At Sāvatthi. The Blessed One said this:
“Monks, once in the past the gods and the titans were prepared for battle. Then Vepacitti, lord of the titans, addressed the titans thus: ‘Dear sirs, now there will be a battle between the gods and titans. If the titans win and the gods are defeated, tie up Sakka, lord of the gods, by his hands, legs, and neck, and bring him to me in the city of titans.’
“Monks, Sakka, lord of the gods, also addressed the Tāvatiṁsa gods thus: ‘Dear sirs, now there will be a battle between the gods and titans. If the gods win and the titans are defeated, tie up Vepacitti, lord of the titans, by his hands, legs, and neck, and bring him to me in the Sudhammā assembly hall.’
“Monks, in the battle that followed, the gods won and the titans were defeated. The Tāvatiṁsa gods bound Vepacitti by his hands, legs, and neck, and brought him to Sakka in the Sudhammā assembly hall. When Sakka was entering and leaving the assembly hall, Vepacitti, bound by his hands, legs, and neck, scolded and insulted Sakka with rude, harsh words.
“Then monks, God Mātali, Sakka’s charioteer, asked Sakka, lord of the gods, a question in verse:
“‘God Sakka, listening to the harsh words of Vepacitti, why do you put up with him so patiently? Is it because you are scared or because you are weak?’
“‘It is not because I am scared or weak that I am patient with Vepacitti. How can a wise person like me have combat with a fool?’
“‘Fools will be angrier and try to fight if no one will keep them in check. That is why, with severe punishment, the wise man restrains the fool.’
“‘I think that when one knows others are angry, if one mindfully maintains one’s peace, that is the best way to control the fool.’
“‘God Sakka, I see the fault of that patience. When one is patient, the fool thinks of that person thus, “He endures me out of fear.”
“‘The fool will cause more trouble to the patient one, as a herd of bulls charges towards one who flees.’
“‘It doesn’t matter whether one thinks or not, “He endures me out of fear.” There is great benefit in cultivating good qualities within oneself. There is nothing better than patience.
“‘Even though the strength of a fool is called power, in reality there is no power there. No one can challenge the patience of the one who is guarded by Dhamma.
“‘If one gets angry at another angry person, he makes things worse for himself. The one who doesn’t repay an angry person with anger, he wins the hard battle.
“‘Knowing that his foe is angry, when one mindfully maintains his peace, he practices for his own welfare and the other’s.
“‘When he acts for the welfare of himself and the other, the people who are unskilled in the Dhamma consider the patient person a fool.’
“So monks, even Sakka, lord of the gods, experiencing the happy results of his own merit, exercising supreme power and rulership over Tāvatiṁsa gods praises patience and gentleness. Then how much more would it be fitting here for you who have become monks in such a well taught Dhamma and discipline to be patient and gentle.”