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Re: [Pali] Thanissaro version different : Re: [nsbb] Fare lonely as rhinoceros

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  • frank kuan
    Hi Robert, Somewhere I researched it mentioned that Anguttara or that particular Rhino sutta is probably a collection of verses spoken by the Buddha on many
    Message 1 of 7 , Oct 2, 2001
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      Hi Robert,
      Somewhere I researched it mentioned that Anguttara
      or that particular Rhino sutta is probably a
      collection of verses spoken by the Buddha on many
      occasions, so it seems plausible that he may be
      referring to horn on a few of the verses, but to me
      from the context of most of the verses it seems to
      refer to the solitary lifestyle of the rhino.
      Put it this way: Say the Buddha is giving a
      discourse and he uses the simile with a rhinoceros.
      What are the Bhikkhus going to think?
      (a) "Ah yes, the blessed one is clearly referring to
      the obvious fact that in our native India, the
      indigenous Rhinoceros unicornis has only one horn,
      whereas the Diceros bicornis from Africa, which I have
      never visited before, heard about, seen directly or
      indirectly, has two horns."

      (b) "My life as a monk is difficult sometimes. I miss
      the wife, family, and friends that I left behind. The
      elephants seem to be pretty social animals, traveling
      in herds, yet the rhino, other than the mother and
      calf, choose to live in solitude and they seem to be
      content. Perhaps the blessed one is hinting at
      something."

      -----------------
      I'm inclined to think it's option (b)
      :-)

      -fk






      --- Robert Didham <robertdidham@...> wrote:
      > Hi Frank
      >
      > Haven't really made up my mind. I prefer the idea
      > of the isolation of the
      > tip of the single horn as the rhino makes its way
      > through the tall grass
      > where rhinos seem to like to hang out, but then I
      > can see the idea of the
      > solitariness of the rhino as an attractive
      > alternative interpretation.
      > Equally I can't make up my mind whether the texts
      > themselves (rather than
      > what we would like them to say - and in so far as
      > the various versions may
      > or may not be consistent) actually refer to just the
      > horn or the whole
      > animal. What do you think?
      >
      > Robert
      >
      > >From: frank kuan <fcckuan@...>
      > >Reply-To: Pali@yahoogroups.com
      > >To: Pali@yahoogroups.com
      > >Subject: Re: [Pali] Thanissaro version different :
      > Re: [nsbb] Fare lonely
      > >as rhinoceros
      > >Date: Sun, 30 Sep 2001 22:04:13 -0700 (PDT)
      > >
      > >Thanks for the tip Robert.
      > >Do you have a personal opinion on what you think it
      > >is? Horn or the Rhino?
      > >
      > >-fk
      > >
      > >--- Robert Didham <robertdidham@...> wrote:
      > > > There is actually a huge literature on this - a
      > good
      > > > starting point is
      > > > Richard Solomon's book:
      > > >
      > > > Salomon, Richard, 2000 A G�ndh�r� Version of
      > the
      > > > Rhinoceros S�tra.
      > > > Seattle, Washington University Press
      > > >
      > > > A bit like the problem of exactly what a ham.sa
      > is -
      > > > there are as many
      > > > arguments one way as the other.
      > > >
      > > > Robert Didham
      > > >
      > > >
      > > >
      > > >
      > > > >From: frank kuan <fcckuan@...>
      > > > >Reply-To: Pali@yahoogroups.com
      > > > >To: nsbb@yahoogroups.com, pali@yahoogroups.com
      > > > >Subject: [Pali] Thanissaro version different :
      > Re:
      > > > [nsbb] Fare lonely as
      > > > >rhinoceros
      > > > >Date: Sun, 30 Sep 2001 17:10:07 -0700 (PDT)
      > > > >
      > > > >Ok, found out who translated that passage:
      > > > >
      > > > >Here's a question for you guys. The thanissaro
      > > > version
      > > > >is different, and it doesn't make sense (with
      > the
      > > > >indian rhino having one horn compared to other
      > > > >rhinos). I did a little bit of research into
      > > > rhinos,
      > > > >and they do indeed live a solitary lifestyle,
      > only
      > > > the
      > > > >mother and child having a bond. What's the full
      > > > story
      > > > >behind the horn thing?
      > > > >
      > > > >I have excerpts from both versions for you to
      > > > compare.
      > > > >
      > > > >-fk
      > > > >
      > > > >================================
      > > > >(from access to insight)
      > > > >Translator's note: The Indian rhinoceros,
      > unlike
      > > > the
      > > > >African, has only one horn. Hence the recurrent
      > > > image
      > > > >here. As noted under I.1, there is evidence
      > > > suggesting
      > > > >that the verses here were originally separate
      > > > poems,
      > > > >composed on separate occasions, and that they
      > have
      > > > >been gathered together because of their common
      > > > >refrain.]
      > > >
      > >
      >
      >--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
      > > > >
      > > > >Renouncing violence
      > > > >for all living beings,
      > > > >harming not even a one,
      > > > >you would not wish for offspring,
      > > > > so how a companion?
      > > > >Wander alone, a rhinoceros horn.
      > > > >
      > > > >=====================================
      > > > >Selected verses of the Rhinoceros Sutta from
      > "Woven
      > > > >Cadences" (Sutta Nipata), translated by E. M.
      > Hare,
      > > > >and published in Sacred Books of the Buddhists
      > > > Series
      > > > >by the Pali Text Society. Other verses are used
      > in
      > > > >this booklet.
      > > > >
      > > > >
      > > > >Verses for Thudong-faring
      > > > >From the Sutta-Nipata
      > > > >
      > > > >Put by the rod for all that lives,
      > > > >Nor harm thou anyone thereof;
      > > > >Long not for son -- how then for friend?
      > > > >Fare lonely as rhinoceros.
      > > > >
      > > > >Love cometh from companionship;
      > > > >In wake of love upsurges ill;
      > > > >Seeing the bane that comes of love,
      > > > >Fare lonely as rhinoceros.
      > > > >In ruth for all his bosom friends,
      > > > >A man, heart-chained, neglects the goal;
      > > > >Seeing this fear in fellowship,
      > > > >Fare lonely as rhinoceros.
      > > > >
      > > > >Tangled as crowding bamboo boughs
      > > > >Is fond regard for sons and wife:
      > > > >As the tall tops are tangle-free,
      > > > >Fare lonely as rhinoceros.
      > > > >The deer untethered roams the wild
      > > > >Whithersoe'er it lists for food:
      > > > >Seeing the liberty, wise man,
      > > > >Fare lonely as rhinoceros.
      > > > >
      > > > >
      > > > >Casting aside the household gear,
      > > > >As sheds the coral-tree its leaves,
      > > > >With home-ties cut, and vigorous,
      > > > >Fare lonely as rhinoceros.
      > > > >Seek for thy friend[1] the deeply learned,
      > > > >Dhamma-endued, lucid and great;
      > > > >Knowing the needs, expelling doubt,
      > > > >Fare lonely as rhinoceros.
      > > > >
      > > > >
      > > > >The heat and cold, and hunger, thirst,
      > > > >Wind, sun-beat, sting of gadfly, snake:
      > > > >Surmounting one and all of these,
      > > > >Fare lonely as rhinoceros.
      > > > >Crave not for tastes, but free of greed,
      > > > >Moving with measured step from house
      > > > >To house, support of none, none's thrall,
      > > > >Fare lonely as rhinoceros.
      > > > >
      > > > >
      > > > >Free everywhere, at odds with none,
      > > > >And well content with this and that:
      > > > >Enduring dangers undismayed,
      > > > >Fare lonely as rhinoceros.
      > > > >Snap thou the fetters as the snare
      > > > >By river denizen is broke:
      > > > >As fire to waste comes back no more,
      > > > >Fare lonely as rhinoceros.
      > > > >
      > > > >
      > > > >And turn thy back on joys and pains,
      > > > >Delights and sorrows known of old;
      > > > >And gaining poise and calm, and cleansed,
      > > > >Fare lonely as rhinoceros.
      > > > >Neglect thou not to muse apart,
      > > > >'Mid things by Dhamma-faring aye;
      > > > >Alive to all becomings' bane,
      > > > >Fare lonely as rhinoceros.
      > > > >
      > > > >
      > > > >As lion, mighty-jawed and king
      > > > >Of beasts, fares conquering, so thou,
      > > > >Taking thy bed and seat remote,
      > > > >Fare lonely as rhinoceros.
      > > > >Poise, amity, ruth and release
      > > > >Pursue, and timely sympathy;
      > > > >At odds with none in all the world,
      > > > >Fare lonely as rhinoceros.
      > > > >
      > > > >Leaving the vanities of view,
      > > > >Right method won, the Way obtained:
      >
      === message truncated ===


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    • Robert Eddison
      Could someone enlighten me as to whether there is really any controversy about the translation of these verses? I was not aware that any modern authority had
      Message 2 of 7 , Oct 4, 2001
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        Could someone enlighten me as to whether there is really any controversy
        about the translation of these verses? I was not aware that any modern
        authority had seriously doubted that "wander alone like the horn of a
        rhinoceros" is the correct translation of "eko care khaggavisaa.nakappo",
        and that E.M. Hare's earlier rendering is just plain wrong, even if more
        poetically satisfying for a modern English speaker.

        (more below)

        Frank writes:

        > Somewhere I researched it mentioned that Anguttara
        >or that particular Rhino sutta is probably a
        >collection of verses spoken by the Buddha on many
        >occasions, so it seems plausible that he may be
        >referring to horn on a few of the verses, but to me
        >from the context of most of the verses it seems to
        >refer to the solitary lifestyle of the rhino.
        > Put it this way: Say the Buddha is giving a
        >discourse and he uses the simile with a rhinoceros.
        >What are the Bhikkhus going to think?
        >(a) "Ah yes, the blessed one is clearly referring to
        >the obvious fact that in our native India, the
        >indigenous Rhinoceros unicornis has only one horn,
        >whereas the Diceros bicornis from Africa, which I have
        >never visited before, heard about, seen directly or
        >indirectly, has two horns."
        >
        >(b) "My life as a monk is difficult sometimes. I miss
        >the wife, family, and friends that I left behind. The
        >elephants seem to be pretty social animals, traveling
        >in herds, yet the rhino, other than the mother and
        >calf, choose to live in solitude and they seem to be
        >content. Perhaps the blessed one is hinting at
        >something."
        >
        >-----------------
        >I'm inclined to think it's option (b)
        >:-)

        Of course it's improbable that anyone would have reasoned in the manner
        described in (a). This objection, however, would be irrelevant if it
        happened that the single horn of a rhino was a well-known stock simile in
        that culture. I think there is sufficient evidence that this was the case.
        In particular, one finds the rhinoceros horn simile making a regular
        appearance in Indian hagiographies and texts dealing with renunciation. A
        couple of examples:


        "....his senses were well protected like those of a tortoise; he was single
        and alone like the horn of a rhinoceros; he was free like a bird; he was
        always waking like the fabulous bird Bharundal, valorous like an elephant,
        strong like a bull, difficult to attack like a lion, steady and firm like
        Mount Mandara.....etc. etc.

        (description of Mahavira in the Kalpa Sutra 118, attributed to Sri
        Bhadrabahu, 433-357 BCE.)

        Though the above is a Jaina text, the section from which the extract is
        taken is actually strikingly similar to the Khaggavisaa.na Sutta, albeit
        presented in the form of a description rather than an exhortation.

        The same might be said for the following, this time a Hindu work:

        "Efficient in his undertakings, full of compassion is the saadhu; he gives
        pity to all, has enmity towards no one.

        "He bears patiently heat and cold, seeing the one Self enlightening all
        bodies. He walks solitary as the horn of a rhinoceros. He has become an
        ocean of Truth and is ever engaged in the work of mercy. Such is the
        Avadhut, free from birth and death."

        (Avadhut Giita ch. 7)


        Robert Eddison
      • frank kuan
        Hello Robert E., Thanks for posting the useful references. Can you say more about the stock simile with the horn as it was intended to be commonly understood
        Message 3 of 7 , Oct 4, 2001
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          Hello Robert E.,
          Thanks for posting the useful references. Can you
          say more about the stock simile with the horn as it
          was intended to be commonly understood in those
          buddhism, jainism, hinduism? Is it as Robert D. said,
          with the tip of the single horn sticking out of tall
          grassy area?
          Is it just coincidence that the rhinoceros horn was
          picked to represent the simile of solitude
          disregarding the lifestyle of the rhino? Or is it
          possible that the horn is just a bonus simile?

          -fk



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