The Greed Trap

This is a story normally used by motivational speakers to inspire people to let go of their old perceptions.  Alternatively, it could also be used to show how greed could be used to tie up or trap people.

There is a kind of monkey trap used in Asia. A coconut is hollowed out and attached by a rope to a tree or stake in the ground. At the bottom of the coconut a small slit is made and some sweet food is placed inside. The hole on the bottom of the coconut is just big enough for the monkey to slide in his open hand, but does not allow for a closed fist to pass out. The monkey smells the sweets, reaches in with his hand to grasp the food and is unable to withdraw it.

The clinched fist won't pass through the opening. When the hunters come, the monkey becomes frantic but cannot get away. There is no one keeping that monkey captive, except the force of its own attachment. All that it has to do is open its hand. But so strong is the force of greed in the mind that it is a rare monkey which can let goy

You know why the monkey gets trapped? Because of its greed. Because his greed won’t allow him to let go of the rice and take out his hand, the monkey remains trapped, a victim of his own greed, until he is captured; forever a captive of his greed.

Would this story be also true of people?
It is true of most of us too. Certain desires, ambitions, and biases keep us trapped.  Just like the monkey, all we need to do is "open our hands",  let go of ourselves, our attachments, and be free. What do you think?


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  1. Same can be said about some corporations specially in the light of the 2008 financial crisis…it was all about greed. The bankers knew that what they were doing would cause more harm than good but their greed blinded them. Also true for companies who think short term…cutting costs, not investing in new products, scrimping on reward and recognition of employees. In the long run, the company loses its most valuable asset, its people and fades into mediocrity.

    1. Totally agree with you Jay. Some corporate decisions are  driven by the desire to hit corporate targets and the consequent bonuses at the expense of long term health of the company.  Worse, after doing it , they have difficult time letting go….


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