There is an allegory that depicts human life. Once there was a man rowing a boat down a river. Someone on the shore warned him, "Stop rowing so gaily down the swift current; there are rapids ahead and a dangerous whirlpool, and there are crocodiles and demons lying in wait in rocky caverns. You will perish if you continue."
In this allegory, "the swift current" is a life of lust; "rowing gaily" is giving rein to one's passion; "rapids ahead" means the ensuing suffering and pain; "whirlpool" means pleasure, "crocodiles and demons" refers to the decay and death that follows a life of lust and indulgence; "Someone on the shore," who calls out, is Buddha.
Here is another allegory. A man who has committed a crime is running away: some guards are following him, so he tries to hide himself by descending into a well by means of some vines growing down the sides. As he descends he sees vipers at the bottom of the well, so he decides to cling to the vine for safety. After a time when his arms are getting tired, he notices two mice, one white and the other black, gnawing at the vine.
If the vine breaks, he will fall to the vipers and perish. Suddenly, on looking upward, he notices just above his face a bee-hive from which occasionally falls a drop of honey. The man, forgetting all his danger, tastes the honey with delight.
"A man" means the one who is born to suffer and to die alone. "Guards" and "vipers" refer to the body with all its desires. "Vines" means the continuity of the human life. "Two mice, one white and the other black" refers to the duration of time, days and nights, and the passing years. "Honey" indicates the physical pleasures that beguiles the suffering of the passing years.