23. The Elephant

I will bear criticism like an elephant in battle bears an arrow from a bow. Most people are bad behaviour. 320

One can take a trained elephant even into a crowd. The king himself will ride a trained elephant. He who is disciplined is the best of men, since he can bear criticism. 321

Trained mules are excellent, and so are thoroughbred horses from the Sindh, and so are great battle elephants, but more excellent than them all is a disciplined man. 322

There is no reaching the unattainable with mounts like these, but with himself well under control a disciplined man can get there. 323

Dhammapalo, the elephant, is hard to control in rut. Even when tied up, he refuses his food. The great tusker is thinking of the elephant forest. 324

When a man is a lie-abed and over-eats, a lazy person who wallows in sleep like a great over-fed hog, a fool like that will be reborn time after time. 325

My mind used formerly to go off wandering wherever it felt like, following its own inclination, but today I shall control it carefully, like a mahout does a rutting elephant. 326

Take pleasure in being careful. Guard your mind well. Extricate yourself from the mire, like a great tusker sunk in the mud. 327

If you find an intelligent companion, a wise and well-behaved person going the same way as yourself, then go along with him, overcoming all dangers, pleased at heart and mindful. 328

But if you do not find an intelligent companion, a wise and well-behaved person going the same way as yourself, then go on your way alone, like a king abandoning a conquered kingdom, or like a great elephant in the deep forest. 329

It is better to travel alone. There is no companionship with a fool. Go on your way alone and commit no evil, without cares like a great elephant in the deep forest. 330

It is good to have companions when occasion arises, and it is good to be contented with whatever comes. Merit is good at the close of life, and the elimination of all suffering is good. 331

Good is filial devotion to one's mother in the world, and devotion to one's father is good. It is good to be a sanyasi in the world and to be a brahmin too. 332

Good is good behaviour up to old age, good is firmly established faith, good is the acquisition of understanding, and abstention from evil is good. 333