Saturday January 6, 2007


Sydney Zoo in Australia was ringing to the sound of Buddhist chants the other day, as five elephants arrived from Thailand. The elephants were retired from the logging industry in 2004, and were chosen by a team of Australian zoologists for a breeding programme at the zoo. A court challenge trying to block the transfer of the elephants to Australia was eventually lost, and the zoo’s five new inhabitants were welcomed (so, presumably, they would feel at home) by a team of Buddhist monks chanting blessings. Hopefully the breeding programme will go well, and the monks’ chanting will not have instilled in the elephants the noble intention to go beyond desire. And whilst on the subject of rutting elephants, here – for your edification – is what the Dhammapada has to say about the matter.

Excellent are tamed
tamed thoroughbreds,
tamed horses from Sindh.
Excellent, tamed tuskers,
great elephants.
But even more excellent
are those
For not by these mounts could you go
to the land unreached,
as the tamed one goes
by taming, well-taming, himself.
The tusker, Dhanapalaka,
deep in rut is hard to control.
Bound, he won’t eat a morsel:
the tusker misses
the elephant wood.

Have a quick look at story on the BBC website here.

# · Elephant Sounds

Do you know about the Thai Elephant orchestra: http://www.mulatta.org/Thaielephantorch.html


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