Here is still another allegory. A king places four vipers in a box and gives the box into the safekeeping of a servant. He commands the servant to take good care of them and warns that if he angers even one of them he will be punished with death. The servant, in fear, decides to throw away the box and escape.
The king sends five guards to capture the servant. At first they approach the servant in a friendly manner, intending to take him back safely, but the servant does not trust their friendliness and escapes to another village.
Then, in a vision, a voice tells him that in this village there is no safe shelter, and that there are six bandits who will attack him, so the servant runs away in a fright until he comes to a wild river that blocks his way. Thinking of the dangers that are following him, he makes a raft and succeeds in crossing the turbulent current, beyond which he finally finds safety and peace.
"Four vipers in a box" indicates the four elements of earth, water, fire and air that make up the body of flesh. The body is given into the charge of lust and is an enemy of the mind. Therefore, he tries to run away from the body.
"Five guards who approach in friendly manner" mean the five aggregates--form, feeling, perception, volition and consciousness--which frame body and mind.
"The safe shelter" is the six senses, which are no safe shelter after all, and "the six bandits" are the six objects of the six senses. Thus, seeing the dangers within the six senses, he runs away once more and comes to the wild current of worldly desires.
Then he makes himself a raft of the Buddha's good teachings and crosses the wild current safely.