I've been traveling quite a bit lately, so it was a welcome relief to swing by home sweet home (check mail, sleep, water lawn, sleep, get new clothes, sleep) --- but look who was waiting when we arrived.
On the roof... in the drive...
Up the walk to the front door...
Pleased to see you, too, but excuse me:
time for a nap.
UPDATED: I am now prompted to report that the collective name for a group of peacocks is: an "ostentation of peacocks," or a "muster of peacocks." Now, the whole thing about peacocks and poison is well known:
"In jungles of poisonous plants strut the peacocks
Though medicine gardens of beauty lie near
The masses of peacocks do not find gardens pleasant
But thrive on the essence of poisonous plants.
"In similar fashion the brave Bodhisattvas
Remain in the jungle of worldly concern.
No matter how joyful this world's pleasure gardens,
These Brave Ones are never attracted to pleasures
But thrive in the jungle of suffering and pain.
"We spend our whole life in the march for enjoyment,
Yet tremble with fear at the mere thought of pain;
Thus since we are cowards, we are miserable still.
But the brave Bodhisattvas accept suffering gladly
And gain from their courage a true lasting joy.
"Now desire is the jungle of poisonous plants here.
Only Brave Ones, like peacocks, can thrive on such fare.
If cowardly beings, like crows, were to try it,
Because they are greedy they might lose their lives.
"How can someone who cherishes self more than others
Take lust and such dangerous poisons for food?
If he tried like a crow to use other delusions,
He would probably forfeit his chance for release.
"And thus Bodhisattvas are likened to peacocks:
They live on delusions poisonous plants.
Transforming them into the essence of practice,
They thrive in the jungle of everyday life.
Whatever is presented they always accept
While destroying the poison of clinging desire."
(opening passages of Dharmaraksita's Wheel of Sharp Weapons)
So, a lot of people ask me, "Is it true that peacocks eat poisonous plants?" They can, and do, but in actual fact, what attracts them is the insects that visit the poisonous plants. They prefer the bugs to the greens, and in my personal experience, what they really, really like is plain old, generic, dried dog food, mixed with seed. The other question I get is, "Where are they from?" They are from India. The peafowl you see here are the so-called "India Blue," (Pavo cristatus).
Peacock parts are used in Tibetan medicine, chiefly the liver and headfeathers. There is a belief that the skulls of certain peafowl contain a bezoar, or "pearl" that has special properties, but the peacocks themselves have something to say about that.