What is the sutta that uses the following metaphor?

Firefly(Samsaric being) jumps into candlelight seeking a pleasure(Tanha), not knowing(Avijja) that the candlelight will burn the firefly to death(Samsaric Dukkha).

1 Answer 1


Ud 6.9 - Adhipataka Sutta: Like Moths to the Flame
translated from the Pali by Andrew Olendzki

“The insects are drawn irresistibly in the dark night to the shining lamps, but in their zeal to approach the light they go too far and only meet their doom. Humans likewise are drawn to the pleasures of the senses, to what is seen and heard, not realizing the dangers involved. When we get too close — when we hold on with too much attachment — we get burned by suffering. The senses can still be enjoyed, as the moth can stay circling the flame, but only when one holds the proper distance. This quality of "stepping back" or "standing off" from obsession with the senses is something that is cultivated with the practice of mindfulness meditation.”

  • Great job finding that sutta. I was not able to find it yesterday.
    – user2424
    Commented Jun 17, 2016 at 10:18
  • When the young monks of the Mahamevnawa explain to us these sermons in Sinhala, we never think of finding the English translations. Just now I looked into the story of "Katakirilli" - of the Hawk & the Quail (Saṃyutta Nikāya 47 - The Hawk). This is another exemplary story. suttacentral.net/en/sn47.6 Commented Jun 17, 2016 at 23:54

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