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.
The stupid one who is lazy, gluttonous, and drowsy, who just wallows like a well-fed pig, is subject to repeated rebirths.
Story related to Dhammapada Verse 325 King Pasenadi of Kosala While residing at the Jetavana monastery, the Buddha uttered Verse 325 with reference to King Pasenadi of Kosala. One day, King Pasenadi of Kosala went to the monastery to pay homage to the Buddha soon after having a heavy meal. The king was in the habit of taking one quarter basketful (half a bushel of) cooked rice and meat curry. While he was in the presence of the Buddha, the king felt so drowsy that he kept on nodding and could hardly keep himself awake. Then he said to the Buddha, "Venerable Sir! I have been in great discomfort since I have taken my meal." To him the Buddha replied, "Yes, O king! Gluttons do suffer in this manner." After hearing the discourse the king, having understood the message, gradually lessened the amount of food he took. As a result, he became much more active and alert and therefore also happy.
Formerly the mind wandered wherever it liked, following its pleasure and desire. Today I keep it in check with attentiveness, as a mahout controls an elephant in rut.
Story related to Dhammapada Verse 326 : Samanera Sanu
While residing at the Jetavana monastery, the Buddha uttered Verse 326 with reference to a young samanera named Sanu.
One day, Samanera Sanu was urged by older bhikkhus to go up on the dais and recite parts of the Pali texts. When he had finished his recitation he solemnly called out, "May the merits gained by me today for reciting these sacred texts be shared by my mother and my father". At that time, the devas and the ogress who had been the mother of the young samanera in a previous existence were listening to his recitation. When they heard his words, the ogress was elated and promptly cried out, "My dear son, how happy I am to share your merit; you have done well, my son. Well done! Well done! (Sadhu! Sadhu!)." On account of Samanera Sanu, the mother ogress came to be very much respected and was given precedence in their assemblies by the devas and other ogres.
As the samanera grew older, he wanted to return to the life of a lay man; he went home and asked for his clothes from his mother. His mother did not want him to leave the Order and tried to dissuade him from leaving it, but he was quite firm in his decision. So, his mother promised to give him the clothes after his meal. As his mother was busy cooking his meal, the ogress, who was his mother of a past existence, thought, "If my son Sanu leaves the Order, I shall be put to shame and become a laughing stock among other ogres and devas; I must try and stop him leaving the Order."
So, the young samanera was possessed by her; the boy rolled on the floor, muttering incoherently with saliva streaming out of his mouth. The mother got alarmed; neighbors came and tried to appease the spirits. Then, the ogress spoke out "This samanera wants to leave the religious Order and return to the life of a lay man; if he does so he will not be able to escape from dukkha." After saying those words, the ogress left the body of the boy and the boy became normal again.
Finding his mother in tears and the neighbors crowding around him, he asked what had happened. His mother told him everything that had happened to him and also explained to him that to return to lay life after leaving it was very foolish; in fact, even though living he would be like a dead person. The samanera then came to realize his mistake. Taking the three robes from his mother, he went back to the monastery and was soon admitted as a bhikkhu.
When told about Samanera Sanu, the Buddha wishing to teach him about the restraint of mind said, "My son, one who does not restrain the mind which wanders about cannot find happiness. So, control your mind as a mahout controls an elephant." At the end of the discourse Thera Sanu comprehended the Four Noble Truths and later attained arahatship.
Take delight in mindfulness, guard your mind well. As an elephant stuck in mire pulls itself out, so also, pull yourself out of the mire of moral defilements.
Story related to Dhammapada Verse 327: Elephant Called Paveyyaka
While residing at the Jetavana monastery, the Buddha uttered Verse 327 with reference to the elephant, called Paveyyaka.
Paveyyaka when young was very strong; in due course, he became old and decrepit. One day, as old Paveyyaka went into a pond he was stuck in the mire and could not get on to the shore. When King Pasenadi of Kosala was told about it, he sent an elephant trainer to help the elephant get out of the mire. The elephant trainer went to the site where the elephant was. There, he made the musicians strike up a martial tune. Hearing the military airs, the elephant felt as if he were in a battlefield; his spirits rose, he pulled himself with all his might, and was soon out of the mire.
When the bhikkhus told the Buddha about this he said, "Bhikkhus! Just as that elephant pulled itself out of the mire, so also, must you all pull yourselves out of the mire of moral defilements."
No ce labetha nipakaṃ sahāyaṃ, saddhiṃ caraṃ sādhuvihāridhīraṃ Rājā’va raṭṭhaṃ vijitaṃ pahāya, eko care mātaṅgaraññ’eva nāgo.329
Ekassa caritaṃ seyyo, natthi bāle sahāyatā Eko care na ca pāpāni kayirā, appossukko mātaṅgaraññ’eva nāgo. 330
If one finds a sagacious friend, who is a virtuous and steadfast companion, one should live with him joyfully and mindfully, overcoming all dangers.
If one cannot find a sagacious friend, who is a virtuous and steadfast companion, one should live alone like the king who gave up and left the country he had won, and like the elephant Matanga roaming alone in the forest.
It is better to live alone; there is no fellowship with a fool. So one should live alone, do no evil, and be carefree like the elephant Matanga roaming alone in the forest. Story related to dhammapada verse 328-330:Number of Bhikkhus
While residing in the Palileyya forest where the elephant Palileyyaka waited on him, the Buddha uttered Verses 328, 329 and 330 with reference to the bhikkhus from Kosambi.
Once, the bhikkhus of Kosambi split into two groups; one group followed the master of Vinaya and the other followed the teacher of the Dhamma. They did not listen even to the Buddha who exhorted them to make peace. So, the Buddha left them and spent the vassa all alone in the forest, where the elephant Palileyyaka waited on him. At the end of the vassa, the Venerable Ananda went into the forest, accompanied by five hundred bhikkhus. Leaving the bhikkhus at some distance, the Venerable Ananda approached the Buddha alone. Then the Buddha told Ananda to call the other bhikkhus. All of them came, paid obeisance to the Buddha and said, "Venerable Sir! You must have had a hard time spending the vassa all alone in this forest."
To this, the Buddha replied,"Bhikkhus, do not say so; the elephant Palileyyaka had been looking after me all this time. He was, indeed, a very good friend, a true friend. If one has such a good friend one should stick to him; but if one cannot find a good friend it is better to stay alone."
Sukhaṃ yāva jarā sīlaṃ, sukhā saddhā patiṭṭhitā Sukho paññāya paṭilābho, pāpānaṃ akaraṇaṃ sukhaṃ.333 It is pleasing to have friends when need arises. It is good to be content with little. Merit is a blessing when life is at an end. Blissful is the shunning of all ill.
Happy in this world is ministering to mother. Ministering to father too is blissful. Ministering to those gone forth is a pleasure. Blissful too is ministering to Perfected Ones.
Virtue maintained until old age is blissful. Pleasing is steadfast confidence. Blissful is the attainment of wisdom. It is good to do no evil.
Story related to Dhammapada Verse 331-333: Story of Mara
While residing in a monastery near the Himalayas. the Buddha uttered Verses (331), (332) and (333) with reference to Mara, who tried to entice him to rule as a king.
Once, while the Buddha was residing near the Himalayas, he found that many people were being ill-treated by some wicked kings. It then occurred to him whether it would be possible to prevent them from ill-treating those who should not be ill-treated and make the kings rule justly and wisely. Mara knew what the Buddha was thinking and planned to entice the Buddha to rule as a king. To him the Buddha replied, "O wicked Mara! Your teaching and my teaching are quite different. You and I cannot have any discussion. This is my teaching".