Why are certain material objects so treasured?
A gem is virtually useless and a gilded scabbard is no better than a plain one.
Man decides that gold is valuable because it is rare and enduring and brilliant. He then thinks that if he possesses gold he, himself, will become rare or unique, that his individual worth will endure, and that he also will be considered a rather brilliant fellow.
So obsessed he may become with these foolish notions that in trying to obtain gold, he will destroy the very life he is trying to embellish.
- In the darkness of delusion the unenlightened believe that they can glorify themselves by reflecting the qualities they have assigned to their possessions.
- Those who live the enlightened life readily discern that the qualities of an object are not transferred to its possessor.
A heap of treasures piled in their path will not obstruct their vision. They can see right through them. Gold in the pocket is not gold in the character.
Source: Maxims of Han Shan