I shall suffer hard words
as the elephant suffers arrows in battle.
most of them ill-natured.
Only the tamed elephant goes into battle,
the king rides only a tamed elephant;
he who tames himself is best among men,
he suffers harsh words patiently.
Tamed mules are excellent,
Sindhu horses of good breeding, excellent;
excellent are elephants of war.
Most excellent, however, is the self-tamer.
For no animals take one to Nirvana,
only the tamed self sees that untrodden land.
Consider the elephant Dhanapalaka,
temples glistening with rutting juice;
restless, he does not eat,
he pines for the elephant grove.
The glutton and the sluggard,
lapped in foolish sleep,
like hogs wallowing in filth,
find birth again and again.
There was a time when my mind wandered
freely, doing what it pleased;
now I must rule it, like the mahout
with his hook ruling the rutting elephant.
Check your mind.
Be on your guard.
Pull yourself out
as an elephant from mud.
If you have a friend sober, pure, and wise,
let nothing hold you back-
find delight and instruction in his company.
If you do not have a friend sober, pure, and wise,
walk alone-like a king who has renounced a conquered kingdom,
or an elephant roaming free in the forest.
Better aloneness than the friendship of a fool.
Walk alone like an elephant roaming free in the forest.
Be undemanding. Stay away from sin.
Friends give pleasure when needed.
Friendship is good when mutual.
Virtue’s a friend when one dies.
Giving up sorrow gives virtue.
To be a mother is happy,
to be a father is happy.
It is happy to be a recluse,
it is happy to be a saint.
Happy is virtue that lasts,
happy is well-rooted faith,
happy it is to be wise,
happy to avoid sin.
from the “DHAMMAPADA”
first posted June 2009