The Elephant


                   I shall suffer hard words

                   as the elephant suffers arrows in battle.

                   People are people,

                   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


20 thoughts on “The Elephant

  1. Mastering ourselves and conquering our own inner battles Eddie. We often need to find Peace with as we often wage war upon ourselves… Many thanks for this wonderful posting I hadn’t read before.. I read it several times…. Thank you ~

  2. Very meditative sentiments. I find that all throughout my life, just sitting up against a tree or by a moving river, I can feel the vibrations of the earth. I can feel its life running through it. It brings me to life and I try always to return that blessed favor.
    We are one with all things. As Chief Seattle so honorably spoke.

  3. and I am happy to have read these words Eddie, . words which help us to understand./open up the inner self………. For surely if we cannot understand ourselves what chance is there in understanding the world about us.. . Peace to you my friend. xPenx

    • I totally agree with you dear Penny. understanding self is primarily important. without this there is no chance of understanding others
      Thank you very much for your kindness. peace in our time, Eddie

  4. Thank you for this wisdom and the wonderful, potent symbol of the beautiful elephant! Especially appreciate those first two lines with the adjacent image. Peace.

  5. At times I feel like I am alone like an elephant roaming free in the forest. I’d rather walk alone than to be around some fools in this world. Very moving post. Thanks for posting.

  6. I have cried many times about elephants and their treatment … I can’t even begin to explain … Thanks for this post, Mr E … Love always, cat.

your kind word is always welcome

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