Affection arises in the one who has made (intimate) contact;
as a consequence of affection this suffering originates.
Considering the danger which comes from affection,
one should live alone, like the horn of a rhinoceros.
Affectionism can be a blessing and a curse. Upon that first intimate contact it can feel like the world is suddenly a wonderful place until that place takes a turn for the worse as the fragile intimacy dissipates. Undue suffrage will be an inevitable consequence when one places all of their chips on a significant other who can turn into a monstrous demon overnight. This verse says to consider the danger which comes from such an indeterminate enterprise. Better to reside alone in the quiescent assurance of the ultimate and unalterable union which solitude best affords.
Today I’d like to also consider the Thanissaro Bhikkhu translation which offers an alternate slant:
For a sociable person
there are allurements;
on the heels of allurement, this pain.
Seeing allurement’s drawback,
like a rhinoceros.
I’d like to use as a metaphor for allurement of overt sociability today’s ever popular Smartphone. I don’t own one myself and do not care to ever do so. It is such a captivating device that it, in turn, enslaves its user. The device in the palm is fast becoming the sole method of intercommunication between people, where texting supplants true human communication. A most dangerous one at that, wherein innumerable accidents have occurred since one’s sole attention is drilled into this demon detrimentally handicapping one’s attention. Even in social gatherings, like sitting around the dinner-table, becomes an awkward occasion since one’s head is inevitably drawn downwards to the palm-demon vs. even attempting some regular conversation with the person sitting next to you. Millennials are usually the prime example of this bondage, so much so that it retards normal mental health and even leads to depression and suicide. Not so smart after-all.
Of course the grand-demon of them all is today’s overall social-media, such as the allurement of Facebook and Twitter which has now become Orwellian in scope—the sole-determiner of one’s thoughts and beliefs and the swearing-in to the most popular opinion of the moment at all costs. One of the natural consequences of all this blatant-sociability is the rise of Socialism itself. Witness AOC (I like to refer to her as “Castro’s daughter”) with her band of communistas all dressed in white during last evenings SOTU address, purportedly as a symbol of the Woman’s Suffrage Movement, but for those who can discern between the lines their real intent behind all the drama—a very overt warning-sign of what is to come—blatantly Socialist agendas.
As has been written about here at Unborn Mind Zen, in union with today’s verse from the Sutta, what is needed more than anything else in this rapidly deteriorating culture is a return of the Monastic (read Ascetic) ideal. There is a need to step back from all the social-madness (addiction) and access the real value of turning-inward to discover the only source of salvation from this Saha-World. Once Mind’s own actuositatis of Its own turning-about from all defiled dharmata occurs, this gives reign to the Supreme Salvific Action, a reassertion of Its True un-differentiated and Stainless Stature in the Unborn. (from the hyperlink) Also, to reiterate from another series:
Like the former Dark Ages, it was isolated but vibrant contemplative monastic-communities and unbreachable mystic associations that kept the light of Western and Eastern Spirituality aflame. It will be no different in our own era. This has to do with that “Transcendent-factor” mentioned earlier in this blog. We here at Unborn Mind Zen believe that the best way to benefit humanity, especially spiritually, is first and foremost by directly “Recollecting the very vivifying ‘Source’ of one’s Unborn, Original Nature.” This is the ultimate liberation, turning-about completely from the psychophysical paradigm and once and for all relegating it to the dustbin of all temporal dissatisfactions. It is the unsurpassed “Contemplative-Dimension” wherein one transcends their own karmic factors that impinge upon True-Liberation of Mind and Spirit.