Verse 235 - 238 Death is near to you Paṇḍupalāso ’va ’dāni ’si, yamapurisā’pi ca te upaṭṭhitā Uyyogamukhe ca tiṭṭhasi, pātheyyam pi ca te na vijjati.235 So karohi dīpam attano, khippaṃ vāyama paṇḍito bhava Niddhantamalo anaṅgaṇo, dibbaṃ ariyabhūmim upehisi. 236
Upanītavayo ca ’dāni ’si, sampayāto’si yamassa santike Vāso te natthi antarā, pātheyyam pi ca te na vijjati.237 So karohi dīpam attano, khpaṃ vāyama paṇḍito bhava Niddhantamalo anaṅgaṇo, na puna jātijaraṃ upehisi.238
235: You are now like a withered leaf; the messengers of death are near you; you are about to set out on a long journey; (yet), you have no provisions (for the journey). 236: Make a firm support for yourself; hasten to strive hard, and be wise. Having removed impurities and being free from moral defilements you shall enter the abodes of the Ariyas 237: Now you are of advanced age; you are going to the presence of the King of Death and you cannot stop on the way; (yet) you have no provisions (for the journey). 238: Make a firm support for yourself; hasten to strive hard, and be wise. Having removed impurities and being free from moral defilements you will no longer be subject to rebirth and decay. Story related to Dhammapada Verse 235-238 : Son of a Butcher
While residing at the Jetavana monastery, the Buddha uttered Verses 235 to 238 with reference to the son of a butcher.
Once in Savatthi, there was a man who had been a butcher for fifty-five years. All this time, he slaughtered cattle and sold the meat and everyday he took meat curry with his rice. One day, he left some meat with his wife to cook it for the family, and then left for the riverside to have his bath. During his absence, a friend coaxed his wife to sell that particular piece of meat to him. As a result, there was no meat curry for the butcher on that day.
But as the butcher never took his meal without meat curry, he hurriedly went to the back of his house, where an ox was standing. He promptly cut off the tongue of the ox and baked it over a fire. When having his meal, the butcher had a bite of the tongue of the ox, but as he did so his own tongue was cut off and fell into his plate of rice. Thus the ox and the butcher were in the same plight, both of them having had their tongues cut off. The butcher was in great pain and agony, and he went about agitatedly on his knees, with blood dripping profusely from his mouth. Then the butcher died and was reborn in the Avici Niraya (Hell).
The butcher's wife was greatly disturbed and she was anxious for her son to get away to some other place, lest this evil should befall him too. So she sent her son to Taxila. At Taxila, he acquired the art of a goldsmith. Later, he married the daughter of his master and some children were born to them. When their sons came of age he returned to Savatthi.
The sons were endowed with faith in the Buddha and were religiously inclined. They were anxious about their father, who had grown old with no thought of religion or of his future existence. So one day, they invited the Buddha and the bhikkhus to their house for alms-food. After the meal they said to the Buddha, "Venerable Sir, we are making this offering to you today on behalf of our father. Kindly give a discourse specially for him." So the Buddha said, "My disciple! You are getting old; but you have not made any provisions of merit for your journey to the next existence; you should now find a support for yourself."
At the end of the discourse the father of the donors of alms-food (i.e., the son of the butcher) attained Anagami Fruition.
In other words, Make an island unto yourself. Strive quickly; become wise. Purged of stain and passionless,you shall enter the heavenly stage of the Ariyas.
Verse 239 Purify yourself gradually
Anupubbena medhāvī, thokathokaṃ khaṇe khaṇe Kammāro rajatass’eva, niddhame malam attano.
The wise man removes his defilements gradually, little by little, and from moment to moment, just as the silversmith removes the impurities of silver.
Story related to Dhammapada Verse 239: Brahmin
While residing at the Jetavana monastery, the Buddha uttered Verse 239 with reference to a brahmin. Once, a brahmin saw a group of bhikkhus re-arranging their robes as they were preparing to enter the city for alms-food. While he was looking, he found that the robes of some of the bhikkhus touched the ground and got wet because of dew on the grass. So he cleared that patch of ground.
The next day, he found that as the robes of the bhikkhus touched bare ground, the robes got dirty. So he covered that patch of ground with sand. Then again, he observed that the bhikkhus would sweat when the sun was shining and that they got wet when it was raining. So finally, he built a rest house for the bhikkhus at the place where they gathered before entering the city for alms-food. When the building was finished, he invited the Buddha and the bhikkhus for alms-food. The brahmin explained to the Buddha how he had performed this meritorious deed step by step. To him the Buddha replied "O Brahmin! The wise perform their acts of merit little by little, and gradually and constantly they remove the impurities of moral defilements."
As rust sprung from iron eats itself away when arisen, even so his own deeds lead the transgressor to states of woe.
Story related to Dhammapada Verse 240: Thera Tissa
While residing at the Jetavana monastery, the Buddha uttered Verse 240 with reference to Thera Tissa.
Once there was a thera named Tissa in Savatthi. One day, he received a set of fine robes and was very pleased. He intended to wear those robes the next day. But that very night he died and because he was attached to the fine set of robes, he was reborn as a louse and lived within the folds of the robes. As there was no one to inherit his belongings, it was decided that this particular set of robes should be shared by other bhikkhus. When the bhikkhus were preparing to share out among themselves, the louse was very much agitated and cried out, "They are destroying my robes!" This cry was heard by the Buddha by means of his divine power of hearing. So he sent someone to stop the bhikkhus and instructed them to dispose of the robes only at the end of seven days. On the eighth day, the set of the robes which belonged to Thera Tissa was shared out by the bhikkhus.
Later, the Buddha was asked by the bhikkhus why he had told them to wait for seven days before sharing out the robes of Thera Tissa. To them the Buddha replied, "My sons, Tissa had his mind attached to this particular set of robes at the time of his death, and so he was reborn as a louse and stayed in the folds of the robes. When you all were preparing to share out the robes, Tissa the louse was very much in agony and was running about to and fro in the folds of the robes. If you had taken the robes at that time Tissa the louse would have felt very bitter against you and he would have to go to niraya (hell). But now, Tissa has been reborn in the Tusita deva world, and that is why I have allowed you to take the robes. Indeed, bhikkhus, attachment is very dangerous; as rust corrodes iron from which it is formed, so also, attachment destroys one and sends one to niraya. A bhikkhu should not indulge too much in the use of the four requisites or be very much attached to them."
In other words, the dangers of craving erodes one and brings much suffering.
Non-repetition is the decay of learning; neglect is the ruin of houses; laziness is the stain of beauty; heedlessness is the defect of a guard.
Story related to Dhammapada Verse 241 : Laludayi
While residing at the Jetavana monastery, the Buddha uttered Verse 241 with reference to Thera Laludayi.
In Savatthi, people coming back after hearing the discourses given by Thera Sariputta and Thera Maha Moggallana were always full of praise for the two Chief Disciples. On one occasion, Laludayi, hearing their praises, said to those people that they would be saying the same about him after listening to his discourses. So Laludayi was asked to deliver a discourse; he climbed on to the platform but he could not say anything. So he asked the audience to let another bhikkhu take the turn first and that he would take the next turn. In this way, he put off three times.
The audience lost patience with him and shouted, "You big fool! When we praised the two Chief Disciples you were vainly boasting that you could preach like them. Why don't you preach now ?" So Laludayi ran away and the crowd chased him. As he was frightened and was not looking where he was going, he fell into a latrine pit.
When the Buddha was told about this incident, he said, "Laludayi had learned very little of the Dhamma; he does not recite the religious texts regularly; he has not memorized anything. Whatever little he has learned gets rusty by not reciting."