The Wisdom Blog: Classic & Contemporary Buddhism

The Teachings of the Buddha: The Bringer of Light and Two Kinds of Search

by Bhikkhu Bodhi
October 2, 2013
Wed, 10/02/2013 - 10:30 -- bbodhi

Today's suttas offer us a portrait of the Buddha stark in its realism, bare in its naturalism, striking in its ability to convey deep psychological insights with minimal descriptive technique. In this sutta, we read about his renunciation, his training under two famous meditation teachers, his disillusionment with their teachings, his solitary struggle, and his triumphant realization of the Deathless.

“Bhikkhus, there are these two kinds of search: the noble search and the ignoble search. And what is the ignoble search? Here someone being himself subject to birth seeks what is also subject to birth; being himself subject to ageing, he seeks what is also subject to ageing; being himself subject to sickness, he seeks what is also subject to sickness; being himself subject to death, he seeks what is also subject to death; being himself subject to sorrow, he seeks what is also subject to sorrow; being himself subject to defilement, he seeks what is also subject to defilement.

“And what may be said to be subject to birth? Wife and children are subject to birth, men and women slaves, goats and sheep, fowl and pigs, elephants, cattle, horses, and mares, gold and silver are subject to birth. These acquisitions are subject to birth; and one who is tied to these things, infatuated with them, and utterly committed to them, being himself subject to birth, seeks what it also subject to birth.

“And what may be said to be subject to ageing? Wife and children are subject to ageing, men and women slaves, goats and sheep, fowl and pigs, elephants, cattle, horses, and mares, gold and silver are subject to ageing. These acquistions are subject to ageing; and one who is tied to these things, infatuated with them, and utterly committed to them, being himself subject to ageing, seeks what is also subject to ageing.

“And what may be said to be subject to sickness? Wife and children are subject to sickness, men and women slaves, goats and sheep, fowl and pigs, elephants, cattle, horses, and mares are subject to sickness. These acquisitions are subject to sickness; and one who is tied to these things, infatuated with them, and utterly committed to them, being himself subject to sickness, seeks what is also subject to sickness.

From ML 26: Ariyapariyesana Sutta

To continue reading this sutta, click here.

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