the seeds.
My discipline is the rain.
My wisdom is my yoke and plough.
My modesty is the plough-head.
The mind is the rope.
Mindfulness is the ploughshare and the goad.
“I am restrained in deeds, words and food.
I do my weeding with truthfulness.
The bliss I get is my freedom from suffering.
With perserverence I bear my yoke until I come to Nibbana.
Thus I have done my ploughing.
It brings the fruit of immortality.
By ploughing like this, one escapes from all suffering.”