Sunday, September 21, 2014

The Buddha's HORSE (cartoon)

Dhr. Seven, Amber Larson, Crystal Quintero, CC Liu, Wisdom Quarterly; Charlie the Unicorn (; G.P. Malalasekera (Dictionary of Pali Proper Names)
The Shakyas (Indo-Scythians) of Sakastan with their territory west of ancient India
(gAmINgElItE27) "Charlie the Unicorn" Episodes 1, 2, 3, and 4 all together at last!
If Siddhartha's white pony, Kanthaka, were alive today, he would probably be a fan of the misadventures of grumpy Charlie and his cheerful friends, who show him so much he was not expecting.

The horse on which Prince Siddhartha Gautama left his father's kingdom, accompanied by his attendant Channa, was named Kanthaka.
The Buddha had a white pony?
Central Asia and horses, the tradition continues even today. Here Ashol-Pan the Mongolian-Kazakh falconer wanders about like a nomad near the Altai mountains (
A warrior needs a healing horse
It is said that when Kanthaka was saddled for the journey, the intelligent animal realized the importance of the hour and neighed loudly for joy.

But the devas muffled the sound of his neighing as also that of his footsteps as he galloped through the streets. Ordinarily these sounds could be heard throughout Kapilavastu (Pali Kapilavatthu), the capital of Shakya-land.
  • Shakya-land, or Sakka-land, is the name we are giving to the territory, or janapada, controlled by the Shakya Clan, the Prince Siddhartha's extended family. A cursory review of ancient maps of the area suggests that the Shakyas were known as the Sakkas (see, for example, the Sakka Sutta in the Pali canon) and their territory was later called Sakastan. Dr. Ranajit Pal has suggested that the Buddha's mother was from Seistan Balochistan, a province between modern Iran, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. They were Indo-Scythians -- pastoral, nomadic, noble "warrior" caste clan members enriched by the commerce out of India along the Silk Route up into Central and Northern Asia, where Buddhism soon traveled prior to reaching ancient Greece, China, and most of the rest of Asia.
Equestrian activities are crucial and beloved in Afghanistan and throughout Central Asia even today, here seen during a friendly game of goat polo (buzkashi). The ancient Indo-Scythians of Sakastan had games like archery to build up young men's warrior abilities (wiki)
All heroic figures get white horses?
Kanthaka was 18 cubits long from neck to tail and proportionately broad, white in color, like a clean conch shell.

On this journey of renunciation, the prince's attendant and charioteer Channa held on to Kanthaka's tail. The horse had the strength, had it been necessary, to jump the ramparts of the city, 18 hands high, at one bound, with both the prince and Channa on his back.

The Indus river of Scythia/Gandhara
Just outside Kapilavastu the prince stopped the horse, in order to take a last look at the city. A cetiya (pagoda, memorial, Indo-Scythian monument) was later erected on this spot, which is called the Kanthaka-nivatta-Cetiya.
The horse traveled 30 leagues between midnight and the following morning, as far as the river Anomā. (The actual river Siddhartha crossed to leave Shakya-land was more likely the Himalayan-fed Indus River or one of its tributaries dividing ancient Gandhara, modern Afghanistan and Pakistan, which were until recently the northwest frontier of India).
  • Based on historical disinformation a rather minor river in Nepal is today called the Anoma. However, one imagines the future Buddha's journey actually began somewhere in the vicinity of Bamiyan, Kabul, and Mes Aynak, Afghanistan. The prince then headed east for "India," the Kingdom of Magadha in particular, one of the major territories of 16 loosely confederated republics and kingdoms that would have formed what is now called India but which were then independent rival territories.
Mythic Christ (not Jesus) got a white donkey
It is said that Kanthaka could travel around the whole cakka-vāla (around the world or the Shakya territory, as if Kanthaka were a "mount/vahana" (a flying vehicle or vimana, rather than an ordinary animal) in one night. With one leap the horse cleared the river, which was eight fathoms [1 fathom is 6 feet x 8 = 48 feet] wide. On arriving on the other bank, the Bodhisattva gave orders to Channa that Kanthaka should be taken back to Kapilavastu.

But Kanthaka kept looking back at his kind royal owner -- who had lived together for 29 years we are led to believe, as legend has it that Yashodara (Princess Bimba), the Bodhi tree (Ficus religiosa in Bodh Gaya), and the prince were all born on the same day. So when the Bodhisattva finally disappeared from view, Kanthaka died of a broken heart. He was immediately reborn in the World of the Thirty-Three (Tāvatimsa), a kind of Valhalla, conceived of as an Indo-Scythian heaven with Sakka as its king. In that world he is called Kanthaka-devaputta (Kanthaka, "son of god," but "son of god" is just a title that means "born among the devas," J.i.62-5; Mtu.ii.159f., 165, 189, 190; VibhA.34, etc.; Buddhacarita, v.3, 68; vi.53ff).

Siddhartha parting from Kanthaka and Chandaka, Gandhara art, Indo-Scythia (wiki)
The changing sands of kingdoms, empires
Kanthaka had been born on the same day as the Bodhisattva (J.i.54; BuA.106, 234, etc.). In Sakka's heaven he had a magnificent palace of veluriya gems, which Ven. Maha Moggallāna later visited on one of his tours of Tāvatimsa (Vv.73f;-VVA.311-18; see also DhA.i.70; iii.195). It is no accident that this should be the case because his karma was such that like Princess Yasodhara and Queen Maha Maya, all three volunteered to help the Bodhisattva set up the conditions to gain final enlightenment and establish the Dharma on Earth lead to the liberation of countless devas and human beings.

(Wiki) Modern Afghan games, rite of passage for males, not so good for goats.

Siddhartha's mother, Maya Devi, was reborn in the World of the Thirty-Three, we are told, seven days after giving birth to the prince. Her sister, Prince Siddhartha's father, King Suddhodana's co-wife, named Maha Prajapati Devi, raised the prince as her own. Whereas Kanthaka and Maya Devi were reborn in that lowly heavenly plane, Yasodhara and Maha Prajapati went on to become prominent Buddhist nuns, one a fierce disputant named Bhaddakaccana and the other the first fully ordained female in Buddhism, and both attained enlightenment along with many other Shakyan/Scythian "nobles" (called kshatriyas by the Brahmins, but actually aryans, a word the Buddha changed to mean not something was is born into but rather what one achieves by merit/karma: the various stages of enlightenment).
Scythian Archeology
Three Jewels (Ti-Ratana) Scythian-Buddhist coin of Azes II with Triratna (wiki)
(Wiki) Archaeological remains of the Scythians include kurgan tombs (ranging from simple exemplars to elaborate "Royal kurgans" containing the "Scythian triad" of weapons, horse-harness, and Scythian-style wild-animal art), gold, silk, and animal sacrifices, in places also with suspected human sacrifices.[29][30] Mummification techniques, and permafrost have aided in the relative preservation of some remains. Scythian archaeology also examines the remains of North Pontic Scythian cities and fortifications.[31] The spectacular Scythian grave-goods from Arzhan, and others in Tuva have been dated from about 900 BC onward. One grave find on the lower Volga gave a similar date, and one of the Steblev graves from the East  European end of the Scythian area was dated to the late 8th century BC.[32] More

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