Chapter XXIII - NAGA VAGGA - The Elephant



Appamada rata hotha sacittam anurakkhatha
Dugga uddharath' attanam panke satto' va kunjaro.

Take delight in mindfulness, guard your mind well.
As an elephant stuck in mud pulls itself out, so also, pull yourself out of the mud of moral defilements. [327]

XXIII:06 An old elephant responds to battle-drums

Elephant Paveyyaka was very strong when young, but in due course, he became old and decrepit. One day, as the old elephant went into a pond he was stuck in the mud and could not free himself. When the king was told about it, he sent an elephant trainer to help the animal to get out of the mud. The trainer went to the site where the elephant was. There, he ordered his men to beat the battle-drums. Hearing the sound of the drums, the elephant felt as if he were in a battlefield; his spirit rose, he pulled himself with all his might, and was soon out of the mud.

When the bhikkhus told the Buddha about this he said, 'Bhikkhus! Just as the elephant pulled itself out of the mud, so also must you all pull yourselves out of the mud of moral defilements.'