Recently I came about the statement in a buddhist page:
“Remember, Buddha said, ‘Do not accept what I teach just out of faith or respect for me, but investigate for yourself as if buying gold.’”
I’ve been irritated, looked at the texts at palikanon.com and didn’t find such a quote.
A short conversation with someone knowledgable(1) gave that “a similar phrase” is existent in several tibetan texts, like
“Monks and the learned should accept my words not out of respect, but after examining (them) as with gold that is burned, cut and rubbed”
Of course, similes, which compare diligence in the training of the dharma with the diligence needed to manufacture golden things, are not uncommon, and when I found some of such I had no “alarm” in my mind.
update: first 2 comments are not hitting the nail in my question. So I enhance the leading, hope it becomes clearer what my question is about:
What do you think: is it a realistic sense to characterize the Buddha’s similes as such using examples from the manufacturing, farming experience and not from “the finance” world? I mean he had disciples/lay people being rich, doing trading et al. and might have adressed them in their world of consciousness, and simply I didn’t notice such eamples myself - but such things seem somehow “unfamiliar” to me and signal to be cautious…
@mods: feel free to move this to category “watercooler” if this is not appropriate for “discussion” category
Though the counsel is pretty EBT-ish, I don’t think it’s actually been located in any EBT. The East Asians get it from the Ghānavyūhasūtra, one of the “Third Turning” (i.e., Tathāgatagarbha) sūtras, while Tibetans get it from an unnamed sūtra cited in many of their texts, of which the best-known is probably Śāntarakṣita’s Tattvasaṃgraha.
Dear Nimal, thank you! However I already know the two suttas. And it is easy to see, that the posted phrase (“buying gold”) is of course no quote (which was lightheartedly(?) expressed in the other discussion).
With textual search I found a couple of other suttas, even having the term “gold” in comparision to the diligence to which he wanted inspire the listeners with respect to train his dharma.
But the term “gold” was always in hindsight of “working with”, “manufacturing”, like the diligent work of a goldsmith - not in hindsight of “be careful when buying it” , at least in all textual search results I had yesterday. So I was thinking, whether this is some characteristic of the Buddha’s similes.
The Buddha has - as a child - seen his father doing farmwork, and possibly many other manufacturing people in his youth and when growing up. Even knows musicians and the art of playing instruments. After that he had years of experiences in the forestlife, even with elephants and their behave. From such seems to me to be the main stuff of his similes. But I did (unconsciously) an extrapolation of what I remember from my reading - - - >> towards a general characteristic of the Buddha’s style of speaking.
<ask-in-d&d and confirm-or-dismiss>
Mumfie, yes, thanks! I’ve even got a long list of references into tibetan literature by Dr. Berzin; and they all use the simile with the manufacturers aspects (burn, soften, cut) and not with the traders aspects (test for buying) gold. So the version with “buying gold” has not even been found in the tibetan texts, but still is given as “quote” (as “buddhist quote”, well…) But see my further explanations which I’ve just given to user Nimal; there I try to make clearer the focus/intention of my question.
Taking the practical view, the Buddha used craft skills as a direct analogy of the mind as a medium to be made workable, able to be directed in any way that was necessary:
“Just as a skilled potter or his assistant could craft from well-prepared clay whatever kind of pottery vessel he likes, or as a skilled ivory-carver or his assistant could craft from well-prepared ivory any kind of ivory-work he likes, or as a skilled goldsmith or his assistant could craft from well-prepared gold any kind of gold article he likes; in the same way — with his mind thus concentrated, purified, and bright, unblemished, free from defects, pliant, malleable, steady, and attained to imperturbability — the monk directs and inclines it to the modes of supranormal powers…”