Two Kinds of Search

marbud

5.“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.

The Buddha here makes an emphatic distinction between the noble and ignoble search. This is not some willy-nilly dualistic kind of assertion. It’s stating a hardcore pragmatic fact: being attached to samsara will culminate in subjugation to death and its companions (disease, suffering, defilement, despair and old age). The Blessed One then breaks-down their classification:

6.“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.

7.“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.

8.“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.

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

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

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

Being infatuated with all the elements of samsara will assure an ignoble end. If one reflects over their own samsaric circumstances one will clearly discern the connective-trigger that releases these forces of dukkha. Being infatuated with the opposite (or same) sex will result in emotive-bondage. Being infatuated with one’s children can result in an unhealthy dependency in later age; being infatuated with animals, for instance one’s pets, can result in deep emotional pain when they age and die, leaving their human companion so alone and sorrowful. Being infatuated with the riches of the world completely binds one to the snares of dark desires and complete bondage to materiality. All this is the ignoble search that results in self-destruction.

12.“And what is the noble search? Here someone being himself subject to birth, having understood the danger in what is subject to birth, seeks the unborn supreme security from bondage, Nibbāna; being himself subject to ageing, having understood the danger in what is subject to ageing, he seeks the unageing supreme security from bondage, Nibbāna; being himself subject to sickness, having understood the danger in what is subject to sickness, he seeks the unailing supreme security from bondage, Nibbāna; being himself subject to death, having understood the danger in what is subject to death, he seeks the deathless supreme security from bondage, Nibbāna; being himself subject to sorrow, having understood the danger in what is subject to sorrow, he seeks the sorrowless supreme security from bondage, Nibbāna; being himself subject to defilement, having understood the danger in what is subject to defilement, he seeks the undefiled supreme security from bondage, Nibbāna. This is the noble search.

One committed to the Noble Unborn Path releases one from all the snares of samsara. One is then left with supreme sukha—Noble Satisfaction. The Blessed One assures that when one becomes aware of the subtle “dangers” that are inherently evil when one aligns oneself so totally irreversible within the realm and agencies of samsara, one can then find supreme security from all bondage in Nibbāna.

Within one’s own practice, one will soon discern the forces that are active between these two manners of search. When carnal and material-desires completely overwhelms the will, one can almost taste the sulfuric influence of Mara and his minions at work, chipping-away at the walls of the soul. Yet, one IS now aware of their nefarious influence and can make a noble-choice to turn-about from them into the comforting and reassuring embrace of the Unborn.

Remember, all that is ignoble will always leave an insatiable-mark—desires that can never be fulfilled, with the result that these self-same desires will consume the very fabric of the soul; whereas all that is Noble leaves one above and beyond any narrow confines of the unwholesome with their deadly longings. One no longer desires anything but to find complete and utter and irreversible satisfaction in the One-Taste that so completely liberates. One’s “searching” comes to an end as one is now home.

One is a child of Mara, and one is the child of the Unborn.

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