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What is precious?

JeroenJeroen Luminous beings are we, not this crude matterNetherlands Veteran

I was talking yesterday to a painter who came to repair some leak damage in the house, and he was telling stories about work he had done in a millionaire’s home, and how he had done a job for a director of a company who owned many houses. It reminded me that people consider that kind of thing precious.

From a buddhist point of view, I find it interesting to talk about what is precious. A long time ago, people would have said gems, jewellery, gold, these things are precious. Today many people would say, smartphones, houses, money in the bank, those are desirable. But really a monk would let it all go, the dharma tells us that neither beauty nor utility will lead us to happiness.

It is curious how the spirit of letting go influences our view of what is precious. It slowly disappears. We can still look at what is pleasing, good aesthetics, cleanliness, good light, a certain artistic sensibility. But these are things you strive to bring into everyday life, not things you want to possess.


  • howhow Veteran Veteran
    edited February 2022

    Perhaps "precious" describes whatever one wants when it's in short supply or doesn't want when it's in abundance.

  • Could it be exaltation of a thing in attempt to distract or pacify the ego?

  • Shoshin1Shoshin1 Sentient Being Oceania Veteran
    edited February 2022

    What is precious?

    One of my Tibetan teachers would always talk about how precious human life is where we have the opportunity to practice the Dharma...

    And according to some researchers the chances of being born human are about one in 400 trillion...

  • The realisation of Nibbana is the most precious from the Buddhist viewpoint.

    "What do you think, monks? Which is greater: the little bit of dust I have picked up with the tip of my fingernail, or the great earth?"

    "The great earth is far greater, lord. The little bit of dust the Blessed One has picked up with the tip of his fingernail is next to nothing. It's not a hundredth, a thousandth, a one hundred-thousandth — this little bit of dust the Blessed One has picked up with the tip of his fingernail — when compared with the great earth."

    "In the same way, monks, for a disciple of the noble ones who is consummate in view, an individual who has broken through [to stream-entry], the suffering & stress that is totally ended & extinguished is far greater. That which remains in the state of having at most seven remaining lifetimes is next to nothing: it's not a hundredth, a thousandth, a one hundred-thousandth, when compared with the previous mass of suffering. That's how great the benefit is of breaking through to the Dhamma, monks. That's how great the benefit is of obtaining the Dhamma eye."

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