Long is the night to the wakeful; a journey is long to the weary; Long is saṃsāra (cycle of rebirths) to those spiritually immature who do not know the Dhamma (the real truth).
Story related to Dhammapada Verse60: The Dangers of Adultery
While residing at the Jetavana monastery, the Buddha uttered Verse60 with reference to a certain young man and King Pasenadi of Kosala.
One day King Pasenadi while he was going out in the city, he saw a beautiful young woman and he instantly fell in love with her. So the king tried to find ways to get her. He found out that she was a married woman thus he sent for her husband out on an impossible errand. The young man was told to go to a place about 12 miles away from Savatthi and bring back some Kumuda lotus flowers and some red earth called 'arunavati' from the land of the dragons (nagas). He was told to return back at Savatthi the same evening, in time for the king's bath. The king's intention was to kill the husband if he failed to arrive back in time and to take the wife for himself.
The young man set out on his errand with a packet of food prepared by his wife. On the way, he shared his food with a traveller. He also threw some rice into the water and said loudly, "O guardian spirits and dragons inhabiting this river! King Pasenadi has commanded me to get some Kumuda lotus flowers and arunavati red earth for him. I have shared my food with a traveler; I have also fed the fish in the river; now i share with you the benefits of the good deeds I have done today. Please get the Kumuda lotus and arunavati red earth for me." The king of the dragons heard him, took the appearance of an old man and brought the lotus and the red earth.
King Pasenadi fearing that the young husband might arrive back in time, he had the city-gates closed early. The young man found that the city-gates closed so he placed the red earth on the city-wall and stuck the flowers on the earth. Then he declared loudly, "O citizens! Be my witnesses! I have today accomplished my errand in time as instructed by the king. King Pasenadi without any justification plans to kill me." After that, the young man left for the Jetavana monastery to take shelter and find solace.
Meanwhile, King Pasenadi who is obsessed with sexual desire, could not sleep and he kept thinking how he would get rid of the husband in the morning and take his wife. At about midnight, he heard some eerie sounds who were the doleful voices of four persons suffering in hell. Hearing those weird voices, the king was terrified. Early in the morning, he went to the Buddha, as advised by Queen Mallika.
When the Buddha was told about the four voices the king heard in the night, he explained to the king that those were the voices of four beings, who were the sons of rich men during the time of Kassapa Buddha who were suffering in Lohakumbhi Niraya because they had committed sexual misconduct with other people's wives. Then the king realized how serious his fault was and the severity of the punishment. So he abandoned the thought of wanting another man's wife.
King Pasenadi thought :"After all, it was because of my intense desire for another man's wife that I was tormented and could not sleep the whole of last night". Then King Pasenadi said to the Buddha: "Venerable Sir, now I know how long the night is for one who cannot sleep." The young man who was sent on the task to fetch the lotus said, "Venerable Sir, because I had traveled the full distance of a yojana (12 miles) yesterday, I, too, know how long the journey of a yojana is to one who is weary."
Combining their two statements, the Buddha spoke this verse as follows: Long is the night to the wakeful; a journey is long to the weary; Long is saṃsāra (cycle of rebirths) to those spiritually immature who do not know the Dhamma (the teaching of Buddha). At the end of the discourse, the young man attained Sotapatti Fruition (first stage of enlightenment). In other words, the repeated cycle of existence (rebirth) is too long for those ignorant ones who don't know the teachings of Buddha as they do not know the path to end suffering.
If a person seeking a companion cannot find one who is equal or better than him, let him firmly pursue a solitary life; That is better than companionship with a fool.
Story related to Dhammapada Verse61: A Resident Pupil of Thera Mahakassapa
While residing at the Jetavana monastery, the Buddha uttered Verse61 with reference to a resident pupil of Thera Mahakassapa.
When Thera Mahakassapa was residing near Rajagaha, he had two young bhikkhus (monks) staying with him. One of them was respectful, obedient and dutiful to the thera but the other one was not. The latter pupil schemed to take the credit for work done by another pupil. When the elder admonished him, the pupil bore a grudge. On one occasion, the bad pupil went to the house of a lay-disciple of the thera and lied to them that the thera was ill. Thus, he got food from them that was meant for the thera and he ate the food on the way. When admonished by the thera for this he was extremely angry. The next day, when the thera was out on his alms-round, the young foolish bhikkhu stayed behind, he broke the pots and pans and set fire to the monastery.
When a bhikkhu from Rajagaha told the Buddha about this, Buddha said that it would have been much better for Thera Mahakassapa to live alone than to live with a foolish companion.
In other words, if one cannot find a wise companion then it will be better for him to be alone rather than be with a foolish companion that will not bring him any benefit but more troubles.
The spiritually immature person troubles himself thinking: ‘These sons are mine, these riches are mine’. Because of non-self, he himself is not his own, then how can he claim sons and riches are his?
Story related to Dhammapada Verse62: A rich man named Ananda
While residing at the Jetavana monastery, the Buddha uttered Verse62 of this book with reference to a miserly rich man, named Ananda.
There was once a very wealthy man named Ananda in Savatthi who was reluctant to give anything to charity. He told his son, Mulasiri: "Don't think the wealth we have now is a lot. Do not give away anything as you must make it grow or your wealth will dwindle away." This rich man had five pots of gold buried in his house and he died without revealing their location to his son.
Ananda upon death was reborn in a village of beggars not far from Savatthi. From the time his mother was pregnant, the income of the beggars decreased so the villagers thought there must be an unlucky one amongst them. They thought that the pregnant beggar woman must be the unfortunate one. Thus she was driven out of the village.
When her son was born, the son was extremely ugly and repulsive. If she went out begging by herself, she would get some money but if she went out with her son she would get nothing. So his mother placed a plate in his hand and left him. As he wandered about in Savatthi, he remembered his old house and his past existence. He went into the house. When Mulasiri (his son in his previous life) saw him, they were frightened by his ugly looks and began to cry. The servants then beat him and threw him out of the house.
The Buddha who was on his alms-round saw the incident and asked the Venerable Ananda to fetch Mulasiri. When Mulasiri came, Buddha told him that the young beggar was his own father in his previous existence. But Mulasiri could not believe it. So Buddha directed the beggar boy to show him where he had buried his five pots of gold. Then Mulasiri accepted the truth and from that time he became a devoted lay-disciple of the Buddha.
In other words, Buddha is trying to explain non-self. Nothing belongs to anyone; sons and wealth are all non-self.
Verse 63 The wise Fool
Yo bālo maññati bālyaṃ, paṇḍito vā’pi tena so Bālo ca paṇḍitamānī, sa ve “bālo”ti vuccati
The fool who knows he is a fool is wise in that at least; The fool who thinks that he is wise is indeed called a fool.
Story related to Dhammapada Verse 63: Two Pick-Pockets
While residing at the Jetavana monastery, the Buddha uttered Verse 63 with reference to two pick-pockets.
On one occasion, two pick-pockets joined a group of lay-disciples to get to the Jetavana monastery where the Buddha was giving a discourse. One of them listened attentively to the discourse and soon attained Sotapatti Fruition (first stage of enlightenment). However, the second thief did not attend the discourse as he was bent on stealing only and he managed to snatch a small sum of money from one of the lay-disciples.
After the discourse they went back and cooked their meal at the house of the second thief who stole some money. The second thief taunted the other as foolish for not stealing enough to buy some food. The first man reported this to the Buddha, who explained the difference between a fool and a wise man.
The Commentary explains that one who takes pride in learning, teaching, morality, or austerity, thinking, “Others are not like me” is called a fool and does not become accomplished in learning or practice. In other words if a fool is still aware of his ignorance, he is still wise in that sense but if a fool who has wrong views thinking he is otherwise smarter than the rest is really a fool indeed.
Verse 64 (The ignorant cannot benefit from the wise)
Yāvajīvam’pi ce bālo, paṇḍitaṃ payirupāsati Na so dhammaṃ vijānāti, dabbi sūparasaṃ yathā
Although a fool associates with a wise man throughout his whole life, he does not understand the Dhamma, just as a ladle does not know the taste of soup.
Story related to Dhammapada Verse 64: Thera Udayi While residing at tho Jetavana monastery, the Buddha uttered Verse 64 with reference to Thera Udayi, a pretentious bhikkhu. Thera Udayi would often go and sit on the platform from which learned theras (elder monks) delivered their discourses. On one occasion, some visiting bhikkhus thought that he was a very learned thera, asked him some questions on the five aggregates (khandhas). Thera Udayi could not answer because he did not know anything of the dhamma. The visiting bhikkhus (monks) were greatly astonished to find that someone staying in the same monastery with the Buddha knew so very little about the khandhas and the ayatanas (sense-bases and sense-objects). Discovering his ignorance, they reported the matter to the Buddha, who then uttered this verse. In other words, those spiritually immature will not know the knowledge even if they are always with the wise ones.
Although an intelligent person associates with a wise man only for a moment, he quickly understands the Dhamma just like the tongue knows the taste of soup.
Story related to Dhammapda Verse 65: 30 youths from Paveyyaka
While residing at the Jetavana monastery, the Buddha uttered Verse 65 with reference to thirty bhikkhus from Paveyyaka.
Thirty youths from Paveyyaka were enjoying themselves with a prostitute in a forest, when the prostitute stole some of their valuable ornaments and ran away. While searching for her they came across the Buddha and asked him if they had seen a woman. The Buddha asked them whether it was better to search for a woman or to search for themselves. They sat down and listened to the Dhamma and instantly attained Stream-winning (first stage of enlightenment). All of them joined the Order of the Buddha and followed him to the Jetavana monastery. While staying at the monastery, they strictly observed the austerity or purification practice (dhutanga). Later, when the Buddha delivered the Anamatagga Sutta (Discourse on Countless Existences), all of these bhikkhus attained arahantship (enlightenment).
When other bhikkhus commented that Paveyyaka bhikkhus were very quick in attaining arahatship, the Buddha replied to them with this verse.
In other words, intelligent people do not need to spend a long time with the wise one to grasp the concept of Dhamma.
With themselves as their own enemies, fools lacing in wisdom, move about doing evil deeds which bear bitter fruits (bad kamma).
Story related to Dhammapada Verse 68: Suppabuddha, the Leper
While residing at the Jetavana monastery, the Buddha uttered Verse 66 with reference to Suppabuddha, a leper. Suppabuddha, the leper, while sitting at the back of the crowd and listening attentively to the discourse given by the Buddha, attained Sotapatti Fruition (first stage of enlightenment). After the crowd had dispersed, he followed the Buddha to the monastery as he wished to tell the Buddha about his attainment of Sotapatti Fruition. Sakka, king of the devas wanted to test the leper's faith in the Buddha, the Dhamma and the Samgha so he appeared to him and said, "You are only a poor man, living on what you get by begging, with no one to fall back on. I can give you immense wealth if you deny the Buddha, the Dhamma and the Samgha and say that you have no use for them." Suppabuddha replied. "I am certainly not a poor man, with no one to rely on. I am a rich man as I possess the seven attributes which the ariyas (noble ones) possess. The 7 attributes are: I have faith (saddha), morality (sila), sense of shame to do evil (hiri), sense of fear to do evil (ottappa), learning (sula), generosity (caga) and knowledge (panna). Then Sakka went to the Buddha ahead of Suppabuddha and related the conversation between himself and Suppabuddha. To him the Buddha replied that it would not be easy even for a hundred or a thousand Sakkas to coax Suppabuddha away from the Buddha, the Dhamma and the Samgha. Soon after this, Suppabuddha arrived at the monastery and reported to the Buddha about his attainment of Sotapatti Fruition.
On his way back from the Jetavana monastery, Suppabuddha was gored to death by an infuriated cow who was actually an ogress taking the form of a cow. This ogress was none other than the prostitute who was killed by Suppabuddha in one of his previous existences and who had vowed to have her revenge on him.
When the news of Suppabuddha's death reached the Jetavana monastery, the bhikkhus asked the Buddha where Suppabuddha was reborn. Buddha replied that Suppabuddha was reborn in Tavatimsa deva realm. The Buddha also explained to them that Suppabuddha was born a leper because in one of his previous existences he had spat upon a paccekabuddha (a solitary buddha).
In other words, an unwise person will become their own enemy because they do evil deeds that will result in bad kamma.