Story about two kinds of ‘search’

Bro. Tan giving a teaching during the Uposatha Service.

Bro. Tan giving a teaching on what constitutes a “noble search” during the Full-moon Service.

On Wednesday 23 March, Bro. Tan gave a teaching during the Full-moon Uposatha Service.  He told a story about the two kinds of search – the ‘noble search’ and the ‘ignoble search’.  At the time of the Buddha, a group of youths had gone to amuse themselves in a park; and while they were immersed in play, thieves absconded with their valuables.  The youths, realising that their valuables had been stolen, went all over the place in search of those thieves.

The Buddha happened to be residing in a grove nearby.  Coming to where the Buddha was, the youths asked whether He had seen thieves passing by.  The Buddha did not answer their question, but surprised them by asking, “Which is more important?  The search for one’s material possessions, or the search for truth?”  The youths answered that the search for truth far excels the search for goods. Hence, the Buddha taught them Dhamma, which led to their immediate spiritual awakening.

The Buddha explained that one who is on ‘ignoble search’ seeks what is subject to change and that which gives rise to defilements.  For example, people have strong tendency to seek material possessions and sensual delights, which are unstable and cannot give them permanent gratification nor bring about real contentment.

On the other hand, one who is on a ‘noble search’ has understood the dangers of what is subject to birth, ageing, sickness, death, sorrow, and defilement.  Disenchanted with the unsatisfactoriness of material pursuits, he seeks the unborn, un-ageing,  un-ailing, deathless, sorrowless, and undefiled, settling only with the supreme security from bondage – Nibbāna.

Devotees are appreciative of the Dhamma teaching.

Devotees are appreciative of the Dhamma teaching on the Uposatha day.

We thank Bro. Tan for his insightful teaching.  It is an important reminder that we should be mindful of the choices we make in our life’s pursuits.  Sadhu anumodana.