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THE ELEPHANT AND HIS OLD BLIND MOTHER
October 7, 2017
6:51 pm
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Nesaie
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http://www.viewonbuddhism.org/.....l#elephant

THE ELEPHANT AND HIS OLD BLIND MOTHER

Long ago, in the hills of the Himalayas near a lotus pool, the Buddha was once born as a baby elephant. He was a magnificent elephant, pure white with feet and face the color of coral. His trunk gleamed like a silver rope and his ivory tusks curled up in a long arc. 
He followed his mother everywhere. She plucked the tenderest leaves and sweetest mangoes from the tall trees and gave them to him. "First you, then me," she said. She bathed him in the cool lotus pool among the fragrant flowers. Drawing the sparkling water up in her trunk, she sprayed him over the top of his head and back until he shone. Then filling his trunk with water, he took careful aim and squirted a perfect geyser right between his mother's eyes. Without blinking, she squirted him back. And back and forth, they gleefully squirted and splashed each other. Splish! Splash! 
Then they rested in the soft muck with their trunks curled together. In the deep shadows of afternoon, the mother elephant rested in the shade of a rose-apple tree and watched her son romp and frolic with the other baby elephants. 
The little elephant grew and grew until he was the tallest and strongest young bull in the herd. And while he grew taller and stronger, his mother grew older and older. Her tusks were yellow and broken and in time she became blind. The young elephant plucked the tenderest leaves and sweetest mangoes from the tall trees and gave them to his dear old blind mother. "First you, then me," he said.

He bathed her in the cool lotus pool among the fragrant flowers. Drawing the sparkling water up in his trunk, he sprayed her over the top of her head and back until she shone. Then they rested in the soft muck with their trunks curled together. In the deep shadows of afternoon, the young elephant guided his mother to the shade of a rose-apple tree. Then he went roaming with the other elephants. One day a king was hunting and spied the beautiful white 
elephant. "What a splendid animal! I must have him to ride upon!" So the king captured the elephant and put him in the royal stable. He adorned him with silk and jewels and garlands of lotus flowers. He gave him sweet grass and juicy plums and filled his trough with pure water.

But the young elephant would not eat or drink. He wept and wept, growing thinner each day. "Noble elephant," said the king, "I adorn you with silk and jewels. I give you the finest food and the purest water, yet you do not eat or drink. What will please you?" The young elephant said, "Silk and jewels, food and drink do not make me happy. My blind old mother is alone in the forest with no one to care for her. Though I may die, I will take no food or water until I give some to her first."

The king said, "Never have I seen such kindness, not even among humans. It is not right to keep this young elephant in chains." Free, the young elephant raced through the hills looking for his mother. He found her by the lotus pool. There she lay in the mud, too weak to move. With tears in his eyes, he filled his trunk with water and sprayed the top of her head and back until she shone. "Is it raining?" she asked. "Or has my son returned to me?" "It is your very own son!" he cried. "The king has set me free!" As he washed her eyes, a miracle happened. Her sight returned. "May the king rejoice today as I rejoice at seeing my son again!" she said.

The young elephant then plucked the tenderest leaves and sweetest mangoes from a tree and gave them to her. "First you, then me."

Such a society would be dominated by an elite, unrestrained by traditional values. Soon it will be possible to assert almost continuous surveillance over every citizen... - Zbigniew Brezhinsky

October 7, 2017
7:22 pm
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Nesaie
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My personal interpretation of this story:

The king represents material goals and the mother represents all family.  We're raised by our family and nurtured.  At a certain age we go out into the world and try to do well financially in our careers.  We buy stuff and get side tracked by materialism.  We want to "keep up with the Jones".  At some point, parents age.  They're not going to be around forever.  That is when we need to be there for our parents and put their needs ahead of ours.

For me, this story really resonates.  My brother wanted to put my mom in a nursing home.  I changed my life and now she is my full time job.  I want to do everything I can to keep her out of a nursing home.  My grandma was scared of ever being put in one.  She had worked in one as a nurse and knew what went on.  In Canada a nurse just went to prison for murdering patients in a nursing home.  At some point my mom may become too much.  But, there are agencies with nurses that come to your home and help with various tasks.  Knock on wood, it won't come to that.  

I think that because everyone wants the bigger house, the better car, the more shoes, the more toys, we've lost sight of what is the most important thing...FAMILY.  Nobody's family is perfect and my mom isn't perfect.  But, blood is thicker than water.  We can argue that "my family is more dysfunctional than yours", but does that matter?  

I am a big believer in extended families.  My grandma raised me in my early life.  I believe someone should stay home with the children, if you're going to have them.  I also believe in home schooling, but that is a different subject.  As parents age, they can help with the grandchildren.  When they get sick, a family member can take care of them.  

I realize that before my mom moved in with me, her dementia was getting a lot worse than I paid attention to.  It was hard to tell just by a phone call.  I didn't pay enough attention at the time.  I was too busy with my own life.  That was my experience of living with the king in this story.

Such a society would be dominated by an elite, unrestrained by traditional values. Soon it will be possible to assert almost continuous surveillance over every citizen... - Zbigniew Brezhinsky

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