I’m looking for a comprehensive list of Buddhist similes which involve gardening. Anyone aware of a taxonomy/folksonomy of Buddhist similes? If not, a comprehensive list would be a useful starting point.
I’m not aware of a comprehensive list, especially since gardening isn’t really a word we find in the suttas much. Or are you interested in agriculture in general? Or plant growth in general? Are there similes that you know about that you could share to give us a better idea?
Here is the Index of similies on SuttaCentral: https://suttacentral.net/similes
Are you talking about things like this from the Kakacūpamasutta, MN 21?
Suppose that not far from a town or village there was a large grove of sal trees that was choked with castor-oil weeds. Then along comes a person who wants to help protect and nurture that grove. They’d cut down the crooked sal saplings that were robbing the sap, and throw them out. They’d clean up the interior of the grove, and properly care for the straight, well-formed sal saplings. In this way, in due course, that sal grove would grow, increase, and mature.
In the same way, mendicants, you too should give up what’s unskillful and devote yourselves to skillful qualities. In this way you’ll achieve growth, improvement, and maturity in this teaching and training.
Yes, anything remotely agri|horticultural.
The index of similes is useful, thanks. The Dhammapada links appear to be dead though:
Sadly, the links don’t work now, but if you look at the link, it is to the verse number. In the main Dhammapada page, it shows the verse range for each chapter.
I’d actually recommend just reading the Dhammapada start to finish as it’s short and you may find several similies not on the list.
Although it’s not a list of similes, you for sure will be interested in Nature and the Environment in Early Buddhism by Ven. S. Dhammika. (PDF) It’s basically an encyclopedia of every plant and animal in the suttas.
Ahh good, that allows one of my favourite suttas, Urgent (Accāyikasutta) AN 3.92:
“Mendicants, a farmer has three urgent duties. What three? A farmer swiftly makes sure the field is well ploughed and tilled. Next they swiftly plant seeds in season. When the time is right, they swiftly irrigate or drain the field. These are the three urgent duties of a farmer. That farmer has no special power or ability to say: ‘Let the crops germinate today! Let them flower tomorrow! Let them ripen the day after!’ But there comes a time when that farmer’s crops germinate, flower, and ripen as the seasons change.
These three duties are allegories for developing the training in higher ethics (the well-tilled field), higher mind (the seed), and higher wisdom (properly irrigated fields). These are the conditions required to be in place that will naturally lead to the flourishing of the crop/practitioner.