Tuesday, March 28, 2017

The Buddha's PONY: too beautiful to live

Look no further for the secret to that sleeping-baby glow. These babies may have revealed the answer. Snuggle up with man’s best friend. A favorite dog, cat, or piglet will do. Parents, just remember to follow the updated pediatrician recommendations for safe sleep for babies 1-year-old and younger. And don’t let infants and animals snooze together when you’re not there to supervise. More

The Buddha's white pony 
G. P. Malalasekera (Dictionary of Pali Names) edited by Dhr. Seven, Wisdom Quarterly

The Scythian prince loved his horse.
The Scythian prince had a white pony.

The baby Prince Siddhartha -- before he renounced at 29-years-old, traveled East to meditate, and awakened thus becoming "the Buddha" at age 35 -- had a a white pony named Kanthaka. This horse was very devoted. It broke his heart when Prince Siddhartha left.

The horse on which Gautama left his father's palace, accompanied by his attendant Channa, was the horse Kanthaka.

Stone carving of white pony Kanthaka.
It is said that when he was saddled for the journey, he realized the importance of the hour and neighed loudly for joy, but the devas ("shining ones") muffled the sound of his neighing and his footsteps as he galloped through the streets.

Ordinarily the sound of his neighing and galloping could be heard throughout the seasonal royal palace in Kapilavatthu [modern Bamiyan, Afghanistan, according to Dr. Ranajit Pal].

He was 18 cubits long [cubit=length between elbow and fingertips] from neck to tail and proportionately broad and white in color like a clean conch-shell.
In this journey of renunciation, leaving when all were asleep, Channa held on to Kanthaka's tail. The horse had the strength, had it been necessary, to clear the ramparts of the city, 18 hands high, at a single bound, with the prince and Channa on his back.

Just outside Kapilavatthu the prince stopped the horse to take one last look at the capital  city. A burial mound (cetiya) was later erected on this spot and called Kanthakanivatta cetiya.

Prince Siddhartha renounces worldly life by casting off his finery, jewellery, and long hair.
The horse traveled 30 leagues between midnight and the following morning, as far as the river Anomā. It is said that Kanthaka could travel around the whole realm [wold-system, cakka-vāla, so perhaps it was an advanced craft or a supernaturally powerful horse] in one night.

With one leap the horse cleared the river, which was eight fathoms wide [fathom=6 feet]. On arriving on the opposite bank, the Bodhisattva, the Buddha-to-be, gave orders that Kanthaka should be taken back to Kapilavatthu.

But Kanthaka kept looking back at the beloved prince, And when the Bodhisattva disappeared from view, the horse died of a broken heart. And he was immediately reborn in (heavenly) Realm of the Thirty-Three, Tāvatimsa, under the name of Kanthaka-devaputta (lit. "Kanthaka, son of god," one reborn as offspring of the devas). (J.i.62-5; Mtu.ii.159f., 165, 189, 190; VibhA.34, etc.; Buddhacarita, v.3, 68; vi.53ff).

Prince Siddhartha, who became the Buddha, grew up with a white pony named Kanthaka.
The Buddha, a Scythian, lived on the Silk Route
The pony Kanthaka had been born on the same day as the Bodhisattva (J.i.54; BuA.106, 234, etc.) as had the bodhi tree and his cousin/future wife Bimba, aka Yasodhara, which would mean he was 29 when he passed away to be reborn.

In the Heaven of the Thirty-Three he had a magnificent palace of sapphire (veluriya) gems, which the male chief disciple Maha Moggallāna, foremost in psychic powers (counterpart of Ven. Uppalavanna, the chief female disciple, foremost in psychic powers), visited on one of his tours in Tāvatimsa. (Vv.73f;-VVA.311-18; see also DhA.i.70; iii.195).

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