Dhammapada 23: Elephants


320:

I — like an elephant in battle,
enduring an arrow shot from a bow —
will endure a false accusation,
for the mass of people
have no principles.

321:

The tamed is the one
they take into assemblies.
The tamed is the one
the king mounts.
The tamed who endures
a false accusation
is, among human beings,
the best.

322-323:

Excellent are tamed mules,
tamed thoroughbreds,
tamed horses from Sindh.
Excellent, tamed tuskers,
great elephants.
But even more excellent
are those self-tamed.

For not by these mounts could you go
to the land unreached,
as the tamed one goes
by taming, well-taming, himself.

324:

The tusker, Dhanapalaka,
deep in rut, is hard to control.
Bound, he won’t eat a morsel:
the tusker misses
the elephant wood.

325:

When torpid & over-fed,
a sleepy-head lolling about
like a stout hog, fattened on fodder:
a dullard enters the womb
over &
over again.

326:

Before, this mind went wandering
however it pleased,
wherever it wanted,
by whatever way that it liked.
Today I will hold it aptly in check —
as one wielding a goad, an elephant in rut.

327:

Delight in heedfulness.
Watch over your own mind.
Lift yourself up
from the hard-going way,
like a tusker sunk in the mud.

328-330:

If you gain a mature companion —
a fellow traveler, right-living, enlightened —
overcoming all dangers
go with him, gratified,
mindful.

If you don’t gain a mature companion —
a fellow traveler, right-living, enlightened —
go alone
like a king renouncing his kingdom,
like the elephant in the Matanga wilds,
his herd.

Going alone is better,
there’s no companionship with a fool.
Go alone,
doing no evil, at peace,
like the elephant in the Matanga wilds.

331-333:

A blessing: friends when the need arises.
A blessing: contentment with whatever there is.
Merit at the ending of life is a blessing.
A blessing: the abandoning of all suffering
& stress.
A blessing in the world: reverence to your mother.
A blessing: reverence to your father as well.
A blessing in the world: reverence to a contemplative.
A blessing: reverence for a brahmin, too.
A blessing into old age is virtue.
A blessing: conviction established.
A blessing: discernment attained.
The non-doing of evil things is
a blessing.

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