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Poetry Discussion

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Gabriel Gomez
Gabriel Gomez

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Indeed, Takṣaśīlā, called Taxilla by the Greeks, was an important center of learning during and after the time of the Buddha and, according to Chinese sources, had a reputation for ophthalmic cures. This literature records, for example, that Ghoṣa, a monk from Takṣaśilā, was asked to travel to China to heal a blind prince who had heard of the monk from travelers. The monk brought the prince to sight by bathing his eyes with tears shed by those who heard his religious instruction (Tt 2017:7, tr. Huber, Sūtrālaṁkāra 213f) (17). The Chinese Buddhist monk Faxian (or Fa-hsien, 337-ca. 422) travelled throughout central and southeast Asia, as well as India, and also wrote about Taxila. His writings include the translation of an ophthalmic sutra (T1380) (17).

A commentary from 509 CE on the Mahāparinirvāna-sutra (Ttt 1763:23:469a) mentions ophthalmology using a term that corresponds with the Sanskrit śālākya, and would include surgery with the needle, on the eyes or ears (17).

Herophilus, wrote a now-lost treatise On Eyes, dissected the eyes of humans, and is credited by von Staden with the discovery of the optic nerve (30). Herophilus described the posterior surface of the iris and compared the retina to a net (30). Demosthenes Philalethes, thought to be of the Herophilean school, wrote a work Ophthalmicus in the first century CE, portions of which have survived in the sixth century writings of Aëtius of Amida and other works (30,45).

Of note, some Old World societies which came into contact with people with light blue eyes used the same term to describe a healthy light blue or green eye and the lightest category of diseased eye. In Hippocratic Greece, which was a pre-couching society (as far as we know), the lightest eye category was described as glaukos regardless of whether the eye was a normal blue eye, or a diseased eye. Although the glaukos eye was not consistent with good vision, the glaukos eye might be transient or improve, just as a keratitis might improve. It would not hurt to try medicines, though it is doubtful that ancient medicines were typically efficacious for any conditions (40).

In many regions, couching served as a metaphor for spiritual enlightenment. A symbolic Buddhist ritual involving a cataract operation with a śalākā was described in Sanskrit with commentary in Old Javanese (17). The symbolic rite in Tantrism of touching the initiate, often on the eyes, with a golden wand was present in Tibet and in Japan, according to the Vairocanasūtra (T 848:2:12a), the Mahāparinirvāṇa-sūtra (T 374:8:411c), and the Tattvasaṁgraha (T 866:4:252a) (17). Examples of these symbolic wands were imported into Japan from China in the 9th century (17). Of course, such metaphors in a particular region do not prove the existence of the actual practice of couching.

The Cyclopes' prowess as craftsmen is stressed by Hesiod who says "strength and force and contrivances were in their works."[19] Being such skilled craftsmen of great size and strength, later poets, beginning with the third-century BC poet Callimachus, imagine these Cyclopes, the primordial makers of Zeus' thunderbolt, becoming the assistants of the smith-god Hephaestus, at his forge in Sicily, underneath Mount Etna, or perhaps the nearby Aeolian Islands.[20] In his Hymn to Artemis, Callimachus has the Cyclopes on the Aeolian island of Lipari, working "at the anvils of Hephaestus", make the bows and arrows used by Apollo and Artemis.[21] The first-century BC Latin poet Virgil, in his epic Aeneid, has the Cyclopes: "Brontes and Steropes and bare-limbed Pyracmon"[22] toil under the direction of Vulcan (Hephaestus), in caves underneath Mount Etna and the Aeolian islands.[23] Virgil describes the Cyclopes, in Vulcan's smithy forging iron, making a thunderbolt, a chariot for Mars, and Pallas's Aegis, with Vulcan interrupting their work to command the Cyclopes to fashion arms for Aeneas.[24] The later Latin poet Ovid also has the Hesiodic Cyclopes Brontes and Steropes (along with a third Cyclops named Acmonides), work at forges in Sicilian caves.[25]

Then [Gaia] bore the Cyclopes, who have very violent hearts, Brontes (Thunder) and Steropes (Lightning) and strong-spirited Arges (Bright), those who gave thunder to Zeus and fashioned the thunderbolt. These were like the gods in other regards, but only one eye was set in the middle of their foreheads;[57] and they were called Cyclopes (Circle-eyed) by name, since a single circle-shaped eye was set in their foreheads. Strength and force and contrivances were in their works.[58]

mingled not with others, but lived apart, with his heart set on lawlessness. For he was fashioned a wondrous monster, and was not like a man that lives by bread, but like a wooded peak of lofty mountains, which stands out to view alone, apart from the rest,[70] ... [and as] a savage man that knew naught of justice or of law.[71]

Cyclopes, for me too fashion ye a Cydonian bow and arrows and a hollow casket for my shafts; for I also am a child of Leto, even as Apollo. And if I with my bow shall slay some wild creature or monstrous beast, that shall the Cyclopes eat.[89]

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The Toyota GT86 (aka Subaru BRZ, Scion FRS) when released was heralded as the return of inexpensive, rear wheel drive sports cars. I may be in the minority, but upon release what I clapped my eyes on was an admittedly very pretty car with too many drawbacks to even register on my shortlist. I test drove the GT86 over a year ago before putting my money down on a Mustang, but I was hoping to come away throwing money at my local Toyota dealership instead given all the hype. 041b061a72


discussion about poetry by Kelly Alexandra Hoff.


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