Gold and Silver are subject to birth, but not death

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Gold and Silver are subject to birth, but not death

Postby Xtofu80 » Sun Jul 27, 2014 7:22 am

I am still startled by the list in the Ariya-pariyesana Sutta (Majjhima Nikaya 26), in which Buddha states:
"And what is ignoble search? There is the case where a person, being subject himself to birth, seeks [happiness in] what is likewise subject to birth. Being subject himself to aging... illness... death... sorrow... defilement, he seeks [happiness in] what is likewise subject to illness... death... sorrow... defilement."

In the following expansion of what is subject to birth, aging, illness, death, sorrow and defilement, some elements are left out, especially gold and silver.
What I find startling is that gold and silver are subject to birth, but not death.
Obviously, "birth" (jāti) must have a non-standard interpretation when applied to gold and silver, but then why would that non-standard interpretation not apply to death(maraṇa)?
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Re: Gold and Silver are subject to birth, but not death

Postby Unrul3r » Sun Jul 27, 2014 8:11 am

Here goes an educated guess.

The other things in the list are organic and are easily verifiable that they die. Gold & Silver, on the other hand, were most likely seen as indestructible in those days. Today, gold is known to be dissoluble only in specific solutions but in those times, these methods of dissolving gold were probably unknown.

"Birth" still applies since gold is extracted and refined for human use, so these processes can be seen as gold's birth.

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Re: Gold and Silver are subject to birth, but not death

Postby Spiny Norman » Sun Jul 27, 2014 9:23 am

Unrul3r wrote:Here goes an educated guess.

The other things in the list are organic and are easily verifiable that they die. Gold & Silver, on the other hand, were most likely seen as indestructible in those days. Today, gold is known to be dissoluble only in specific solutions but in those times, these methods of dissolving gold were probably unknown.

"Birth" still applies since gold is extracted and refined for human use, so these processes can be seen as gold's birth.
:anjali:


Makes sense to me.
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Re: Gold and Silver are subject to birth, but not death

Postby martinfrank » Sun Jul 27, 2014 9:45 am

The Ven. Thanissaro writes:

The Burmese, Sri Lankan, and PTS editions of the Canon exclude gold and silver from the list of objects subject to illness, death, and sorrow, apparently on the grounds that they themselves do not grow ill, die, or feel sorrow. The Thai edition of the Canon includes gold and silver in the list of objects subject to illness, death, and sorrow in the sense that any happiness based on them is subject to change because of one's own illness, death, and sorrow.


http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/mn/mn.026.than.html#fn-2

TheNoBSBuddhist says I should not post quotes without comment. Here is my comment:

When the universe contracts gold and silver will be destroyed too. Whether it is in that Sutta or not, all which IS is IMPERMANENT:

sabbe sankhara anicca

sabbe sankhara dukkha

sabbe dhamma anatta

All conditioned things are impermanent,
All conditioned things are suffering,

All things are without a self.


http://www.dhammaloka.org.au/articles/item/1233-teachers.html

ti yada paññaya passati
atha nibbindati dukkhe
esa maggo visuddhiya.


when one sees this with Insight-wisdom, one becomes weary of dukkha (i.e., the khandhas). This is the Path to Purity.


http://www.tipitaka.net/tipitaka/dhp/verseload.php?verse=277
The Noble Eightfold Path: Proposed to all, imposed on none.
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Re: Gold and Silver are subject to birth, but not death

Postby Unrul3r » Sun Jul 27, 2014 1:39 pm

martinfrank wrote:...


I agree. And since you brought out the distinction between the editions, I would also add that the Thai edition seems more coherent with the overall Canon. This does not make the other editions wrong but less relevant from the Buddha's point of view (sammā-diṭṭhi). While the Burmese, Sri Lankan, and PTS editions focus on the objects ("..they themselves do not grow ill, die, or feel sorrow."), the Thai focuses on suffering ("...any happiness based on them is subject to change because of one's own illness, death, and sorrow.") which would be right view (sammā-diṭṭhi). If one sees things from a 3rd person point of view then, indeed, the person dies and the gold stays but if we see things from a 1st person point of view then "I die and the gold also 'dies', since I can't bring it with me and use it.". So, the existence (aging) or death of the gold in-and-of-itself is not relevant. Even if gold is actually indestructible, it's not worth being pursued for happiness because 'our' bodies die and so we have to be parted from it. People might live & die for centuries and the gold remains but the gold is not relevant without people using it. I wouldn't hair-split or argue about it though because the two versions might be reconcilable by it just being a matter of emphasis.

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Re: Gold and Silver are subject to birth, but not death

Postby Cittasanto » Mon Jul 28, 2014 9:00 am

Does everything need listed all the time?

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Re: Gold and Silver are subject to birth, but not death

Postby SarathW » Mon Jul 28, 2014 10:05 am

Do you that silver used to be more valuable than now.
That is the death of silver. Same applies to gold.
Value of gems dies after people discover how to make fake gems.
:thinking:
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