Parables and similies

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A parable (upamàkathà) is a brief story told to make a moral point and a simile (upamà) is a figure of speech that compares one thing with another for didactic purposes.

Being a teacher of remarkable creativity and skill, the Buddha was a master of the use of parables and similes. When asked a question the Buddha would often say before replying, ‘I shall give you a simile, because some smart people understand better by means of a simile’ (S.II,114). The Jàtaka is a collection of parables told by the Buddha. Throughout the Sutta Pitaka there are roughly 300 similes, many of then ingenious, apt and memorable.