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Folklore: Need - The blind men and the elephant

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Wesley S 12 Feb 03 - 02:46 PM
GUEST,Q 12 Feb 03 - 02:59 PM
GUEST,Q 12 Feb 03 - 03:03 PM
Wesley S 12 Feb 03 - 04:32 PM
Hollowfox 12 Feb 03 - 04:33 PM
Hollowfox 13 Feb 03 - 09:06 PM
Joe Offer 13 Feb 03 - 10:52 PM
Jim Dixon 14 Feb 03 - 10:07 AM
Jim Dixon 14 Feb 03 - 10:11 AM
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Subject: Folklore: Need - The blind men and the elephant
From: Wesley S
Date: 12 Feb 03 - 02:46 PM

I was hoping that someone could point me to the famous story of the blind men and the elephant. Each blind man touches the elephant and describes it in a different way. One sees it as a wall when he touches it's side, one describes it as being like a tree trunk when he feels the leg, and so on.

Is there a site where I can find the whole story or would someone be able to cut and paste it for me? I need it for a presentation this weekend and you really would be helping me out. Thanks - Wesley


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Need - The blind men and the elephant
From: GUEST,Q
Date: 12 Feb 03 - 02:59 PM

Put "Blind Man and the Elephant" in Google, and you will find the words.
I will try the link (long, I may bomb out)
Elephant


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Need - The blind men and the elephant
From: GUEST,Q
Date: 12 Feb 03 - 03:03 PM

An older version of the story at: Blind man


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Need - The blind men and the elephant
From: Wesley S
Date: 12 Feb 03 - 04:32 PM

Q - That was perfect - just what I needed. I hope I can return the favor sometime. Thanks - Wesley


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Need - The blind men and the elephant
From: Hollowfox
Date: 12 Feb 03 - 04:33 PM

Well, checking my library's catalog, I found two versions in the children's collection:

Seven Blind Mice by Ed Young (1992) I think this was an award winner, so it's likely available in your library as well. Pretty too.

and

Blind Men and the Elephant by Lillian Quigly (1959) Less likely to find, as it is an older title.

In the adult section, try the Dermis Probe by Idires Shah. It's the title story, obviously.

You might also want to drive your librarian nuts by seeing if she can track it down as a poem. I've got to go and do a program at my library now, so I don't have time to track it down that way right now.
I'll see if I can find anything later. Good luck.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Need - The blind men and the elephant
From: Hollowfox
Date: 13 Feb 03 - 09:06 PM

I went to Yahoo, to the "Folklore" section, clicked on Advanced Search for just that section, and put in the words "blind" and "elephant". I got the poem, information on it's origin as a Buddhist sutra, and so on. Enjoy.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Need - The blind men and the elephant
From: Joe Offer
Date: 13 Feb 03 - 10:52 PM

A priest did a very nice job of telling this story in his homily a few years back. Then he said the story teaches us that since we as individuals are incapable of gaining a full perspective of the truth, it's a wonderful thing that we have Holy Mother Church, who can show us the truth with authority.
I sent him a rather heated letter, suggesting that perhaps the story teaches that we have to share our perspectives in order to come to a fuller understanding of things, and that perhaps there is no one, complete understanding of truth.
He didn't agree.

I heard him preach a few weeks ago, and he did seem to have relaxed his views a bit. I told him so.
He didn't seem pleased.

-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Need - The blind men and the elephant
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 14 Feb 03 - 10:07 AM

Here's an excerpt from Masnavi, by the 13th century Persian poet-mystic Rumi, copied from http://liaisons.ou.edu/~lgibbs/myth/07_rumi/readings/masnavi_3.htm
Follow links on that page for more information about the author and his work.

The Elephant in a Dark Room

Some Hindoos were exhibiting an elephant in a dark room, and many people collected to see it. But as the place was too dark to permit them to see the elephant, they all felt it with their hands, to gain an idea of what it was like. One felt its trunk, and declared that the beast resembled a water-pipe; another felt its ear, and said it must be a large fan; another its leg, and thought it must be a pillar; another felt its back, and declared the beast must be like a great throne. According to the part which each felt, he gave a different description of the animal.

The eye of outward sense is as the palm of a hand,
The whole of the object is not grasped in the palm.
The sea itself is one thing, the foam another;
Neglect the foam, and regard the sea with your eyes.
Waves of foam rise from the sea night and day,
You look at the foam ripples and not the mighty sea.
We, like boats, are tossed hither and thither,
We are blind though we are on the bright ocean.
Ah! you who are asleep in the boat of the body,
You see the water; behold the Water of waters!
Under the water you see there is another Water moving it,
Within the spirit is a Spirit that calls it.
Keep silence that you may hear Him speaking
Words unutterable by tongue in speech.
Keep silence, that you may hear from that Sun
Things inexpressible in books and discourses.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Need - The blind men and the elephant
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 14 Feb 03 - 10:11 AM

Joe: My interpretation is: Beware of people who claim to know the truth. It may be that they have experienced only part of the truth.


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