Khaggavisana Sutta
A Rhinoceros Horn

Translated from the Pali by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

 

Renouncing violence
for all living beings,
harming not even a one,
you would not wish for offspring,
so how a companion?
Wander alone
like a rhinoceros.

For a sociable person
there are allurements;
on the heels of allurement, this pain.
Seeing allurement’s drawback,
wander alone
like a rhinoceros.

One whose mind
is enmeshed in sympathy
for friends and companions,
neglects the true goal.
Seeing this danger in intimacy,
wander alone
like a rhinoceros.

Like spreading bamboo,
entwined,
is concern for offspring and spouses.
Like a bamboo sprout,
un-entangling,
wander alone
like a rhinoceros.

As a deer in the wilds,
unfettered,
goes for forage wherever it wants:
the wise person, valuing freedom,
wanders alone
like a rhinoceros.

In the midst of companions
— when staying at home,
when going out wandering —
you are prey to requests.
Valuing the freedom
wander alone
like a rhinoceros.

There is sporting and love
in the midst of companions,
and abundant fondness for offspring.
Feeling disgust
at the prospect of parting
from those who’d be dear,
wander alone
like a rhinoceros.

Without resistance in all four directions,
content with whatever you get,
enduring troubles with no dismay,
wander alone
like a rhinoceros.

They are hard to please,
some of those gone forth,
as well as those living the household life.
Shedding concern
for these offspring of others,
wander alone
like a rhinoceros.

Cutting off the householder’s marks, [1]
like a kovilara tree
that has shed its leaves,
the prudent one, cutting all household ties,
wander alone
like a rhinoceros.

If you gain a mature companion,
a fellow traveler, right living and wise,
overcoming all dangers
go with him, gratified,
mindful.

If you don’t gain a mature companion,
a fellow traveler, right-living and wise,
wander alone
like a king renouncing his kingdom,
like the elephant in the Matanga wilds,
his herd.

We praise companionship
— yes!
Those on a par, or better,
should be chosen as friends.
If they’re not to be found,
living faultlessly,
wander alone
like a rhinoceros.

Seeing radiant bracelets of gold,
well made by a smith,
clinking, clashing,
two on an arm,
wander alone
like a rhinoceros,

[Thinking:]
“In the same way,
if I were to live with another,
there would be careless talk or abusive.”
Seeing this future danger,
wander alone
like a rhinoceros.

Because sensual pleasures,
elegant, honeyed, and charming,
bewitch the mind with their manifold forms —
seeing this drawback in sensual strands —
wander alone
like a rhinoceros.

“Calamity, tumor, misfortune,
disease, an arrow, a danger for me.”
Seeing this danger in sensual strands,
wander alone
like a rhinoceros.

Cold and heat, hunger and thirst,
wind and sun, horseflies and snakes:
enduring all these, without exception,
wander alone
like a rhinoceros.

As a great white elephant,
with massive shoulders,
renouncing his herd,
lives in the wilds wherever he wants,
wander alone
like a rhinoceros.

“There’s no way
that one delighting in company
can touch even momentary release.”
Heeding the Solar Kinsman’s words,
wander alone
like a rhinoceros.

Transcending the contortion of views,
the sure way attained,
the path gained,
[realizing:]
“Un-led by others,
I have knowledge arisen,”
wander alone
like a rhinoceros.

With no greed, no deceit,
no thirst, no hypocrisy —
delusion and blemishes
blown away —
with no inclinations for all the world,
every world,
wander alone
like a rhinoceros.

Avoid the evil companion
disregarding the goal,
intent on the out-of-tune way.
Don’t take as a friend
someone heedless and hankering.
Wander alone
like a rhinoceros.

Consort with one who is learned,
who maintains the Dhamma,
a great and quick-witted friend.
Knowing the meanings,
subdue your perplexity,
[then] wander alone
like a rhinoceros,

Free from longing, finding no pleasure
in the world’s sport, love, or sensual bliss,
abstaining from adornment,
speaking the truth,
wander alone
like a rhinoceros.

Abandoning offspring, spouse,
father, mother,
riches, grain, relatives,
and sensual pleasures
altogether,
wander alone
like a rhinoceros.

“This is a bondage, a baited hook.
There’s little happiness here,
next to no satisfaction,
all the more suffering and pain.”
Knowing this, circumspect,
wander alone
like a rhinoceros.

Shattering fetters,
like a fish in the water tearing a net,
like a fire not coming back to what’s burnt,
wander alone
like a rhinoceros.

Eyes downcast, not footloose,
senses guarded, with protected mind,
not oozing — not burning — with lust,
wander alone
like a rhinoceros.

Taking off the householder’s marks, [2]
like a coral tree
that has shed its leaves,
going forth in the ochre robe,
wander alone
like a rhinoceros.

Showing no greed for flavors, not careless,
going from house to house for alms,
with mind un-enmeshed in this family or that,
wander alone
like a rhinoceros.

Abandoning barriers to awareness,
expelling all defilements — all —
non-dependent, cutting aversion,
allurement,
wander alone
like a rhinoceros.

Turning your back on pleasure and pain,
as earlier with sorrow and joy,
attaining pure equanimity,
tranquility,
wander alone
like a rhinoceros.

With persistence aroused
for the highest goal’s attainment,
with mind un-smeared, not lazy in action,
firm in effort, with steadfastness and strength arisen,
wander alone
like a rhinoceros.

Not neglecting seclusion, absorption,
constantly living the Dhamma
in line with the Dhamma,
comprehending the danger
in states of becoming,
wander alone
like a rhinoceros.

Intent on the ending of craving and heedful,
learned, mindful, not muddled,
certain — having reckoned the Dhamma —
and striving,
wander alone
like a rhinoceros.

Un-startled, like a lion at sounds.
Un-snared, like the wind in a net.
Un-smeared, like a lotus in water:
wander alone
like a rhinoceros.

Like a lion — forceful, strong in fang,
living as a conqueror, the king of beasts —
resort to a solitary dwelling.
Wander alone
like a rhinoceros.

At the right time consorting
with the release through good will,
compassion,
appreciation,
equanimity,
unobstructed by all the world,
any world,
wander alone
like a rhinoceros.

Having let go of passion,
aversion,
delusion;
having shattered the fetters;
undisturbed at the ending of life,
wander alone
like a rhinoceros.

People follow and associate
for a motive.
Friends without a motive these days
are rare.
They’re shrewd for their own ends, and impure.
Wander alone
like a rhinoceros.

Footnotes:

1. Hair and beard.

2. Lay clothing.

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