Can someone please explain this part of The Rhinoceros to me

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Can someone please explain this part of The Rhinoceros to me

Postby fragrant herbs » Wed Dec 02, 2009 4:56 pm

How do we apply this in our life? Thanks in advance.

Renouncing violence
for all living beings,
harming not even a one,
you would not wish for offspring,
so how a companion?
Wander alone
like a rhinoceros.

For a sociable person
there are allurements;
on the heels of allurement, this pain.
Seeing allurement's drawback,
wander alone
like a rhinoceros.

One whose mind
is enmeshed in sympathy
for friends & companions,
neglects the true goal.
Seeing this danger in intimacy,
wander alone
like a rhinoceros.
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Re: Can someone please explain this part of The Rhinoceros to me

Postby Bhikkhu Pesala » Wed Dec 02, 2009 5:37 pm

In brief, if you feel a need to have a relationship with someone, know that it will lead to suffering. Affection
From passion springs grief, from passion springs fear;
for him who is wholly free from passion there is no grief, much less fear

Try to relate to others in a way that is free from attachment. This affects even bhikkhus who live alone — we still depend on others for alms, but our relationship with our supporters should (ideally) be without any grasping. For example, if we think, “This person is my supporter,” then that supporter loses faith, or moves away, or dies, then we will suffer from a sense of loss. Likewise, the supporters may feel loss if they think, “This is my bhikkhu, the one I support with alms.” If the bhikkhu disrobes, moves away, or dies, then the supporters will feel a sense of loss.

The Burmese understand well about attachment of relationships — to get married in Burmese translates literally as “To fall into house prison.” It is similar to the English “Getting Hitched,” or “Getting tied down.”

Pure loving-kindness (metta) is free from the defect of desire or attachment. It is not sexual desire, nor affection, but completely impartial and detached. There is no harm at all that derives from cultivating metta, but its near enemy is affection. So be mindful to distinguish metta from attachment and affection.
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Re: Can someone please explain this part of The Rhinoceros to me

Postby phil » Thu Dec 03, 2009 1:14 am

fragrant herbs wrote:How do we apply this in our life? Thanks in advance.

Renouncing violence
for all living beings,
harming not even a one,
you would not wish for offspring,
so how a companion?
Wander alone
like a rhinoceros.

For a sociable person
there are allurements;
on the heels of allurement, this pain.
Seeing allurement's drawback,
wander alone
like a rhinoceros.

One whose mind
is enmeshed in sympathy
for friends & companions,
neglects the true goal.
Seeing this danger in intimacy,
wander alone
like a rhinoceros.


Reflecting on the eight worldly conditions (loss/gain, praise/blame, fame/disrepute, pleasure/pain) and the way they spin us around through the world might tie in nicely with this. The Buddha's teaching goes again the ways of the world in many ways. It doesn't feel "nice" to read "if you do not meet someone equal or superior to yourself, better travel alone/there is no companionship with a fool" (Dhammapada) but it is the way for those who follow the Buddha's teaching to a deep degree. So the kind of verse you wisely are looking at can be a kind of testing post to know how far we are ready to go. (e.g ordination.) For many or most of us, the life of the layperson who does good deeds and avoid evil deeds in order to seek a desirable rebirth is the way to go. In that case, I think there must always be a lot of companionship, and it can be wholesome even if it with people who do not follow the Buddha's teaching. Of course we should cut off companionship with toxic idiots (even while offering them support in safe ways, from a healthy distance.)



Metta,

Phil
Kammalakkhano , bhikkhave, bālo, kammalakkhano pandito, apadānasobhanī paññāti
(The fool is characterized by his/her actions/the wise one is characterized by his/her actions/Wisdom shines forth in behaviour.)
(AN 3.2 Lakkhana Sutta)
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Re: Can someone please explain this part of The Rhinoceros to me

Postby fragrant herbs » Thu Dec 03, 2009 12:43 pm

Then it is better to not marry and have children? Not to be close to even your mother, father, siblings, and friends. It is better to not help out in your community by charitable works? It is better to not help out saving cats and dogs off the street to save them and place them in homes like the humane socieity does? Better to not help out in the soup kitchens. Then it is best to join a moanstery and help there but to remain detacted from the nuns?
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Re: Can someone please explain this part of The Rhinoceros to me

Postby Sanghamitta » Thu Dec 03, 2009 12:46 pm

It might be a swifter process fragrant herbs if you tell us what your interpretation is, as you seem by implication to bring one to the discussion.
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Re: Can someone please explain this part of The Rhinoceros to me

Postby fragrant herbs » Thu Dec 03, 2009 5:18 pm

Hi,

You wrote: It might be a swifter process fragrant herbs if you tell us what your interpretation is, as you seem by implication to bring one to the discussion.

the way i see it is that you should not socialize very much, not have children, not get married, not have sympathy for friends hardships, basically meditate and read Buddha's teachings. I took the precepts, but i am surprised to read this. it seems that Buddha wants us to be detached from life in general unless it envolves doing all you can to become enlightened. it also makes sense why Buddha left his wife and wandered. Thanks for all your answers.

But to me it feels like we are shunning life; instead it seems like we should develop loving relationships, have a family and friends, be giving in many ways, have sympathy for those in need and help them. That life is about developing these things. So reading this the other day rather surprised me. I heard about the Rhino story, but only in that if you do not have a sangha and therefore no one to talk to about Buddhism, then go your own way, do it alone. I didn't realize it entailed all the other.
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Re: Can someone please explain this part of The Rhinoceros to me

Postby mikenz66 » Thu Dec 03, 2009 7:32 pm

Hi Fragrant Herbs,

The way I see it, the Buddha taught different things, depending where the student was. So to people with families, he taught how to live a good family life. For monastics he taught how to live a good monastic life. If you look at one of the other Sutta Nipata suttas:
Snp 2.4 Maha-mangala Sutta: Blessings http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .nara.html
there is a progression from the likes of:
To support mother and father, to cherish wife and children, and to be engaged in peaceful occupation — this is the greatest blessing.

through to the likes of:
Self-restraint, a holy and chaste life, the perception of the Noble Truths and the realisation of Nibbana — this is the greatest blessing.


Metta
Mike
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Re: Can someone please explain this part of The Rhinoceros to me

Postby Chula » Thu Dec 03, 2009 11:04 pm

Hi,

I think it's worth noting that the Buddha did not say we "should" do anything (as in "Thou shalt not"). Also like Mike noted, that verse is really directed at monks - not for lay people who are married and have jobs. It's important to understand the context of the verse. Remember that the practice is a gradual training:

"Suppabuddha the leper, he gave a step-by-step talk, i.e., a talk on giving, a talk on virtue, a talk on heaven; he declared the drawbacks, degradation, & corruption of sensual passions, and the rewards of renunciation. Then when he saw that Suppabuddha the leper's mind was ready, malleable, free from hindrances, elated, & bright, he then gave the Dhamma-talk peculiar to Awakened Ones, i.e., stress, origination, cessation, & path. And just as a clean cloth, free of stains, would properly absorb a dye, in the same way, as Suppabuddha the leper was sitting in that very seat, the dustless, stainless Dhamma eye arose within him, "Whatever is subject to origination is all subject to cessation."
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... ml#gradual

Metta,
Chula

fragrant herbs wrote:Hi,

You wrote: It might be a swifter process fragrant herbs if you tell us what your interpretation is, as you seem by implication to bring one to the discussion.

the way i see it is that you should not socialize very much, not have children, not get married, not have sympathy for friends hardships, basically meditate and read Buddha's teachings. I took the precepts, but i am surprised to read this. it seems that Buddha wants us to be detached from life in general unless it envolves doing all you can to become enlightened. it also makes sense why Buddha left his wife and wandered. Thanks for all your answers.

But to me it feels like we are shunning life; instead it seems like we should develop loving relationships, have a family and friends, be giving in many ways, have sympathy for those in need and help them. That life is about developing these things. So reading this the other day rather surprised me. I heard about the Rhino story, but only in that if you do not have a sangha and therefore no one to talk to about Buddhism, then go your own way, do it alone. I didn't realize it entailed all the other.
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Re: Can someone please explain this part of The Rhinoceros to me

Postby chownah » Fri Dec 04, 2009 1:35 pm

I interpret the text to mean that if you want to follow the holy life you should expect to be apart from society....this does not mean that you must be a hermit but that you should expect that you will not really fit into social life and you will probably not meet societies expectations...and society will not meet with your expectations either.......another saying which I think means about the same thing is "to be in the world but not of the world".
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Re: Can someone please explain this part of The Rhinoceros to me

Postby fragrant herbs » Mon Dec 07, 2009 11:02 am

It seems to me that those that really followed Buddha gave up their normal life and became hermits, living in the woods, just as the real followers of Christ did. If a person really desires to become enlightened they follow Buddha to a tee.
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Re: Can someone please explain this part of The Rhinoceros to me

Postby phil » Wed Dec 09, 2009 9:58 am

fragrant herbs wrote:It seems to me that those that really followed Buddha gave up their normal life and became hermits, living in the woods, just as the real followers of Christ did. If a person really desires to become enlightened they follow Buddha to a tee.


Hi Fragrant.

But I think there can also be wise acceptance that it might not be in this lifetime that there are the suitable conditions to make the kind of renunciation the Buddha and the other great ones did. We are born with different predominant "roots." The beneficial, wholesome roots are panna (wisdom), alobha (generosity?) and adosa (friendliness, loving kindness, freedom from hatred) and the unbeneficial roots are roughly the opposite. We might be born with a friendly, generous mind, but that doesn't mean we'll be born with the kind of potential to penetrative wisdom others have. Of course I'm not saying that are minds are stamped in black and white with these characteristics, but as one lives one's life, there are lots of hints and eventually some of us will accept (as I have) that there can still be a very fruitful application of the Buddha's teaching by leading one's life in a very sound way when it comes to morality, along with developing to whatever degree is possible the understanding of the high teachings in theory that one knows will not be enlightened by oneself in all likelihood. And in lifetimes to come there is cause to hope that the conditions for enlightenment will be present.

Also, please note that the Buddha said that the one obligation that we all have above all is to do whatever is possible to take care of our parents. If I'm not mistaken, even adults who ordain must receive permission from their parents to do so. Sometimes the obligations and duties of the householder (i.e lay follower) are the ones that are the most suitable for us in this lifetime. And we are indeed "really following the Buddha" when we do so.

You might enjoy looking at this. It lays out a beautiful progression of the ways we receive the good fortune of being able to follow the Buddha. The final ones are very profound and rarefied, but the more mundane ones such as caring for one's parents, spouses, relatives and friends are still contained within the blessing of being able to follow the Buddha.

http://www.aimwell.org/Books/Pesala/Man ... ngala.html

Metta,

Phil

p.s correction, please, on the above about parental permission to ordain if I was wrong.Thanks.
Kammalakkhano , bhikkhave, bālo, kammalakkhano pandito, apadānasobhanī paññāti
(The fool is characterized by his/her actions/the wise one is characterized by his/her actions/Wisdom shines forth in behaviour.)
(AN 3.2 Lakkhana Sutta)
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Re: Can someone please explain this part of The Rhinoceros to me

Postby fragrant herbs » Wed Dec 09, 2009 12:50 pm

i am just not sure if it really was meant to be postponed to the next life.
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Re: Can someone please explain this part of The Rhinoceros to me

Postby cooran » Wed Dec 09, 2009 7:34 pm

Hello fragrant herbs, all,

Just a side-note to this discussion - according to the Venerable Nārada Mahāthera, the Khaggavisāna Sutta of the Sutta Nipāta are .... beautiful sayings of Pacceka Buddhas.
http://www.buddhanet.net/budsas/ebud/bu ... each40.htm

metta
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Re: Can someone please explain this part of The Rhinoceros to me

Postby phil » Thu Dec 10, 2009 2:09 am

fragrant herbs wrote:i am just not sure if it really was meant to be postponed to the next life.


Hi fragrant herbs

But let's not forget how many lifetimes there have been,countless lifetimes as we've wandered through samsara accumulating suffering through our insatiable desire for objects through the sense doors. If in this one lifetime we take advantage of the very rare opportunity of being born human in the time when a Buddha's teaching exists, and we apply ourselves diligently to the Buddha's teaching and manage to train the mind to stop behaving in ways that causes harm to ourselves and others, that is indeed a great accomplisment to be celebrated, even if it is not ultimate liberation. It is a huge step, and a lot easier said than done. If we compare this kind of provisional liberation (developing wholesome new habits to reshape the mindstream in a porfoundly better direction) to the kind of liberation offered by other religions (for example a certain one in which all we have to do to be saved is lift our hands to the sky and plead for the saviour to take us into his Kingdom etc) surely we can feel grateful and joyful that we have found something very real that is really moving us into the right direction. There is no postponing this kind of liberation to the next life, we have to start here and now, whether lay followers or not. The Mangala sutta that I linked to above doesn't say we just laze around taking care of our family, there is a lot of hard work to be done here and now. Liberation begins right now, every moment!

In any case, ultimate liberation cannot be had by forcing it, by will power. It is simply not for everyone, there are not conditions for everyone to have that liberation in this one lifetime. Not in Theravada. I guess in Mahayana it is different, everyone has a Buddha nature that they can tap into and be liberated, etc. Frankly, I don't think it's the Buddha's teaching. (And what I wrote about Mahayana is surely a gross oversimplification, sorry.)

OK, I'll leave that with you, fragrant herbs. I've said enough :smile:

Metta,

Phil
Kammalakkhano , bhikkhave, bālo, kammalakkhano pandito, apadānasobhanī paññāti
(The fool is characterized by his/her actions/the wise one is characterized by his/her actions/Wisdom shines forth in behaviour.)
(AN 3.2 Lakkhana Sutta)
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Re: Can someone please explain this part of The Rhinoceros to me

Postby fragrant herbs » Thu Dec 10, 2009 2:23 pm

thanks phil.
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