Nagavagga - The Elephant (verses 320-333)

By: ; Date: Mon Jan 04 2021 13:13:44 GMT-0800 (Pacific Standard Time)

As an elephant in the battlefield withstands the arrows shot from a bow, even so will I endure abuse; verily most people are undisciplined.

They lead the trained (horses or elephants) to an assembly. The king mounts the trained animal. Best among men are the trained who endure abuse.

Excellent are trained mules, so are thorough-bred horses of Sindh and noble tusked elephants; but far better is he who has trained himself.

Surely never by those vehicles would one go to the untrodden land (Nibbana), as does one who is controlled through his subdued and well-trained self.

The elephant is not satisfied with the food in luxurious places. It longs to go back to the jungle among its relations.

The man who is lazy and a glutton, who eats large meals and rolls in his sleep like a pig which is fed in the sty is reborn again and again.

Formerly this mind wandered about where it liked, wherever it willed, as it pleased; today, with wisdom (meditation) I shall control it as a mahout controls an elephant in rut.

Take delight in heedfulness. Guard your mind well. Draw yourselves out of the evil way just as the elephant sunk in the mud draws himself out.

Should one find a good companion to walk with and who is steadfast and upright, one should walk with him with joy so as to overcome all dangers.

If no such companion is found; it is better to travel alone like a king who has left his kingdom, or an elephant which has left its companions.

It is better to live alone; there is no fellowship with a fool. Let one live alone committing no evil, being carefree, like a Matanga elephant (roaming at will) in the forest.

When need arises, pleasant (is it to have) friends. Pleasant is it to be content with just this and that. Pleasant is merit when life is at an end. Pleasant is the shunning of all ill.

Pleasant in this world is ministering to mother. Ministering to father too is pleasant in this world. Pleasant is ministering to ascetics. Pleasant too is ministering to the Noble Ones.

Pleasant is virtue (continued) until old age. Pleasant is steadfast confidence. Pleasant is the attainment of wisdom. Pleasant is it to do no evil.