What is meant by the term "human control"?

Textual analysis and comparative discussion on early Buddhist sects and texts.
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DooDoot
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Joined: Tue Aug 08, 2017 11:06 pm

What is meant by the term "human control"?

Post by DooDoot » Sun Jun 17, 2018 3:48 am

Dear forum

Therigatha 3.4 says:
Divāvihārā nikkhamma,
gijjhakūṭamhi pabbate;
Nāgaṃ ogāhamuttiṇṇaṃ,
nadītīramhi addasaṃ.

Coming out from my day's abiding
on Vulture Peak Mountain,
I saw on the bank of a river
an elephant
emerged from its plunge.

Puriso aṅkusamādāya,
‘dehi pādan’ti yācati;
Nāgo pasārayī pādaṃ,
puriso nāgamāruhi.

A man holding a hook requested:
"Give me your foot."
The elephant
extended its foot.
The man
got up on the elephant.

Disvā adantaṃ damitaṃ,
manussānaṃ vasaṃ gataṃ;
Tato cittaṃ samādhesiṃ,
khalu tāya vanaṃ gatā”ti

Seeing what was untrained now tamed
brought under human control,
with that I centered my mind —
why I'd gone to the woods
in the first place.

https://suttacentral.net/thig3.4/en/thanissaro
What is meant by the term "human control"? :shrug:

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pitakele
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Re: What is meant by the term "human control"?

Post by pitakele » Sun Jun 17, 2018 5:01 am

DooDoot wrote:
Sun Jun 17, 2018 3:48 am

What is meant by the term "human control"?
Seems straightforward to me. Dantikā, having seen an elephant well trained by a mahout, reflects that she should be able to do likewise with her mind. There may be a similar verse in the Theragātha.

Dhammapada 326
"Formerly this mind wandered about as it liked, where it wished and according to its pleasure, but now I shall thoroughly master it with wisdom as a mahout controls with his ankus an elephant in rut."
https://suttacentral.net/dhp320-333/en/buddharakkhita
now here = nowhere

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DooDoot
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Re: What is meant by the term "human control"?

Post by DooDoot » Sun Jun 17, 2018 10:22 am

pitakele wrote:
Sun Jun 17, 2018 5:01 am
Seems straightforward to me. Dantikā, having seen an elephant well trained by a mahout, reflects that she should be able to do likewise with her mind.
Is this saying every person can control an elephant or control the mind?

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Sam Vara
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Location: Sussex, U.K.

Re: What is meant by the term "human control"?

Post by Sam Vara » Sun Jun 17, 2018 11:34 am

DooDoot wrote:
Sun Jun 17, 2018 10:22 am
pitakele wrote:
Sun Jun 17, 2018 5:01 am
Seems straightforward to me. Dantikā, having seen an elephant well trained by a mahout, reflects that she should be able to do likewise with her mind.
Is this saying every person can control an elephant or control the mind?
I would have thought neither. It doesn't seem to be framed as a universal or categorical statement about human capacities. It look more like a poetic expression of one woman's beautiful insight regarding her intentions.

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pitakele
Posts: 139
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Re: What is meant by the term "human control"?

Post by pitakele » Sun Jun 17, 2018 12:14 pm

DooDoot wrote:
Sun Jun 17, 2018 10:22 am
Is this saying every person can control an elephant or control the mind?
I think the most useful feature of Thag & Thig verses is the inspiration they provide for our practice. I don't see that anything extra needs to be read into this particular verse. As sometimes happens in verse, manussānam [pl.] may have been utilised for euphony rather than manussassa [sing.]. Either way, seeing that humans [or a human] can train & control an elephant has been the condition for wise reflection resulting in Dantikā's mind becoming focussed.
now here = nowhere

justindesilva
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Joined: Wed Jul 27, 2016 12:38 pm

Re: What is meant by the term "human control"?

Post by justindesilva » Sun Jun 17, 2018 5:48 pm

Sam Vara wrote:
Sun Jun 17, 2018 11:34 am
DooDoot wrote:
Sun Jun 17, 2018 10:22 am
pitakele wrote:
Sun Jun 17, 2018 5:01 am
Seems straightforward to me. Dantikā, having seen an elephant well trained by a mahout, reflects that she should be able to do likewise with her mind.
Is this saying every person can control an elephant or control the mind?
I would have thought neither. It doesn't seem to be framed as a universal or categorical statement about human capacities. It look more like a poetic expression of one woman's beautiful insight regarding her intentions.
Though said between lines the elephant here is pancendriya . It is only with training ( meditation and sila) one can train ones own mind like the elephant. Once the pancendriya ( perceptions) are in control of the mind the life will obey its path.

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