There is a fable told of a man who found an anthill which burned in the daytime and smoked at night. He went to a wise man and asked his advice as to what he should do about it. The wise man told him to dig into it with a sword. This the man did. He found in succession a gate-bar, some bubbles of water, a pitchfork, a box, a tortoise, a butcher-knife, a piece of meat and, finally, a dragon which came out. The man reported to the wise man what he had found. The wise man explained the significance of it and said, "Throw away everything but the dragon; leave the dragon alone and do not disturb him."
This is a fable in which "anthill" represents the human body. "Burned in the daytime" represents the fact that during the day people turn into acts the things they thought about the previous night. "Smoked at night" indicates the fact that people during the night recall with pleasure or regret the things they did the previous day.
In the same fable, "a man" means a person who seeks Enlightenment. "A wise man" means Buddha. "A sword" means pure wisdom. "Dig into it" refers to the effort he must make to gain Enlightenment.
Further in the fable, "gate-bar" represents ignorance; "bubbles" are puffs of suffering and anger; "pitchfork" suggests hesitation and uneasiness; "box" suggests the storage of greed, anger, laziness, fickleness, repentance and delusion; "tortoise" means the body and the mind; "butcher-knife" means the synthesis of the fire sensory desires, and "a piece of meat" means the resulting desire that causes a man to covet after satisfaction. These things are all harmful to man and so Buddha said, "Throw away everything."
Still further, "dragon" indicates a mind that has eliminated all worldly passions. If a man digs into the things about him with the sword of wisdom he will finally come to his dragon. "Leave the dragon alone and do not disturb him" means to go after and dig up a mind free of worldly desires.