Verse 320-322 Many people are immoral Ahaṃ nāgo’va saṅgāme, cāpāto patitaṃ saraṃ Ativāitaṃ titikkhissaṃ, dussīlo hi bahujjano.320 Dantaṃ nayanti samitiṃ, dantaṃ rājābhirūhati Danto seṭṭho manussesu, yo’tivākyaṃ titikkhati.321 Varam assatarā dantā, ājānīyā ca sindhavā Kuñjarā ca mahānāgā, attadanto tato varaṃ. 322 As an elephant in battlefield withstands the arrow shot from a bow, so shall I endure abuse. Indeed, many people are without morality. Only the trained horses and elephants are led to gatherings of people; the King mounts only the trained horses and elephants.
Noblest among men are the tamed, who endure abuse. Mules, thoroughbred horses, horses from Sindh, and great elephants are noble only when they are trained; but one who has tamed himself (through Magga Insight) is far nobler.
Story related to DhammapadaVerse320-322: On Subduing Oneself
While residing at the Ghositarama monastery, the Buddha uttered Verses320, 321 and 322 of this book, with reference to the patience and endurance manifested by himself when abused by the hirelings of Magandiya, one of the three queens of King Udena.
Once, the father of Magandiya, being very much impressed by the personality and looks of the Buddha, had offered his very beautiful daughter in marriage to Gotama Buddha. But the Buddha refused his offer and said that he did not like to touch such a thing which was full of filth and excreta, even with his feet.
On hearing this remark both Magandiya's father and mother discerning the truth of the remark attained Anagami Fruition. Magandiya, however, regarded the Buddha as her arch enemy and was bent on having her revenge on him. Later, she became one of the three queens of King Udena. When Magandiya heard that the Buddha had come to Kosambi, she hired some citizens and their servants to abuse the Buddha when he entered the city on an alms-round. Those hirelings followed the Buddha and abused him using such abusive words as 'thief, fool, camel, donkey, one bound for niraya'. Hearing those abusive words, the Venerable Ananda pleaded with the Buddha to leave the town and go to another place.
But the Buddha refused and said, "In another town also we might be abused and it is not feasible to move out every time one is abused. It is better to solve a problem in the place where it arises. I am like an elephant in a battlefield; like an elephant who withstands the arrows that come from all quarters, I also will bear patiently the abuses that come from people without morality." At the end of the discourse, those who had abused the Buddha realized their mistake and came to respect him; some of them attained Sotapatti Fruition.
Verse323 Self control leads to goal
Na hi etehi yānehi, gaccheyya agataṃ disaṃ Yathā’ttanā sudantena, danto dantena gacchati
Surely never by those vehicles would one go to the untrodden land (nibbāna) as does one who is controlled through his subdued and well-trained self.
Story related to Dhammapada Verse 323 : Bhikkhu Who Had Been a Trainer of Elephants
While residing at the Jetavana monastery, the Buddha uttered Verse 323 with reference to a bhikkhu who had previously been an elephant trainer.
On one occasion, some bhikkhus saw an elephant trainer and his elephant on the bank of the river Aciravati. As the trainer was finding it difficult to control the elephant, one of the bhikkhus, who was an ex-elephant trainer, told the other bhikkhus how it could be easily handled. The elephant trainer hearing him did as told by the bhikkhu, and the elephant was quickly subdued. Back at the monastery, the bhikkhus related the incident to the Buddha. The Buddha called the ex-elephant trainer bhikkhu to him and said, "O vain bhikkhu, who is yet far away from Magga and Phala ! You do not gain anything by taming elephants. There is no one who can get to a place where one has never been before (i.e.. Nibbana) by taming elephants; only one who has tamed himself can get there."
Verse324 An elephant longs for the forest Dhanapāla nāma kuñjaro, kaṭukabhedano dunnivārayo Baddho kabalaṃ na bhuñjati, sumarati nāgavanassa kuñjaro
The elephant called Dhanapala, in severe must and uncontrollable, being in captivity, eats not a morsel, yearning for his native forest (i.e., longing to look after his parents).
Story related to dhammapadaVerse324: Old Brahmin
While residing at the Veluvana monastery, the Buddha uttered Verse324 with reference to an old brahmin. Once, there lived in Savatthi, an old brahmin who had eight lakhs in cash. He had four sons; when each one of the sons got married, he gave one lakh to him. Thus, he gave away four lakhs. Later, his wife died. His sons came to him and looked after him very well; in fact, they were very loving and affectionate to him. In course of time, somehow they coaxed him to give them the remaining four lakhs. Thus, he was left practically penniless.
First, he went to stay with his eldest son. After a few days, the daughter-in-law said to him, "Did you give any extra hundred or thousand to your eldest son? Don't you know the way to the houses of your other sons?" Hearing this, the old brahmin got very angry and he left the eldest son's house for the house of his second son. The same remarks were made by the wife of his second son and the old man went to the house of his third son and finally to the house of his fourth and youngest son. The same thing happened in the houses of all his sons. Thus, the old man became helpless; then, taking a staff and a bowl he went to the Buddha for protection and advice.
At the monastery, the brahmin told the Buddha how his sons had treated him and asked for his help. Then the Buddha gave him some verses to memorize and instructed him to recite them wherever there was a large gathering of people. The gist of the verses is this: "My four foolish sons are like ogres. They call me 'father, father', but the words come only out of their mouths and not from their hearts. They are deceitful and scheming. Taking the advice of their wives they have driven me out of their houses. So, now I have got to be begging. Those sons of mine are of less service to me than this staff of mine." When the old brahmin recited these verses, many people in the crowd, hearing him, went wild with rage at his sons and some even threatened to kill them.
At this, the sons became frightened and knelt down at the feet of their father and asked for pardon. They also promised that starting from that day they would look after their father properly and would respect, love and honor him. Then, they took their father to their houses; they also warned their wives to look after their father well or else they would be beaten to death.
Each of the sons gave a length of cloth and sent every day a food-tray. The brahmin became healthier than before and soon put on some weight. He realized that he had been showered with these benefits on account of the Buddha. So, he went to the Buddha and humbly requested him to accept two food-trays out of the four he was receiving every day from his sons. Then he instructed his sons to send two food-trays to the Buddha.
One day, the eldest son invited the Buddha to his house for alms-food. After the meal, the Buddha gave a discourse on the benefits to be gained by looking after one's parents. Then he related to them the story of the elephant called Dhanapala, who looked after his parents. Dhanapala, when captured, pined for the parents who were left in the forest.
At the end of the discourse, the old brahmin as well as his four sons and their wives attained Sotapatti Fruition.