These are the 5 things main things to watch out for that can obstruct your meditation.
You can break them up into:
– The 3 poisons PLUS
– Restlessness/worry and
To enter the 4 Jhanas/Dhyanas, you first have to at least temporarily quieten and abandon all 5 of these hindrances.
So they can be used as a checklist during your meditation and if you notice them, then you can apply strategies and tools to overcome them.
Water Similes for the 5 Hindrances
When you try to meditate, the mind is like a bowl of water with 5 different emotional states that can obstruct the pure, clear bright nature of the water to manifest itself:
1. Desire for Sense Pleasures
This is like a bowl of water with all these beautiful dyes in it – it’s looks great with all these beautiful colours but you can’t see through it.
2. Anger and hatred
This is like seething water – boiling hot and angry, bubbling violently.
This is like a bowl of stagnant, stale water. Though the water is still, there’s all this algae, moss and slime growing over the top of it – there’s no life-giving properties to the water.
4. Restlessness and worry
This is like water whipped up by the wind so that there’s lots of ripples and waves crashing to and fro on it – it can’t be still. Because it’s not still, you can’t see through it.
This is like murky water – like a cloudy suspension that has been placed in a dark place – you can’t see through it here either.
A mind which has abandoned and overcome the 5 hindrances
Is like clear, still, pure water placed in a bright place where you can see right through to the bottom.