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White Elephants

A "white elephant" is an expensive possession that is a financial burden to maintain. The expression derives from Southeast Asian monarchs' practice of making gifts of rare albino elephants, which, although sacred in South Asia and a sign of the ruler’s favor, were very expensive to keep and could not be sold or used for work. White elephants were thus both a blessing and a curse. According to tradition, what role did a white elephant play in the birth of the Buddha?

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Article

White Elephants

A "white elephant" is an expensive possession that is a financial burden to maintain. The expression derives from Southeast Asian monarchs' practice of making gifts of rare albino elephants, which, although sacred in South Asia and a sign of the ruler’s favor, were very expensive to keep and could not be sold or used for work. White elephants were thus both a blessing and a curse. According to tradition, what role did a white elephant play in the birth of the Buddha?

Last updated on Wednesday, 9th October 2019

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