Dhammapada: Wisdom of the Buddha translated by Harischandra Kaviratna
Theosophical University Press Online Edition

The Elephant — CANTO XXIII

320. Even as an elephant on the battlefield endures the arrow shot from the bow, so shall I bear with abusive language. Verily, most people are ill-tempered.

321. They lead a well-trained elephant to the assembly; the king mounts a well-tamed elephant. The self-controlled man who can bear with abusive language is the best among men.

322. When trained, mules are good, so also are the horses of Sindhu breed and the great tuskers of noble lineage. But better than all these is the man who has controlled the senses.

323. Not astride any of these (animals) can one reach the untrodden realm (nirvana), where a well-disciplined man goes only on his well-tamed (nature), his well-controlled self.

324. The royal tusker named Dhanapalaka, with sap-flowing temples in its rut period, is difficult to control. It does not eat a morsel when bound. It eagerly longs for the elephant forest.

325. If a man is torpid, gluttonous, slumberous and rolling to and fro like a huge hog which has been fattened by pig wash and podder, that indolent and stupid fool is born again and again.

326. During the past, this mind of mine roamed freely as it liked, as it desired, at its own pleasure. But today, I shall fully keep it in check, even as the elephant driver with the point of a goad controls an unruly elephant in rut.

327. Be ever vigilant; keep close watch over your thoughts; extricate yourself from the mire of evil, as does an elephant sunk in the mud.

328. If you find a wise companion to associate with you, one who leads a virtuous life and is diligent, you should lead a life with him joyfully and mindfully, conquering all obstacles.

329. If you do not find a wise companion to associate with you, one who leads a virtuous life and is diligent, then like the monarch who has renounced his conquered kingdom, and like Matanga the elephant in the forest, you should live alone.

330. It is better to lead a solitary life; there is no companionship with a childish person! Let one live alone committing no sin, having few wishes, like Matanga the elephant in the elephant grove.

331. Companions are pleasant to have when a need arises; contentment is pleasant when it is mutual; merit is pleasant at the last hour; pleasant is the extinction of all suffering.

332. To be a mother in this world is bliss; to be a father in this world is bliss; to be a homeless recluse in this world is bliss, and to be a Brahman in this world is bliss (sukha).

This stanza may also be translated as follows:

To render service unto a mother in this world is bliss; to render service unto a father in this world is bliss; to render service unto a homeless recluse in this world is bliss, and to render service unto a Brahman sage in this world is bliss.

333. The virtue that lasts to the end of life is bliss; steadfast faith is also bliss; the attainment of wisdom is bliss, and not to commit sin is bliss.


Canto XXIV

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