PSALMS OF THE BRETHREN
Canto XIV. Psalms of Fourteen Verses
Psalms of Fourteen Verses
Translated from the Pali by Mrs. C.A.F. Rhys Davids.
Reborn in this Buddha-age at Sāvatthī, in a family of caravan-leaders, he was named Godatta. After his father's death he arranged his estate, and taking 500 carts full of wares travelled about, maintaining himself by trading. One day an ox fell on the road while drawing its cart, and his men could not raise it, so he himself went and smote  it severely. Then the ox, incensed at his ruthlessness, assumed a human voice and said: 'Godatta, this long time have I unreservedly given my strength to draw your burdens, but to-day when I was unable and fell, you hurt me badly. Well then! Wherever henceforth you are reborn, may I be there as your enemy able to hurt you!' Godatta was thrilled at hearing this, and thought: 'What do I in this way of life who have thus hurt living things?' And he divested himself of all his property, and took orders under a certain great Thera, in due course attaining arahantship.
Now one day as he was abiding in the bliss of fruition, he discoursed to Ariyan groups, both lay and religious, on worldly wisdom:
 E'en as the mettled brute of noble breed,
Yoked to his load, drawing his load along,
Though worn by burden past his powers, [unfair],
Breaks not away, revolting from his bonds,
 For not to gain or loss, to honour, fame,
To praise or blame, to pleasure or to pain -
 Of him who rightly seeks and nought doth gain,
And him who gains but seeketh wrongfully,
Better is he who rightly sought and lost
Than he who gained by methods that were wrong.
 Of them who have repute, but scanty dower
Of wit, and them who know, but lack repute,
Better the wrise men who do lack repute
Than great repute and men of little wit.
 Of praises by the unintelligent,
And blame and criticism by the wise,
Better the censure of th' intelligent
Than are the commendations of a fool.
 The pleasure born of sensuous desire,
The pain that comes from life detached, austere,
Better the pain that comes from life austere
Than pleasure born of sensuous desire.
 To live by wrong; for doing right to die,
Better 'twere thus to die than so to live.
 The factors of enlightenment, the powers,
These have they studied and the forces too.
So winning perfect peace, as fires extinct,
They wholly pass away, sane and immune.
 It is interesting to contrast the protest of the Indian ox with that of the Hebrew ass of Balak. According to the Commentary, the gist of the 'Ariyan rule' is the sporting maxim that, whether we do or do not congratulate ourselves on our successes, we are not to belittle (avambhanaŋ) others when we fail. Herein, in either case, rich wisdom makes a man happy.
 More literally, subject to becoming and not becoming.
 I.e., craving (taṇhā), who sews life on to life (Bud. Psy., p. 278).
 This last (metri causá) from the Commentary: anabhibhavaniyato.
 See ver. 661, n. 8.