It seems reasonable to compare meditation to planting a tree. First, ones must choose the seed of Selflessness, because if there is still any traces of Ego (or attachment to Ego), there is still ignorance and flaws. To be entirely selflessness is an ultimate goal and direction of Buddhist Meditation.
The seed must be sown in the ground, just like all of the practices and cultivations must start and grow from this life that is filled with suffering and guilt.
The root grows deep under the ground, just like ones’ virtue and morality must grow deeper and stronger in their soul.
The stem rises – just like ones’ virtue and morality must be shown and observable by others through their righteous actions and behaviors.
The tree needs to be fertilized – just like meditational practices must be nourished and nurtured bya lot of good karma from a lot of good deeds. In addition, there are many kinds of fertilizers, just like there are many ways to create good deeds, such as: paying homage to Buddha, helping others in need, teaching and supporting others in cultivating Buddha’s teachings…
The tree needs water everyday – just like ones have to diligently practice the right methods in meditation every day to make their results continuously grow. Right methods are Body and Breath Awareness and Contemplating the Impermanence of the Body. Without water, the tree will die. Without practicing the right method, one’s meditational fruition will be lost.
The tree will have more and more leaves as it grows, just like the Awareness state will be strengthened with one’s practice.
The flowers will bloom, just like practitioners will attain the Right Mindfulness stage.
The trees then bears fruit, just like practitioners then move forward to achieve the meditation fruitions in the Right Concentration stage (From First to Fourth Jhana)
(As much as we try to find the similarities between those growing a tree and meditation, we cannot find how Hindrances and Fetters could be illustrated in this case.)
*The differences between the Greed Hindrance and Greed Fetter (or Sensory Desire)
When ones attain the Right Mindfulness stage, they will start to destroy the Greed/Sensual Desire Hindrance. The Sakadagami (Second Stage in Sainthood) still have the tiny traces of Greed or Sensory Desire Fetter left. Only after attaining Anagami (The Third Stage of Sainthood), one’s Greed/Sensual Desire Fetter was completely destroyed. These two share the same name, but they are totally different.
When the Greed hindrance is removed, ones will immediately stop caring nor showing any attachment for material or monetary matters. There is a story about a famous Buddhist named Layman Pang, who after destroyed his Greed Hindrance, he sailed a boat that was full of gold and silver and dumbed them all into the river – to show that he was completely free from any desires to material things.
On the other side, when the Greed fetter is almost discarded in the second stage of Sainthood, not only ones won’t have any desire and attachment to money and asset, but they also become extremely generous and altruistic. They truly live and dedicate their lives for others since they already destroyed the Selfishness Fetter in the First Stage of Sotapanna. Furthermore, the Greed/Sensual Desire Fetter has a larger meaning. It is not only the desire and lust to material things, it is also the desire to anything that brings sensual and sexual pleasure in this realm. Thus, an Anagami, without the Greed/Sensual Desire Fetter, is truly and absolutely free and liberate from any traces of desire, lust, sexual desire, and attachment to this life.
So there are two different kinds of people without Greed. The one who does not have Greed Hindrance in meditation will be careless about material things but does not necessarily mean that they also become altruistic and compassionate to others. On the other side, one who does not have a Greed Fetter in Sainthood will also have no desire for material things but also have a great compassion and love towards all beings. Thus, they always share, help, and make offerings. Like Buddha said, those are the ones whose hands never closed.
A Sotapanna hasn’t had supernatural powers yet, but they are more intelligent and possess better intuition. Thus, their wisdoms allow them to wisely look at life and many situations, and more importantly, to comprehend the impermanent nature of all things.
A Sotapanna has also eliminated his Stubbornness-in-Rules fetter. Rules and principles are the structure that keep any communities and societies stable and ordered. However, they can also be the barriers and obstacles that prevent many positive changes and progress. Thus, the Sotapannas precisely know when they have to follow rules and when to put aside those rules to open the door for positive changes. Their flexibility is both intellectual and ethical.
Overall, one shall admire the nonchalant and detachment attitudes of those who have attained the fruitions in Meditation by destroying all of the Hindrances. However, ones must have even greater respect for the ones who have achieved Sainthood, even just Sotapanna, because of their altruism, generosity, virtuous, and wisdom.