Dhammapada Verses 7 and 8
tam ve pasahati Maro1
vato rukkhamva dubbalam.
bhojanamhi ca mattannum
tam ve nappasahati Maro
vato selamva pabbatam.
Verse 7: He who keeps his mind on pleasant objects, who is uncontrolled in
his senses, immoderate in his food, and is lazy and lacking in energy, will
certainly be overwhelmed by Mara,3 just as stormy winds uproot
a weak tree.
Verse 8: He who keeps his mind on the impurities (of the body), who is
well-controlled in his senses and is full of faith and energy, will certainly be
not overwhelmed by Mara, just as stormy winds cannot shake a mountain of
1. Maro/Mara: in this context kilesamara, the
defilements hindering the realization of Nibbana.
2. saddham/saddha: According to the Commentary,
(a) unwavering (unshakable) faith in the Buddha, the Dhamma (the Doctrine) and
the Samgha (the Buddhist Religious Order) and
(b) faith or belief in kamma (action) and its results.
3. Refer to 1.
The Story of Thera Mahakala
While residing in the neighbourhood of the town of Setabya, the Buddha
uttered Verses (7) and (8) of this book, with reference to Mahakala and his
brother Culakala. Mahakala and Culakala were two merchant brothers from the town
of Setabya. While travelling about with their merchandise on one occasion, they
had a chance to listen to a religious discourse given by the Buddha. After
hearing the discourse Mahakala asked the Buddha for admission to the Order of
the bhikkhus. Culakala also joined the Order but with the intention of coming
out of the Order and to bring out his brother along with him.
Mahakala was serious in his ascetic practice at the cemetery (Sosanika
dhutinga) and diligently meditated on decay and impermanence. He finally
gained Insight and attained arahatship.
Later, the Buddha and his disciples, including the brothers, happened to be
staying in the forest of Simsapa, near Setabya. While staying there, the former
wives of Culakala invited the Buddha and his disciples to their house. Culakala
himself went ahead to prepare seating arrangements for the Buddha and his
disciples. Once there, the former wives of Culakala made him change into lay
The next day, the wives of Mahakala invited the Buddha and his disciples to
their house hoping to do the same with Mahakala as the wives of Culakala had
done to Culakala. After the meal they requested the Buddha to let Mahakala
remain to "express appreciation" (anumodana). So the Buddha and
the other disciples left.
Arriving at the village gate the bhikkhus expressed their dissatisfaction and
apprehension. They were dissatisfied because Mahakala was permitted to stay
behind and they were afraid that, like Culakala, his brother, Mahakala, too,
would be made to leave the Order by his former wives. To this, the Buddha
replied that the two brothers were not alike. Culakala indulged in sensual
pleasures and was lazy and weak; he was just like a weak tree. Mahakala, on the
other hand, was diligent, steadfast and strong in his faith of the Buddha, the
Dhamma and the Samgha; he was like a mountain of rock.
Then the Buddha spoke in verse as follows:
Verse 7: He who keeps his mind on pleasant
objects, who is uncontrolled in his senses, immoderate in his food,
and is lazy and lacking in energy, will certainly be overwhelmed by Mara,
just as stormy winds uproot a weak tree.
Verse 8: He who keeps his mind on the impurities
(of the body), who is well-controlled in his senses and is full of
faith and energy, will certainly be not overwhelmed by Mara,
just as stormy winds cannot shake a mountain of rock.
Meanwhile, the former wives of Mahakala surrounded him and tried to remove
his yellow robes. The thera, sensing their attitude, stood up and rising up into
the air by his supernormal powers passed through the roof of the house into the
sky. He landed at the feet of the Buddha at the very moment the Master was
coming to the end of his utterance of the above two stanzas. At the same time,
all the bhikkhus assembled there were established in Sotapatti Fruition.